22 Sep

I’m in doggy paddle therapy

How hydrotherapy saved Pepper the disabled dachshund

When Pepper the dachshund lost the use of her legs she was nearly sent to the great kennel in the sky.

But her owner Joy Bloyce knew there was life in the old dog yet.

Instead of following the vet’s advice and having Pepper put down, she put her in hydrotherapy instead.

It took five months of twice-weekly £20 sessions – and a lot of dog paddling – but finally she is able to trot about again.

Miss Bloyce said her pet’s troubles began earlier this year with a slipped disc, which became so painful that she was only able to drag herself along with her front paws.

She had an operation to fix the disc but her muscles had wasted away and she was still unable to walk.

Miss Bloyce, a dental nurse from Colchester in Essex, said:

‘The vet that carried out the operation said there was no point in carrying on.

‘I’ve had her for seven years since she was a puppy and I wasn’t going to accept that, and neither was Pepper.’

Miss Bloyce took Pepper to Animal Magic Hydrotherapy, Fitness and Grooming in Colchester.

The dog was put in a lifejacket and encouraged to swim around in a small pool to strengthen her back and leg muscles.

Therapist Kerry Youngman said: ‘When Pepper first came in she was so weak I had to tickle her toes to get her to move.

‘But she’s come on in leaps and bounds and now is one of the strongest swimmers we have. Her little tail whirls round like a propeller when she’s swimming.

By DANIEL BATE

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