Dog with Degenerative Disease Continues to Inspire

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A 12-year-old Boxer suffering from a progressive spinal cord disease is thriving thanks to the dedication of his owners and the physical rehabilitation he is receiving at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine.

This sassy, love-for-life dog, who a year ago was diagnosed with Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) is thriving, according to Liz Hodson, a physical rehabilitation specialist and licensed veterinary technician in the Physical Rehabilitation Service, who has managed his care.

“It’s a big deal to have a DM patient make it a year post diagnosis, and it’s not that he’s just making it, he’s thriving,” Hodson said.

To mark his one-year anniversary of treatment in the Physical Rehabilitation Service, the staff held a party in Bailey’s honor, complete with a canine-approved food, a party hat for Bailey and lots of celebration. “We wanted to have a party for him and his friends. It’s a big deal that he’s made it this far and we wanted to celebrate that.”

Neurologist faculty clinician Dr. Amanda Taylor recommended the owners use physical rehabilitation to help Bailey. Benefield and Hodson planned a course to keep Bailey active, which including the use of an aquatic treadmill, resistance pool, a therapeutic laser, exercises and a massage.

“Each activity was chosen specifically for Bailey so I can focus on the muscles that are causing the most issues, specifically to help Bailey’s muscles retain their mass and function,” Hodson said. “The treadmill improves his gait and range-of-motion, while swimming in the pool loosens his muscles and provides a no-impact cardiovascular activity.

“Liz is just such an amazing and is a miracle worker,” Benefield said. “She treats Bailey like he is her own, and we consider her as part of our family. “It truly is remarkable.”