Year of the Dog shines light on man’s best friend

Courtesy Heeling House Atlas, a specially trained therapy dog, helps Johnathan Ingersoll stand during a therapy session. Photo is not related to the original article source

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The spotlight is on man’s best friend as the start of the Lunar New Year marks the Year of the Dog.

Our furry friends don’t ask for much. Some food, shelter, a little outside time and some friendly pets on the head can be enough to make them happy.

But the Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital would like pet owners to know about some of the lesser known treatments offered at the hospital that can be just as beneficial.

Owners aren’t the only ones who can suffer a slight injury when running around a park with Fido. Dogs can also suffer injuries and need surgery, and just like humans, dogs might need physical therapy after such a traumatic physical experience. The therapy program at Purdue has been around for more than three years and is there to offer dogs, and other animals, the treatment they need.

 “Just like in human medicine, we want our animals to have a good quality of life,” said Jessica Bowditch, physical rehabilitation technician and neurology technician. “Dogs, just like humans, start physical therapy the day after a surgery. They can have physical therapy for muscle issues, to help them learn how to use their legs again and just for exercise.”

The physical therapy room at Purdue offers an underwater treadmill for easier workouts or for resistance and cardio training; balance boards; physioballs; electric stimulation; and many other resources to help dogs get healthy.

Physical therapy is commonly recommended for post-operative and medically managed orthopedic patients, post-operative and medically managed neurological patients, patients suffering from muscle strains, obese patients and dogs who want to improve and maintain agility.

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The hospital also offers other innovative medical services, including hemodialysis for patients who have ingested poisonous toxins, a behavioral clinic for animals with dangerous or stressful behavioral problems, dental services for animals of all shapes and sizes and the exotic animal clinic for more unusual patients, such as sugar gliders, guinea pigs, chinchillas, fish, birds and reptiles.

Writer: Megan Huckaby, 765-496-1325,

Source: Jessica Bowditch,

News Source: Purdue University News

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Year of the Dog shines light on man’s best friend