Meet Trax, an 11 year old male German Shepherd Dog. Not only is Trax very handsome, but he has quite an impressive background. Trax lives in Clinton Iowa and serves as the first K-9 on the Clinton County Sheriff's Office Reserve Team. He is also a member of Emergency K-9 Operations Inc, a search and rescue company operated by his owners Lois and Bill Hall. Trax has also been trained as a therapy dog. One of Trax's memorable finds was that of a child's lost baby tooth. He put his incredible scent and tracking abilities together and found the tooth in a large field to ensure the tooth fairy would have something to pay for!
Trax came to TOPS in September 2008 because he was "knuckling" and dragging his rear legs. He appeared fatigued and wasn't showing his usual endurance while doing his searches in rubble. He had trouble jumping as well. Trax had been diagnosed with Degenerative Myelopathy and recent radiographs showed facet sclerosis (arthritis) in his neck and mid back and lower back with spondylosis in his lower back.
Dr. Laurie McCauley evaluated Trax and confirmed the following:
Loss of normal gait
Significant Atrophy of rear limbs and back muscles
Conscious proprioception of rear limbs was lost
All along his spine was tender and painful, lower back had heat (inflammation)
Dr. McCauley's recommendations were for Trax to have chiropractic therapy, to start an exercise regime, walking on a incline treadmill, for his owners to massage and stretch him, and to traction his tail. Supplements recommended were Heel's BHI Back (for back pain), Ligaplex (to strengthen tendons and ligaments) and Traumeel (for inflammation). Trax was already taking MSM and Dasaquin.
Trax had a recheck in March 2009 which showed that his strength and endurance had greatly improved. It was apparent to his owners too as Trax was doing longer tracks/searches with less fatigue. The pain along his spine was gone and the proprioception of his rear limbs scored better. Trax's muscle mass had improved significantly in both rear limbs and along his spine.
Trax's exercise routine started out with a few strengthening moves and has increased to include proprioception and balance exercises.
His exercises include:
Cavaletti Poles (straight and patterns)
Peanut Balance Ball
Currently, Trax is continuing his exercise regime (above video also demonstrates what you can do at home with proper training) to continue strengthening his rear limbs and back. He visits TOPS twice a month for chiropractic and to review and adjust his exercises. He may do PST therapy in the near future.
In summer of 2009, Trax was formally tested for Degenerative Myelopathy, with the results being negative (he does not have DM). He had new radiographs that show he has mild spondylosis of T12, L1, and L2, and compressions at L7 to S1. He has arthritis from L2 to L6. Proprioception, or knowing where his feet are in space, is now his biggest concern.
Overall, Trax continues to work hard at his exercises and enjoys doing them. He loves his treats and Cheez Wiz that help keep him motivated! We wish Trax continued success in his amazing duties as a search and rescue and therapy dog!
GO GET EM, TRAX!.
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