Success story about Sonny, a happy but overweight 8-year-old Yellow Lab with arthritis and a long-term ACL tear who was hit by a car. His many injuries left him paralyzed in his hind limbs, but the CARE team worked to ease his pain and regain his ablity to walk!

Watch Sonny’s Video

Sonny Joins CARE’s “WALK OF FAME!”

Sonny is a happy, bouncy 8-year-old Yellow Lab who had not a care in the world (except for a few chronic orthopedic issues like ankle arthritis and a long-term ACL tear with arthritis in his knee). He also didn’t mind that he was a bit overweight; however the obesity issue was exacerbating his degenerative conditions.

Sonny’s life changed on December 22, 2008, when he was hit by a car. His many injuries included toe fractures, a left hip that went out of the socket, spine and rib fractures, and spinal cord trauma – which had left him paralyzed in his hind limbs.

The team at ASEC (Animal Surgical and Emergency Center) stabi- lized and treated Sonny for seven long days, at which time they re- ferred his Mom to California Animal Rehabilitation (CARE) for therapy for his multiple injuries, and to learn to walk again.

Dr. Waldman conducted his initial evaluation and poor Sonny had cuts, wounds, abrasions, and swelling all over his body; he had a urinary catheter because he couldn’t go on his own; it was impos- sible for him to stand or walk; and he was having head tremors due to stress. Despite these ailments, Sonny was so sweet and affectionate, and even managed to wag his tail a few times. Dr. Waldman reas- sured Sonny’s mom, who had to leave town and keep Sonny board- ing at CARE, that he was going to be okay.

Sonny’s rehab started right away. The CARE team worked on neuro rehab techniques to help him with body awareness and sensory input; he began to learn again how to move his body from side-lying to ly- ing straight; healing of his wounds was a priority using therapeutic laser and hydrotherapy; there was lots of manual work by the PT’s, electro-acupuncture for pain and neurological stimulation, e-stim for pain management and muscle re-education, PST to heal his fractures faster, as well as a lot of TLC and attention to his prior arthritic issues.

Sonny’s tail never stopped wagging throughout his therapy, which

was no easy task. Dr. Waldman also designed a new nutrition plan focused on higher protein for muscle building, and foods based in Chinese medicine food therapy for healing and, weight loss. He had a great appetite – and didn’t mind the new food – or was simply hungrier from working out so hard! And, boy was he working hard to get better.

After four short days, Sonny’s urinary catheter was pulled and his wounds were now closed, which meant he could begin underwater treadmill therapy for balance and gait training. His left hind leg was moving

a little better than his right, which Dr. Amy Kramer noticed, and encouraged more use of the opposite leg to bring him back into alignment. Sonny was also starting to lose some weight with his new healthy diet.

Sonny stayed at CARE for 10 days, and worked incredible hard each day. When Mom came to pick him up, she was amazed at the results. After 10 days, both of Sonny’s hind legs were moving and working, although he still needed a sling to walk. And, that tail of his was wagging so fast, it was dangerous! Mom was given a variety of home exercises to do with Sonny, and he was scheduled to continue as an outpatient three times a week. Sonny’s mom was so good with her exercise homework and his new diet that he dropped 9 pounds, to a trim 73 pounds!

On Jan. 18, 2009, just two weeks into his outpatient therapy and doing his home exercises, Dr. Waldman received a video from Sonny’s mom showing him walking around, on his own, in a big field of grass! The CARE staff was so excited and looked forward to seeing him walk in person at his next appointment…they were not disappointed! Sonny arrived, walking on his own, as cheers from the CARE team and other clients echoed throughout the building… and if possible, his tail was wagging even more!

Sonny continues as a patient of CARE to help him better cope with his chronic problems. He is truly an inspiration to all pet owners, as well as to the field of pet rehabilitation and veterinary medicine. The staff at ASEC even keeps his success videos on their work computers as a reminder of why they do what they do. Sonny has truly demonstrated that hard work, a great attitude, and a lot of tail wagging really pays off! Thanks for the inspiration Sonny!