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Meet Dakota! Dakota is an incredibly sweet five year old Labrador who suffered from a suspected fibrocartilaginous embolism high in his spinal cord, (which is similar to a stroke in people), on October 31, 2012. This condition rendered Dakota quadriplegic and he was incontinent to bowel and bladder.   When he first presented to us on November 7, 2012, he was barely able to lift his head against gravity.

Initially, Dakota’s treatment consisted of only passive modalities, including electric muscle stimulation, vibration, cold laser therapy, range of motion, and joint mobilizations. As Dakota started to progress, we were able to begin with more active modalities, which included supported sit to stands, balance and core strengthening with the use of physioballs, and we even had a standing frame designed to help give Dakota appropriate support while standing.

On December 21, 2012, almost two full months since the onset of his paralysis, Dakota was finally able to take his first assisted steps in the underwater treadmill! Since then Dakota continued to gain strength, coordination, and balance. On January 16, 2013, Dakota was finally able to get up and walk unassisted on land for the first time! Over the course of the next 6 months, Dakota continued to get stronger every day, allowing him to return to a functional lifestyle.

Even though Dakota never regained functional use of his left forearm, he is now able to get up on his own to move around the house, go outside to do his business, and go on short walks without any help! However, walking for longer distances can still be challenging for him. So, we worked closely with a company who manufactured a custom-made front end cart for Dakota, which gives him a significant amount of support under his chest, allowing for Dakota to go on longer walks and be able to enjoy life again in the park!

We are so proud of everything that Dakota has accomplished. He will forever remain an inspiration to us and all who have met him.