Leonardo Was Challenging, Now He’s a Joy

Leonardo is my two-year old Bernese Mountain Dog. When Leonardo was five months old, he was bitten by a spider and nearly died. The combination of western and eastern/holistic veterinary medicine saved him. After battling back from the effects of the spider bite, Leonardo went on to have a very successful show career until August 2013 when he started limping in conformation class.

I took him in for x-rays the next morning and it turned out that the spider bite had caused his right femur to be twice the size of his left femur and there was a large hole in his hip socket. Fast forward to the following year when I took him to Ohio State University’s veterinary center to be evaluated by a team of the best orthopedic specialists in this region when it comes to hip replacement surgery.

After three days of testing it was determined that the damage done by the spider bite was so extensive that he isn’t a candidate for a hip replacement. Their fear is that the femur would not be able to hold the hardware. So I was charged with getting Leonardo on a diet, having him lose nearly 15 pounds, and increasing his muscle tone so that hopefully he wouldn’t need a hip replacement.We then had Leonardo evaluated by Dr. Schmidtchen at BluePearl for rehab therapy and a treatment plan was determined.

He has gone for underwater treadmill therapy twice a week for the past month and I walk him the other five days. In the course of just one month, Leonardo has already lost more than five pounds, has increased his time on the treadmill from 20 minutes to 30 minutes, has gone from barely doing toe touches to putting full weight on his right foot, and can run with beautiful long strides. The bunny hopping is gone. He is happy and pain free.

While we still have a ways to go, the team at BluePearl has made this endeavor enjoyable. What seemed to be an impossible task is now an attainable goal. By relieving Leonardo’s pain and increasing his stamina and muscle tone they have taken a dog that was challenging in nearly every aspect of his behavior and made him into a dog that I have bonded with, is a true joy to be around, and a boy that I adore.

Thank you Dr. Schmidtchen and Danielle!

Patti Finley