This morning I took Koira up to Salem for a session of swim therapy. Over the last month and a half of rest due to her shoulder injury, she has lost almost five pounds, all of it muscle. She didn't have any other weight to lose. But, though she is doing much better as far as her shoulder goes, she is not ready for our normal muscle-building routine of off leash runs, bike rides, hikes, and other adventures.
Swim therapy is a great way for her to get some exercise and work on her muscle tone without putting a lot of impact onto her shoulder, which could cause a relapse. After seeing a number of posts over at Greyhound Gardens, I asked them where they had gone and made an appointment to try it out with Koira.
Here are a few pictures of her therapy session.
There were four dogs there for swim therapy, and each dog took three turns swimming in the pool with the two therapists.
Koira thought it was TONS of fun, though she was a bit hesitant about stepping into the pool at first. We pulled out an empty water bottle, though, and BAM, Koira was in play mode, swimming at top speed.
It wasn't just a mess of playing fetch in the water, though. The therapists also felt every dog and checked range of motion. They spent time evaluating how each dog swam, to see if they had muscle weakness in certain areas, were reluctant to use a limb, or listed to one side or the other (such as the dog recovering from a stroke, who swims great but occasionally tilts over to one side).
Koira didn't really care, she just wanted to have some fun and play some fetch.
And I love this last picture of Koira at the swim therapy. She looks, to me, like a submarine about to submerge under water.
At the end of Koira's third ten minute swim (each dog got to swim for about ten minutes three different times, with chances to rest a bit in between), I talked to the therapists about Koira. They told me she is weak in the back, as in does not keep her rear up high in the water. She has pretty much always been like this, and I think it is more an issue with her swimming style than a physical issue. Koira was also turning exclusively left when fetching, so they worked for a while forcing her to turn to the right to work out the other side of her body. But, they did mention that she had no range of motion issues, both sides matched in what they were able to do and how they moved. She showed them no signs of having a shoulder injury.
Koira had a great time, and has spent the rest of the day lazing around and sleeping. She is showing no signs of being sore in the least. I'm going to talk to my vet and chiropractor about adding in ball work as well as weekly swimming sessions for Koira, to help build back some of the muscle she has lost while keeping her workouts low impact.