Archive for February, 2015

Are You Ready to Rehab?

Sunday, February 1st, 2015


0215_rehabDid you know your pet’s therapist goes through not one, not two, but THREE training programs to become a Rehab Therapist at Scout’s House?

First, she has to complete a two-year Registered Veterinary Technician program at an accredited college—or, in Krista’s case, an accredited physical therapy program. (This is on top of the Bachelor degrees all of our employees have from different California universities.)

Next up: she completes our proprietary training program, developed by Sandy Gregory, RVT, M Ed, CCRA—a rigorous course that takes many weeks and countless hours of study and hands-on learning.

Finally, she goes through the nation’s top rehab therapy certification program at the Canine Rehab Institute in Florida. This program, which takes about a year to complete, puts the finishing touches on her formal education in the science—and the art—of rehabilitation therapy.

0215_quizWant to see what she learns? Take this simple quiz to see how much you know about rehab therapy!

1) What disease in dogs is related to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in humans?

2) What’s the ACL called in a dog or cat?

3) Circle the area where you’ll find the supraspinatus muscle in a dog:


4) True or False: A dog or cat who’s paralyzed by a disk rupture will never walk again.

5) What modality can be used for both muscle strengthening and pain control?

a) pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy
b) therapeutic ultrasound
c) low level laser therapy
d) electrical stimulation

6) What is proprioception?

7) Which of the following is NOT a sign of rear limb weakness in dogs?
a) plopping into a sit
b) slowly sinking into a sit
c) hesitating before walking down stairs
d) inability to back up

8) Does a dog’s head bob DOWN or UP with front limb lameness?

9) Which of the following is NOT a symptom of pain in a dog?
a) licking his/her lips
b) change in respiration rate
c) change in behavior
d) increased appetite

10) How many degrees of flexion does a healthy dog’s stifle (knee) normally get? (Extra points if you know what flexion is!)
a) 33°
b) 45°
c) 90°
d) 135°


1) Degenerative Myelopathy. Similar to ALS (or Lou Gehrig’s Disease), DM is a neurodegenerative disease for which there is currently no cure.

2) In humans, the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of four ligaments in the knee that connect the femur to the tibia. An ACL tear is more likely in athletes, such as football or basketball players. In dogs, the ligament is called the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) and, unfortunately, even couch potatoes caught in a burst of energy can—and do—injure it.


4) False. That’s one of the things we love most about our job! Getting animals to walk again after being paralyzed is pretty darned wonderful.

5) D. Although each of these can be useful for strengthening muscles or controlling pain, only electrical stimulation can do both.

6) Simply put, proprioception is knowing where your limbs are in space without having to look at them.

7) C. Hesitating to walk down stairs can signal other issues but not rear limb weakness.

8) UP. Think about it, if you’re a dog and your front leg hurts, you try to lift the front of your body UP to take weight off of it. If your back leg hurts, you’ll lower the front of your body DOWN to take weight off that. Makes sense when you visualize it.

9) D. Sometimes decreased appetite can indicate a painful pup, but not an increased one.

10) B. Although it can vary based on a dog’s breed, age, and ability, 45° is about average.

Amy is Our Valentine

Big hugs to our Scout’s House Valentine—Rehab Therapist Amy Reichert, who just earned her CCRA certification from the Canine Rehab Institute! It took a year of dedication, study, and travel to get it. We couldn’t be prouder of you, Amy!



Gobs of Love

bonesWhat better way to fete your Valentine than with these awesome Frozen Peanut Butter Banana Pops? They’re easy, low-cal, and (according to our kitty Rascal) even cats like them! Thank you Andrea Archambault for the recipe and photo. You can find more great dog cookie recipes on Andrea’s blog:

3 (6 oz.) containers of low-fat plain or vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 (4 oz.) jar banana baby food
1 T. honey

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients thoroughly. Pour mixture into small paper cups or silicone molds. Freeze. Once frozen, peel away paper cup and serve!


Patient of the Month:

by Amy Reichert, RVT, CCRA (newly minted!)

noodle-01George Noodle first came to Scout’s House following surgery on a ruptured disc in his back, which left him unable to use his back legs properly, making walking difficult. Not surprisingly, George—a Dachshund—also had a few pounds to lose, which made walking all the tougher. His big, soulful eyes won over every therapist who worked with him, and he quickly wiggled his way into all of our hearts as he progressed through his rehab program. Slowly but surely, George regained full use of his hind legs, but he continued to work on his weight loss goals.

In the winter of 2013, we determined that “The Noodle” had achieved all of the goals we’d set forth in his rehab program, including returning to his previous levels of function and using his hind legs normally again. But George is an overachiever and has elected to continue coming to Scout’s House every two weeks for our conditioning program. This accelerated program allows us to continue to work on his weight loss goals and further challenge George with higher level obstacle courses and endurance training.

George’s sessions are often as much fun for the therapist as they are for the patient. He tackles each obstacle with joy, and often adds his own personal flair—usually involving a very wiggly tail and not-so-subtly requests for treats after completing his tasks. In between exercises, he’ll often climb in my lap and look up with a contented smile on his face as if to say “That was REALLY fun. What’s next?!”

It’s been our pleasure to help maximize George’s mobility and to find new and exciting challenges for him as he continues to lose weight. Keep up the great work, Noodle!