Just Keep Swimming

Twice a week, Kiera, a senior German Shepherd has a regular appointment with the Canine Rehabilitation Center in the Hixson-Lied Small Animal Hospital.

This has been ongoing for a more than a year but from day one, Kiera’s owner has felt comfortable leaving her treasured friend with the Canine Reb staff.

And Kiera is just as enthusiastic. “Kiera absolutely loves everybody there,” said Debi Lemon. “I don’t worry about leaving her. All I have to do is say ‘we’re going swimming’ and she can’t wait to get into the car.”

Kiera makes her twice-weekly visits to Ames from Des Moines because of a weakness in her hind legs. Lemon says it was difficult to keep Kiera fit as she ages. As a six-old the dog suffered a leg injury that required extensive surgery.

While recovering, it took Kiera a year before she would put a foot in the water. Now it’s difficult to keep her out of the Canine Reb Center’s underwater treadmill.

During her twice-weekly treatments, Kiera not only utilizes the underwater treadmill, but she receives a massage on her aging joints to relax her muscles. It’s a treatment many patients who have orthopedic or neurologic injuries receive at Iowa State. Rehabilitation can be used as an exercise program or the obese, arthritic, or geriatric patients. In addition to the underwater treadmill, the facility has a pool, land treadmill, therapeutic, ultrasound, and neuromuscular electrical stimulation. A variety of therapeutic exercises using physio-rolls, cavaletti rails, stairs, sand, and grass are also available.

“The care Kiera has received has all been pretty amazing,” Lemon said. “What the staff here does is pretty remarkable."

February 2023

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