March 2015 Issue

A Cat on an Underwater Treadmill?

Rehabilitation goes mainstream as Cornell offers therapies to promote mobility and manage pain

The catís hip problem was so painful that he required a femoral head osteotomy, the surgical removal of the top of the thighbone forming the ball and socket joint. Afterward, the supporting muscle needed to be strengthened to bear the catís weight, but he refused to use his limb.

The solution: Exercise in an underwater treadmill twice a week for two or three weeks. Movement is easier underwater, and the resistance of the water helps strengthen muscle. ďIt got the cat jump-started into using the leg better,Ē says Joseph Wakshlag, DVM, Ph.D., one of 83 specialists in the U.S. certified by the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation. He heads the Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation service at Cornell University Hospital for Animals.

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