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Old 06.08.2015, 13:08
meloncollie meloncollie is offline
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Heffalump's Underwater Treadmill Adventure

Just to let fellow dog owners know of a new resource available in the Ausserschwyz region:

Tiermedizinzentrum Marigin (in the First area in Feusisberg SZ, which is the road between Pfäffikon and Schindellegi) has an underwater treadmill for use in physiotherapy.

A bit of background:

Heffalump has a spinal birth defect affecting his balance and gait. He compensates by 'bunny hopping' rather than running with all four legs. Over the years this has become his learned locomotion.

When I adopted him earlier this year we started physiotherapy to try to teach him how to walk correctly. Correcting his gait now hopefully will lessen the likelihood of developing mobility problems later in life.

We work with Marco Mouwen, a well known and respected animal physiotherapist. We've been doing all the usual ground work, etc. to teach Heffalump that he actually has a back end, and have made good progress. Now the time has come to step up the program, hence the underwater treadmill. First session was today.

Heffalump is prone to fits of vapors uncertain and easily frightened when faced with new situations, so over the last few weeks we have been doing some low level conditioning in preparation for the underwater treadmill - putting paws in water on command, standing in a narrow box, etc.

The set up at Marigin is very easy for the dog.

There is both a ramp and a lift table that brings the dog up to the level of the treadmill box, depending on your dog's comfort level he can get in either way. Once in, a lift slowly lets the dog down into the box . Getting in and out was easily done, even for Heffalump the Fainthearted. Once the dog is standing comfortably in the box you go through a very gradual process of filling in with water. The treadmill starts only when the dog is comfortable, plenty of breaks so that the dog is not overwhelmed.

Add in a clicker and treats and Heffalump was soon walking the treadmill like a pro. He seemed to enjoy the session.

Herr Mouwen made it so easy for Heffalump; he is one of those people who has the magic touch with animals.

So a big thumbs up for the underwater treadmill - and it's great that we now have this resource in the Ausserschwyz area.

Herr Mouwen has his own practice in Birmensdorf:

He also spends one day a week at MyVets in Cham: (This is my usual vet practice.)

And now one day a week at Marigin in Ausserschwyz. (The treadmill is only in Marigin.)
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