Harrisburg vet uses water therapy to help paralyzed dog learn to walk again

WEST HANOVER TOWNSHIP, DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. -- A Harrisburg veterinarians office is helping to heal injured dogs using water and treadmill.

It`s called 'Hydrotherapy' and you may have heard of it before, but it`s not just for humans anymore.

'Bronson,' a 4-year-old beagle, who was paralyzed in her hind legs after a back injury in December, is learning to walk again.

"I didn`t ever see her walking and just every time we would bring her home from therapy she`d just make improvements and it was great," said Jordan Dawson, owner.

Dr. Jennifer Fletcher with the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County says the unique treatment gives dog owners a sense of hope at a much lower cost.

"It`s an alternative way to approach the medicine, the injury, whatever it may be, it`s not," said Dr. Jennifer Fletcher, Animal Hospital of Dauphin County. "For some people surgery is just not doable, they are not able to handle the dog afterwards or their ideal situation just isn`t possible," she added.

"Surgery was the $7,000  which was out of the question," added Dawson.

With a 95% success rate, it`s no wonder more and more pet owners like Jordan Dawson are choosing Hydrotherapy.

Here`s how it works -- swimmies on -- the dog gets into the tank.

As the water fills up, the dog will start to walk on the treadmill, helping to regain strength.

"The first few weeks she was just trying to get her feet underneath her but after that she just took off," said Dr. Fletcher. "Every time I saw her she was getting better on her left side and then I`d walk in and she was walking and she was getting better on the right side, so it was faster than I even expected her to progress," added Fletcher.

The therapy is also great for weight-loss in pets.

"She lost 5 pounds since we started walking her and getting her into therapy in January, so hopefully it`ll help prevent further back injuries now that we have a little weight off of her," added Fletcher.

Looking back, 'Bronson' has come a long way.

"When we started she really wasn`t able to walk on her own, to get her to walk outside I would have to use a towel and wrap it under her hind legs and kind of carry her around," said Dawson. "It was like a baby, I would carry her around everywhere, and now she`s able to walk in and out of here, it`s overwhelming, it`s great," added Dawson.