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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Rehabilitation Therapy for Dogs

Canine rehabilitation therapy is a practice that uses different treatment modalities to improve function in dogs with various orthopedic or neurological injuries or diseases. It is commonly used post-operatively in dogs having had a fracture repaired or even back surgery to fix a blown disk (yup, dogs get these, too). It is also commonly used in the ever-increasing problem of canine obesity.
I became especially interested in canine rehab after a conference in Toronto, where I met two certified rehab vets who do rehab work at a veterinary surgical practice north of Toronto (click here to see this practice and its impressive facilities). These vets were young, enthusiastic, and were truly making a difference, a significant difference, in the lives of these dogs.
This interest has brought me to Colorado, where I am right now typing this blog. I have just completed the first of at least three 6-day courses that eventually lead to a certificate in canine rehabilitation, through the Canine Rehabilitation Institute, or CRI.
I cannot sufficiently laud the course, instructors, assistants, and facilities. They were spectacular. Though it has been about eight years since I had to absorb that much material, it was an amazing learning experience.
By no means was the course simple. On the contrary, I often had difficulty with some concepts. In the end, though, I believe I gleaned what was necessary.
I am looking forward to the other canine rehab courses and extremely excited to incorporate rehab into my work in the near future.

Got this photo on Flickr. This is Zeke on an underwater treadmill after knee surgery. This exercise will significantly hasten his return to normal function. Isn't this amazing?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Cloned dogs

Reading about a recent offer by a California biotech company to clone five dogs has left me with a queasy feeling in my gut. An auction will be set up with bidding starting at $100,000. I cannot fathom the arrogance of somebody willing to spend that kind of money to clone their pet. 1) That money could be used for something far more noble, and 2) the cloned pet will simply be that animal's physical twin. Again, a replica. The same model, but with far different software. The cloned pet would likely NOT have the same personality as the original. It would require the same programming, or training. 3) There are millions of unwanted pets in North America. These people should lose their ego, go to a shelter, where they can find the most wonderful dogs. Save a life or two, instead of feeding the pockets of these multi-billion dollar corporations, likely eerily-similar to Cyberdyne Systems Corporation in "The Terminator."

Not a cloned puppy, but the work going into both is identical (though one is fiction).

Disclaimer: I am in favour of such genetic manipulation, if used to produce tissues and not living, conscious, feeling, entities. Such technology can (and will) advance the medical field immensely, to relieve suffering, improve or save lives.

Addendum: Please read the very relevant comments below from Gaya and Mel.