Small Animal CARES

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UTCVM CARES program with blind canine and canine in wheelchair

Canine Arthritis Rehabilitation Exercise & Sports Medicine (CARES) 

UT CARES service provides outstanding care for all levels of companion animals (from house pets to highly competitive athletes and working dogs with sports medicine conditions) to help keep them functioning at the highest possible level.  CARES personnel also perform research to enhance the understanding of canine athletes and the science of rehabilitation. Dr. Darryl Millis recently explained how the CARES program and how it benefited a special war dog named Layka. ​

Meet some previous CARES patients

12-year-old Delta Bratcher had lower back surgery three years ago but never regained use of her back legs. Jewel Bratcher shares Delta’s story.

What does Delta mean to you? Delta has a special place in our hearts because she tries to please everyone. She never complains. Why did you choose to come to UTCVM for rehabilitation? We have had 3 other Dalmatians here for rehab: Tanker, Madaline and Pierce were all rehab patients here for various conditions, and we were very pleased. What has been your favorite thing about Delta’s treatment, and what kind of results have you seen? She is a very content and happy dog. She has stayed strong and is full of energy. She has the occasional ups and downs from bladder infections and ear infections, but overall she is very healthy. She loves all the ladies in rehab, but Carol is her favorite!! The underwater treadmill is part of Delta’s therapy routine.

11 1/2-year-old Tyson Bradley Berens was diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy. His person Lauren shares his story.

What does Tyson mean to you? He’s my firstborn. Why did you choose to come to UT for rehab? To give Tyson the best quality of life possible, to improve his front end arthritis and hope to slow down the progression of his disease in the back end. What has been your favorite thing about your Tysons treatment? Seeing how happy and excited Tyson is to go to PT every week, it’s his favorite day of the week! What kind of results have you seen? I have seen an improvement in his stride length in the front legs and his joints don’t pop like they did before PT. Also I have seen an improvement in his overall mood; he seems happier now that he can get out for PT and is mobile again in his wheelchair.

Meet PJ Burress, a UT CARES patient. PJ, born September 2011, lives with Cathy and Edward. Cathy shares PJ’s story with us. 

PJ’s injury and rehabilitation: Lameness/post-surgical complications from humeral fracture which happened when he fell from a moving ATV. He did not have much use of his limb even after removing the pin in his bone. What does PJ mean to you? He has been part of our family since October 2011. I got him for a birthday gift to myself. I lost my best friend Phyllis in February, hence the name PJ. A little over a month after we got him, I lost my sister, brother-in-law and nephew in a tragic plane accident and I was able to use PJ to get through my grief. Why did you choose to come to UT CARES for rehab? Dr. Drum recommended therapy at UT because PJ was not using his leg and our home therapy was not working. What has been your favorite thing about PJ’s treatment? Seeing him actually using his injured leg again. He likes putting on a show at drop off and pick up. Dr. Drum also has helped give us insight on how to help him lose weight and advised us to put him on Dasuquin for the arthritis in his joints.

Michelob Ultra Mitchell (Mick) had an accident and is a CARES patient at UT Veterinary Medical Center. His humans, Lynn and George Mitchell, share more about Mick. 

What does Michelob mean to you? Michelob means the world to us. He is our child and grandchildren wrapped up as one. We considered ourselves very lucky and extremely blessed to still have him with us after this horrible accident. He is our “person” in a dog suit! Why did you choose to come to UT for rehab? UT VetMed means everything “else” to us. Mick had a stroke a few years back, and at that time we brought him to them because our vets office was closed, and their message said to call UT. We were so lucky to have taken him there because the staff gave us all the confidence to carry on and convince us that he would be his old self again– that all of his behavior would return, and even by their estimated time table, this came true. So when the accident happened, we knew where we were headed immediately. What has been your favorite thing about your pets treatment? The staff – including the doctors, students, techs and everyone we’ve come into contact with since Mick’s initial treatment and amputation were all wonderful, compassionate, hopeful and professional. This has continued for just about 3 months now. When Mick was being discharged from continual care, we visited the water therapy unit. Mick’s recovery has been exceptional and advanced because of the water therapy and the doctors and technicians individual attention to him. We could not have dreamed Mick would be doing so well without all of them, without these UT specialists. To say we are grateful is a huge understatement!