Our wonderful little 7 and half year old Pekingese rescue, Tippy, suffered a brain stroke at the beginning of February 2015 while in my arms. She was rushed to an emergency clinic where she stayed for a week. The stroke left complete paralysis of her back legs and partial paralysis in her front legs. She was unable to walk or even pull herself with her front legs. When she was released from the hospital we were urged to get rehab care for her, though we were told that there was no guarantee that she would ever walk again.
Lucky for us and Tippy, we chose to take her to GA Veterinary Rehabilitation, Fitness, and Pain Management. From her first visit, she was well cared for and given much encouragement by Dr. Orenbuch and her caring staff. Tippy was put on a regimen of herbal medicine, acupuncture and laser treatments alongside pool and underwater treadmill sessions. All of her treatments were focused on regaining the function of her limps, regaining her strength and helping her feel better. The process was slow but steady. She began using her left front leg and being able to move her hind legs.
By May, she began showing some significant progress with short bursts of "walking" and by June was able to stand for short periods of time. In early July, Tippy began to walk around the back yard. Today, Tippy is almost back to normal and we could not be more thankful for all the care and support she has received. We are forever grateful to Dr. O and her staff and look forward to many more years with our darling girl.
Sam and Deborah White
Brody was born missing the lower part of his right front leg. His owner/breeder began bringing him to GVR when he was nine weeks old for strengthening and a temporary prosthetic to help him bear weight on that limb. At six months of age and much stronger, Brody was fit for a prosthetic leg. He happily romps and plays with his Vizsla siblings, and has earned his Junior Hunter title. He continues to participate in hunt tests and is a testament to the benefits of rehab!
‘Butchie’ Shaffer Mathis, Boston Terrier
I am ‘Butchie’ the Boston Terrier. When I was only ten years old, I realized that my back legs were getting weak and I didn’t know why. My mom, took me to Georgia Veterinary Specialists and after a bunch of tests, the doctors said that I had a degenerative disease that surgery couldn’t fix – they called it intervertebral disc disease or IVDD. They recommended rehab at GVR. WHAT A GREAT IDEA THAT WAS!!!
Oh boy, oh boy - I had fun from my very first day. GVR smelled good, the people were nice and there was a lot to do. I had to wear funny goggles, as they used the laser on my back, I began to exercise in the underwater treadmill (they dressed funny) and started taking some supplements Dasuquin and Omega QD (one was very smelly). But, hey, they had treats and I work for treats!
Slowly, but surely, I got stronger. You could actually see my muscles again. My mom and I also did exercises at home. My sisters, Brandy and Petunia, were very jealous. Pretty soon I didn’t need to go to GVR anymore and that was good and also sad. I missed my friends.
Things went great for quite some time but then I got weaker. Mom took me back to GVR and they actually remembered me. This time, I knew the drill … Evaluation and Plan! I had land sessions, underwater treadmill and this time we added acupuncture to help with the weakness in my hind legs. At first we went more frequently but when I got stronger we backed off a little. To keep from getting behind the curve, I would go for a check-in evaluation every month or two.
The thing is, I was getting older and my degenerative condition was progressing. Our goal became slowing the disease’s progression and reducing its effect to maximize time with my mom. And we were quite good at that. All my friends at GVR were cheering for me. They would hug me, let me rest behind the front desk, sleep in a crate with blankets, give me treats and water. GVR loved me and I loved them more. We loved each other so much that on my last earthly day I came to say good-bye to them. Oh, did they fuss over me and we had treats and took a picture. It was the best!
So, you see, I am writing from the Great Beyond to tell everyone how much GVR helped me, cared for me and met my changing needs. To all you dogs, don’t be scared, you will have fun at GVR. Your people will be informed and involved with respect and compassion. You will get treats and the needles don’t hurt. And I might just see you because my spirit visits most every day.
Berkley, Shih Tzu
Berkley is a seven-year-old Shih Tzu who was diagnosed with an autoimmune condition known as immune-mediated polyarthropathy (IMPA). This painful disease leads to fever, swelling of multiple joints, and shifting leg lameness.
Before starting therapy at GVR, Berkley was lethargic and showed little interest in playing with his canine or human sisters. Because of his pain, the little dog isolated himself from his family, and when he moved, he did so stiffly and with a pronounced limp.
To combat the disease, Berkley was prescribed steroids. As often happens with the disease, he suffered two torn cruciate ligaments. Surgery was not a good option because of his steroid regimen.
Enter GVR! To address Berkley's pain, he was treated with weekly laser therapy and acupuncture sessions. To get him moving and address the cruciate issues, Berkley alternates between land and underwater treadmill sessions for his physical rehabilitation.
Berkley’s family reports that he is a much more active and once again has interest in playing and hanging out with his family. He no longer isolates himself, and his movement is much improved, with no limping. "Berkley loves GVR and feels so much better and more energetic, especially after his acupuncture treatments."
Bailey, Golden Retriever
When Bailey, a three-year-old Golden Retriever, first came to GVR, she weighed in at an unhealthy 99 pounds and could barely swim for five minutes. After just a few months, this gorgeous girl has dramatically increased her energy and stamina and lost 15 pounds, shedding fat and gaining significant muscle. Her overall BCS (Body Condition Score) dropped two points as well!
How'd she do it? Bailey was referred to GVR in January after she put on 30 pounds over a year's time. She'd been diagnosed with kidney disease, and, as it turns out, the special diet that had been prescribed contained significantly more calories and fat than her previous food, and the pounds started adding up. As is often the case with weight gain, the extra stress on Bailey's frame caused her to develop leg pain and a limp.
Bailey's protocol at GVR included swimming in the SwimEx pool twice a week and occasional laser therapy, along with regular re-checks and chiropractic adjustments. At home, her diet and exercise regimen changed as well. Her caloric intake, under a veterinarian's guidance, was significantly cut back.
Bailey's people, brother and sister Andrew and Jennifer, report that Bailey has more energy and is much less sore than she's ever been. "Bailey really looks forward to her visits with all of her friends at GVR. Originally, she was a bit reluctant to get up and go, but now, when we say it's time for swim practice, she jumps up and runs to the car - she has so much more energy now. And before swimming, Bailey was not one to play with her brothers or sisters or go crazy outside... now she leads the way! Although she enjoys being the 'baby' of the family, her confidence levels have soared and she initiates playtime more than ever before!"
Recently, Fox 5 Atlanta's Medical Team reporter, Beth Galvin, paid a visit to GVR to do a story on "Messha," an 18 year old cat we've been treating for complications from a stroke. What's so special about Messha's story? Part of her rehab plan includes sessions in our underwater treadmill! Click here to see the news clip; we think you'll agree... Messha's one special cat!
Bailey came to GVR three weeks after undergoing surgery to repair two herniated discs at the base of her neck that were causing loss of coordination in her limbs.
Due to complications during surgery, the 138 lb. Doberman-Rottweiler mix came home from the hospital not only unable to walk, but unable to lift her head or eliminate on her own. It was questionable whether she'd even live.
On her first day at GVR, Bailey was carried into the clinic on a stretcher. She received electro-acupuncture and was prescribed Chinese herbs. Her "Mom and Dad," Mozelle and Michael, saw positive changes right away. Unfortunately, a week and a half into rehab, the almost eight year old Bailey hit another rough patch: she required surgery for a pre-existing wound on the inside of her right elbow, and then contracted pneumonia. Afraid again that they might lose her, Mozelle and Michael persevered, and Bailey recovered from her setback, finally returning to GVR to resume rehab.
With a limited budget, they embarked upon an intensive at-home rehab program with Bailey, putting her through her GVR-prescribed routine three times a day. To supplement the program, they brought Bailey to GVR regularly for laser therapy and electro-acupuncture treatments, continued her Chinese herbs, and rented a "quad cart" from GVR that would support Bailey in an upright position and allow them to move her legs in a normal fashion.
In October, the underwater treadmill was added to Bailey's treatment protocol, utilizing our custom harness system for assisting severely affected neurologic cases. Just a month after restarting rehab, Bailey, if assisted, was able to stand on her own on land, and even take a few steps.
At a svelte 107 lbs., Bailey can stand up by herself, walk short distances, and go outside to eliminate on her own. She can also sit up and turn over on her own.
About Bailey's progress, Mozelle muses, "We originally thought that after surgery, she'd be up and moving within a month. After almost losing Bailey three or four times through this process, the fact that she can stand up and go to the bathroom on her own... we're so appreciative. Once she gets stronger, we think she should be able to progress even further." Mozelle and Michael are also appreciative for all the people who donated rehab sessions, making Bailey's care possible.
Meet Quasi, whose "Mom," Rita, was given a 50/50 chance that he'd ever walk again after he ruptured a disc in his back. Rita opted for surgery (hemilaminectomy) at Georgia Veterinary Specialists for Quasi, then brought the four-year-old Cockapoo to GVR two days after his release from GVS.
Immediately after surgery, Quasi was paralyzed in both hind legs and did not show a deep pain response. When he came to GVR eight days after surgery, he showed some improvement, but not much. He was incontinent and although he showed some deep pain response, he demonstrated no voluntary movement in his left hind leg, and only minimal voluntary movement in his right hind leg. He was unable to stand when placed, and could not walk at all.
Rita elected to enroll Quasi in an intensive rehab program in which he spent every day, Monday through Friday, at GVR receiving treatments. Laser and acupuncture helped with pain and healing; in addition, the little dog completed two 15-minute land sessions and one hydrotherapy session every day.
By week two, he was beginning to walk a little on his own, and he continued to make progress. After five weeks, he was continent and walking- even trotting- around the clinic all by himself. Quasi then entered the strengthening phase of rehab, with regular acupuncture still being performed.
Rita was thrilled with his progress, explaining, "When Dr. Orenbuch sent me the video of his first steps, I cried tears of absolute joy. Quasi has been trying and working so hard, he deserves the reward of movement. Today, he is functionally independent, exercising and taking 15 minute walks every day- continuously showing improvement. His personality now shines through again, which signals to me he is feeling much better as well."
Puck, Mixed Breed
Puck the Wonder Dog, aka "Puck the Injured Foster Pup" was rescued in April from death row at a local animal shelter by Jorge. Puck, only months old, was not bearing any weight on his left hind leg, and it was soon discovered that he'd been living with a broken leg for at least a month. Fast forward: Puck went to Georgia Veterinary Specialists where orthopedic surgeon and GVR business partner Dr. Alan Cross performed a proximal tibial malunion repair on the pup. Puck then came to GVR, post-op, to help speed healing, strengthening and return to full function.
At GVR, Puck received laser treatments, underwater treadmill sessions, and lots of strengthening and stretching exercises in the gym, along with an intensive at-home program. Today, Puck lives a normal life, running and playing with his new friends at his adopted forever home.
A case like Puck's could cost about $4,000 for surgery (the majority of the expense) and subsequent physical rehabilitation. Jorge was fortunate to receive the backing of the Animal Companion Rescue Foundation to help offset the cost of Puck's care. But it's important to note that many pet insurance plans cover the cost of veterinary rehabilitation, so it pays to ask.
Venus, a delightful three year old Rottweiler, underwent TPLO (Tibial-Plateau-Leveling Osteotomy) surgery to repair a partial cruciate ligament tear in her left hind leg. Venus proved to be a great example of why we want to see a dog immediately post-surgery. Her "Mom," Wynell, brought Venus to GVR literally the day after her surgery - directly from the surgery clinic, in fact. At five to six weeks after starting her rehab program, Venus looked, according to Dr. Orenbuch, "downright normal."
At Venus' first visit to GVR, Dr. Orenbuch performed a thorough exam, and gave Wynell exercises to work on at home with the dog. Wynell also committed to bringing Venus to GVR twice a week for six weeks of rehab. Each week consisted of one land workout session and one underwater treadmill session.
At the end of six weeks, Venus was moving so well that it was difficult for anyone to tell that she had surgery. When the surgeon performed her six-week re-check, she agreed that Venus looked great! Once a dog tears a cruciate ligament, it's quite common that the other knee will suffer the same fate. In Venus' case, the surgeon remarked that Venus' right knee looked better than it had during her initial exam. The reason? All that rehab!
Venus and Wynell were a model team; Wynell took Venus' rehab seriously, diligently and carefully taking her through her exercises at home, monitoring her activity level, and bringing her to the clinic for formal rehab sessions. Wynell opted to continue for six more weekly underwater treadmill sessions; by the end of that six-week period, Venus received a clean bill of health and was cleared to return to her normal level of activity. Congratulations Wynell and Venus on great teamwork!
Teddie, Rottweiler Mix
When Dee of Pet Buddies Food Pantry first considered bringing her rescued, 8.5-year-old Rottweiler mix, Teddie, to GVR, she hesitated. Teddie was a dog who didn't like people in his personal space, so she knew there would be no way to get him in the underwater treadmill (UWTM) - too small a place for his comfort. But with Teddie unable to exercise and slowing down due to arthritis, the effects of double knee surgery, and an additional 10 lbs. of weight on his frame, Dee had to do something.
On his first visit to GVR, for Dee's comfort, she muzzled him. That day, Teddie received laser therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic and Chinese herbs. After a couple more treatment visits, Dee decided to literally take the plunge with Teddie, and have GVR work with him in the underwater treadmill. Dee came armed with "a purse full of hot dogs" in case he wouldn't go in, but he never hesitated! In Dee's words, "I truly believe it's because he feels so comfortable at GVR that he is willing to do anything. He even pawed at the UWTM door to get in last week when it wasn't opened quickly enough for his liking." We were even able to remove his muzzle after a few treatments. He enjoyed and trusted the staff at GVR so much that he comfortably and happily lies on the floor receiving all of his treatments.
In addition, Teddie, who has always been hesitant to get into cars, now tries to jump in by himself when it's time to go to GVR. How does he know? On days he has an appointment at GVR, Dee says “Let's go to rehab,” and Teddie runs in circles, then sits at the front door with a huge smile on his face, waiting for her to put on his leash. Teddie has lost close to 10 pounds since beginning his treatments at GVR and has more energy and mobility than ever before. He plays with his little sister more and loves his morning walks.
Izzy, Labrador Retriever
Terri brought three-year-old Izzy, a Labrador Retriever, to GVR after Izzy was diagnosed with hip dysplasia, a condition where the ball and socket of the hip joints do not fit together smoothly, making the joint unstable. Initially, instability causes inflammation in the hips and compensations and pain in the back. Later, the body's attempts to stabilize the joint with new bone leads to arthritis and can result in significant pain.
Izzy, came to GVR depressed and in pain. Our initial goals were to alleviate that pain, avoiding an immediate need for surgery. Our longer term goals were to stabilize Izzy’s hips through muscle growth, slowing or stopping the progression toward arthritis.
We treated Izzy with laser therapy and chiropractic, in conjunction with a program of "mixed rehabilitation," which combines land exercises followed by hydrotherapy in the same session. Terri was also instructed how to properly stretch and strengthen Izzy at home.
Week by week, Terri saw improvement and was shorlty able to eliminate anti-inflammatory drugs from Izzy's routine. Over a few months, with continued rehab, Izzy gained significant muscle mass around her hips, and she lost five pounds! Moreover, she returned to her normal routine, is happy and lively, and able to do everything she used to do with her active family.
If you have a dog with hip dysplasia, talk with us about how to help him or her become stronger and better prepared to stave off pain associated with this common condition.
Ajji, a resident of St. Barths, French West Indies, is a long-time GVR patient who first came to see us for intensive rehab and boarding after having back surgery in France for a herniated disc which left Ajji paralyzed in his hind legs. After four weeks of rehab, it was time for Ajji to go home. Much more mobile, Ajji was still incapable of walking on land unassisted, so he went home with a cart.
Ajji returned to GVR four month later for a few days, and although he was able to move his hind legs in the underwater treadmill, he was still knuckling his feet. At home, his "Mom" continued to work him in his cart, on a land treadmill to get his hind legs moving.
Ajji returned to GVR a few months later for an intensive "boot camp." He was still not walking on his own, but he was starting to show signs that with the right therapy he might get there. At the end of seven weeks, Ajji graduated, going home able to move about on his own!
Ajji and his mom came back to say "hi," several months later and we are pleased to report that, diligently continuing his rehab exercises at home, Ajji is now completely mobile!
Watch his video: Ajii Rehabs at GVR.
French West Indies
Chancer, Golden Retriever
While good health is important to all of our animal companions, it is especially critical in the life of a service dog.
Our son’s certified Behavioral Assistance Dog, Chancer, a blonde golden retriever, at only 5 years of age was experiencing arthritis secondary to hip dysplasia.
Chancer received a successful stem cell transplant to help with his arthritis. To ensure that we maximized the benefits of the stem cell transplant, our veterinarian recommended a vigorous course of Rehab.
We had attended GVR’s Open House soon after it opened. Not only was I blown away by the facility and all it had to offer - I had an immediate sense of confidence in the staff that I met that evening. Dr. Orenbuch ‘s treatment plan has increased Chancer’s stamina, strengthened his muscles and alleviated severe spinal pain due to years of Chancer’s hip impairment.
Chancer was originally on a robust routine of therapies; Acupuncture, Chiropractic Adjustment, Laser Therapy, Hydrotherapy, Land Rehab, herbal supplements and massage. I know. As a human, I can only imagine the benefits of any of these therapies individually, let alone clustered and focused on one incredibly much-needed canine. The therapies, while helpful by their nature, have been augmented by the superior oversight, experience and expertise of Dr. Orenbuch. Once we saw the improvements, we were able to reduce the frequency and intensity of Chancer’s treatments to maintain his improved level of mobility and comfort.
Since most of us love our animal companions almost as much as our own children – we invest in many ways in their well-being. As Chancer’s mom, I love coming to GVR, because it has made such a difference in Chancer’s enthusiasm as a working dog. In order to support my son, Chancer needs to feel strong and healthy. As Chancer’s handler, my confidence in GVR remains steady and my respect for their work ethic is always reinforced with every visit, every service we receive. I feel fortunate to consider the staff to be part of our extended Chancer family.
To read more about Chancer, the “Wonder Dog” go to:
My sincere thank you for working with my little miracle kitty, Brenna, these past few weeks, and helping her with her pain and limited mobility! Brenna was my rescue kitty from CEVC, who fell from our second story to our first at approximately 7 weeks of age. Ever since, she's cried out often when picked up, and would never jump up on counters and tables like our other kitty until she worked with the veterinarians at GVR. I've seen HUGE improvement, just in two visits. I highly recommend GVR to anyone whose beloved furry baby is in any pain, is slowing with age, has experienced a surgery or an accident, etc. I recommended them to my primary care vet, and would glad to be a reference for anyone considering care options for their beloved pets. Thank you again, so much, for all you've done for Brenna in such a short time. I know it wasn't that involved of a treatment for you, but I honestly believe that your help is resulting in a MUCH improved life, with increased mobility and agility, and far less pain, for this little feline I have grown to love so much. Thank you again!
Sam, Yorkshire Terrier
Sam, my seven year old Yorkshire Terrier injured his neck, and despite having surgery to repair a ruptured disc, he wasn’t making much progress. We continued to increase his pain medications as advised, but still Sam could not lift his head up and had a hard time using his front left leg. He had also been confined to a crate for about 3-4 months. Finally, I was ready to put Sam to sleep because I could not watch him suffer any more (it had been six months). His regular vet, Dr. Bard, told us there’s "one more thing you need to try" and that is when I found Dr. Evelyn.
Dr. Evelyn adjusted him, used laser acupuncture, and gave me some stretches and strengthening exercises to do with Sam every day.
After Dr. Evelyn saw Sam once a week for three weeks in a row, I saw a HUGE difference in him. He was a new dog! Now we see her once a month, and Sam is back to doing some of his favorite things like chasing squirrels, birds, and chipmunks in the backyard, and swimming at the lake. He was unable to do these things even just a few months ago. He is also off all of his pain medications, after having taken 8-10 a day.
Willow, Finn and Tara, Collies
I brought my three Collies to see Dr. Orenbuch after relocating to the Atlanta area from Pennsylvania. Thank goodness I found her! I tend to "break" my dogs.
All three of my dogs have active lives, competing in agility, obedience, and rally and enjoying sports such as chasing squirrels. All three receive regular chiropractic adjustments. Willow, who is five years old, also receives acupuncture for incontinence which showed up after she was spayed three years ago. Tara, who has had bi-lateral severe groin pulls, is six years old, and although retired from agility, still tends to re-injure herself occasionally, so she, too, benefits from acupuncture treatments when needed. Even Finn, a retired conformation dog, who can be unsure of strangers due to an unfortunate experience he had as a pup, welcomes Dr. Evelyn’s healing hands.
Ball Ground, GA
One day Aberdeen seemed to have an issue walking, had a hard time getting in and out from the step up to our house, squealing in pain when we tried to help her. After 2-3 weeks, it wasn’t getting better – it was getting worse. I finally knew we had to go to the vet.
One of her vertebrae was putting pressure on her spinal column, causing pain and worse: neurological damage. If she started to drag her legs behind her, it was a sign that (supposedly) only a $5,000+ surgery would allow her to walk again. I was sent home with pain medication
On a Monday evening we went for Aberdeen’s first visit at GVR. I had to carry her in because she could not even pull her back end behind her. Her back legs would not function at all, and she looked so pitiful trying to pull herself up and then flopping over on her side. She could not stand, walk or even hold up her back end when I propped her up on her back legs….I’m in tears again just thinking about my poor dog. I truly believed there was nothing to be done. That day she got an electro-acupuncture treatment and I was given some exercises to do with her at home, as well as a cold laser kit and some Chinese herbs.
Folks – I’m not kidding. Tuesday she rested. Wednesday she walked. Wobbly – but on her own back legs, she walked around, didn’t need help to go potty, she walked to her food – she was WALKING. Between a Wednesday visit and a visit the following Monday, she had twice daily the cold laser for 15 minutes, the Chinese herbs, an acupuncture treatment, and 2 hydrotherapy (underwater treadmill) sessions.
Today, not 2 weeks after she could not even stand, Aberdeen is TROTTING with her tail wagging away. She’ll probably never stop being wobbly, and she’ll have a difficult time with steps and stairs, but she’s walking, trotting, and by all appearances, nearly as good as ever.
I can’t believe the improvement only 3 visits has made on my Aberdeen
I cannot recommend Dr. Orenbuch or the GA Vet Rehab Center highly enough. Not only is the environment comfortable and contemporary (no 80′s fluorescent-lit dingy vet waiting room), each staff member was several notches above the standard veterinary office. Dr. Orenbuch is forthright and empathetic, encouraging and calming both for her patients and their owners. I’m impressed by the facility, the level of professionalism and their obvious skill and acumen in not only treating, but successfully improving the health of their patients. Thank you, Dr. Orenbuch and staff!!
(see more of Aberdeen’s story at http://frugalnaturally.info/2011/03/30/pet-rehabilitation-chiropractors-for-dogs)
Milo & Peony, Pugs
I received a disheartening diagnosis that my 11 year old Pug, Milo, would need spinal surgery on the heels of a femoral head ostectomy he was still recovering from. This additional surgery was to deal with a bulging disc that was causing instability in his hindquarters and fecal incontinence. Given his age and the fact that he had just recently had major surgery, I was not inclined to put him through more and decided to face the inevitable that I would soon have to put my "Little Man" down.
Before doing that, however, I decided to reach out for alternative care and was lucky enough to find Dr. Orenbuch and GVR. She treated Milo with acupuncture, cold laser and a chiropractic adjustment and left me with a list of exercises and stretches for him. Within one short week, there was noticeable improvement so we kept on with treatment, even adding chiropractic adjustments for my second Pug, Peony, to the equation. Now we visit GVR once monthly. Milo, who could almost not walk several months ago, is climbing stairs, playing toy tug-of-war with me and Peony and running in our backyard, his energy level belying his years.
I still have my little friends with me and they are now aged 12 and 11. They are happy, active and healthy because of GVR and I will always be truly grateful for the love, attention and care she gives them. But most of all, I thank GVR for bringing my Milo back from the brink. You rock, Dr. Evelyn!!