Thank you SO MUCH!!! We were referred here because of the physical therapy offerings. A specialty veterinary hospital had surmised that our 9-year old husky had disc issues in his lower back, which was affecting his stability. Dr. Cloutier watched him walk around (yes, he actually took time and WATCHED HIM walk around), and suggested an x-ray.
I was hesitant because past experience with x-rays meant cost and anesthesia – not this time. His staff was able to get the x-ray from my highly neurotic boy with relative ease. Wow. The x-ray showed that there was very little space between the C6 and C7 vertebrae, and that was also likely contributing to, if not causing his problems.
Through a mix of meds and physical therapy by Heather – who astounded me by what she was able to get my neurotic dog with personal space issues to do – his stability and strength have both improved. Also, they educated us on what to do at home, with respect to diet and exercise, to maintain the gains he has made.
It was through this experience that we inquired about hip dysplasia, because our three-year old chow/border collie mix had been diagnosed with severe dysplasia when he was about 6 months old by another veterinarian. We did what we could with prescription joint mobility food, but he (Yogi) was back to the point of crying out in pain almost every time he would stand up, and he was beginning to not want to walk at all.
Dr. Cloutier is very experienced with FHO surgeries, and took the time to educate us on the pros and cons, as well as the alternatives. I will also mention here that Dr. Cloutier and his staff were again able to do x-rays on our chow with no anesthesia – this is a dog who on his very first vet visit when he was a baby nipped the doctor, and who on his second visit nipped at and peed all over the techs who were trying to draw blood, while all the time screeching at the top of his lungs.
We were apprehensive, as both hips needed to be done, and we were warned that the first few weeks after the surgery would be difficult – but in the long run it would pay off. We were also educated on the importance of physical therapy once or twice a week, and also our roles in getting him up and moving and walking – against his protests.
We did as we were instructed – it was difficult to get the stubborn little bugger to get up when did didn’t want to, but we knew it was critical to his recovery. We also adhered to the physical therapy schedule with Heather – who was so wonderful. Again, I can’t believe what she could get him to do – obviously he bonded with her during the couple of days after his surgery when she was his caregiver, and was able to trust her. And she kept tabs on all of us throughout this process, checking on him (and us) between therapy sessions.
I think we were told to expect improvement around the four to six month mark. Well – after two weeks Yogi was back to where he was before the surgery – but with no cries of pain. It has been two months now, and he is back to his normal activities, with no pain and better range of motion. He has done so well in fact, that he had his last physical therapy session last week.
To conclude – we just have to say THANK YOU SO MUCH to the Veazie Vet staff (especially Heather)! And to anyone considering/debating an FHO – know that you are in the right hands.