Help Strawberry Heal

////Help Strawberry Heal
Help Strawberry Heal2023-08-17T16:45:58-04:00

When an animal is need of ongoing medical attention, we’ll often turn to our Foster Care Team to find the perfect home for the pet to live while they receive treatment. These dedicated Foster Parents are required to bring them in for their appointments, as well as continue any at-home treatments prescribed by their doctors. But most importantly, it gives them a chance for much-needed socialization.

When Strawberry became a foster pet to Jihyun Oh, she could never know how much her life was about to change. After spending several months in the compassionate care of the Oh family, a bond was formed, and soon Strawberry knew she was part of a family. Today they made it official and adopted Strawberry. She may still have a slightly awkward gait, but she grows stronger and happier every day.

Since Strawberry was diagnosed with injuries that affected her spinal cord, she has been undergoing targeted rehabilitation to help her build strength and flexibility in her hind legs. This includes a special type of therapy called electro-acupuncture that is performed by Dr. Mark Verdino, Senior Vice President, and Chief of Veterinary Staff at our Pet Health Centers. Similar to traditional acupuncture, needles are strategically placed in the injured area to promote healing. With this therapy the needles are attached to a machine that sends a small electrical current. “It’s almost like jumper cables,” noted Dr. Verdino, “There’s a positive and there’s a negative, and then it connects a low current between the two points. And that is designed to stimulate the nerves more than just the dry needle acupuncture alone.“

Dr. Verdino is pleased with the progress Strawberry is continuing to make. She grows stronger every day, and ever her foster parents have reported she’s started to climb the stairs! This sweet girl has come a long way from not even being able to fully bear her own weight, and it’s all thanks to the support of our Help Me Heal Program. Your support changes lives every day.

Help Strawberry to Walk Tall

When animals arrive to Animal League America, we don’t always know what they have endured. For 12-week-old Lab mix Strawberry, the exact cause of her trauma will remain a mystery, but we do know we’ll do everything in our power to help her.

Strawberry came to Animal League America from Louisiana as part of a rescue mission with our partner, Paws4Life. It was initially thought that she was a ‘swimmer pup.’ Dr. Gerard Laheney, Animal League America Senior Veterinarian, explained, “Swimmer puppy syndrome is the term for a newborn that can’t support its body weight, so they tend to paddle around at first, but ultimately do gain normal motor function.” Once we were able to give Strawberry a thorough examination, however, it was discovered that her issue was much more complex.

“We noticed that Strawberry was experiencing deficits in her hind limbs,” Dr. Laheney said. “For example, you can see when Strawberry’s paw is turned over, she does not reposition it properly, and that means there is a disruption in the neurologic connection between the brain and paws.” Radiographs confirmed Strawberry suffered from earlier fractures to her tail, which impacted her spinal cord.

We don’t know how Strawberry’s tail injury occurred — it’s possible her tail was pulled or stepped on — but fortunately, we have the experts on our Pet Health Centers staff to help her heal and thrive. Strawberry’s treatment plan will include acupuncture to help stimulate her nerves, and targeted rehabilitation and physical therapy to build her muscle strength.

Help Strawberry Heal

Strawberry will remain in our Foster Care Program while she receives the benefit of all our specialized services. Playful and exceptionally friendly, Strawberry is eager to engage with both people and animals, not letting her awkward gait slow her down.

Our goal right now is to give Strawberry the best chance for a pain-free and active life. With your support of our Help Me Heal Program, together we can give Strawberry the care she needs and the compassion she deserves.