Friday, July 29 , 2016, 3:58 pm | Fair 74º

  • Follow Noozhawk on LinkedIn
  • Follow Noozhawk on Pinterest
  • Follow Noozhawk on YouTube
 
 
 
 

Business

HydroPaws Helping Pets, Owners See Positive Results in Rehabilitation

Santa Barbara center on State Street boasts the area’s only certified canine rehabilitation therapist

Bill Foreman appeared to have avoided a pet owner’s nightmare earlier this year when his chocolate Labrador, Biggie, underwent surgery to repair a herniated spinal disc.

Medication eased the recovery for Biggie, who will be 10 in June, but the Montecito pet owner’s fears were stoked further when the friendly pooch was weaned off medicine and one day couldn’t summon the strength to stand up.

With Biggie’s handicap apparent, Foreman took his family dog to HydroPaws, a Santa Barbara rehabilitation center for animals he had heard about from his daughter.

Thirty days in, and Biggie has already made tremendous progress in relearning the basics to get back to his fun-loving, old self.

“He’s getting a lot stronger. It’s like night and day from a month ago,” Foreman told Noozhawk. “What they’re doing there for him, I can see the progress. It’s coming (back) to him.”

Foreman credits the transformation to caring and concerned staff in the emerging animal-rehabilitation field.

Biggie’s rehab results are exactly why veterinarian Dr. Dave Dawson decided six years ago to establish HydroPaws, which is located at the rear of the San Roque Pet Hospital at 3034 State St.

The doggy rehab center, which also caters to cats, has the area’s only certified canine rehabilitation therapist in Karen Atlas. The Santa Barbara native spent 10 years administering physical therapy to humans in Ventura before coming to HydroPaws four years ago.

HydroPaws treats both dogs and cats. Rafa receives electrical therapy to relieve pain and strengthen muscles after hip surgery. Administering the treatment are Karen Atlas, left, and rehabilitation assistant Jillian Lake. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)
HydroPaws treats both dogs and cats. Rafa receives electrical therapy to relieve pain and strengthen muscles after hip surgery, with the help of Karen Atlas, left, and rehabilitation assistant Jillian Lake. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

“I adopted a dog that had a lameness,” Atlas said of her sudden interest in four-legged patients. “I didn’t know anything about canine anatomy.”

Although Teddy, a Samoyed golden retriever mix, has since passed, Atlas is still devoted to helping animals ranging from athletes to domestics, most of which are recovering from injuries of the hip, knee or the dog version of the ACL.

Atlas said she and her staff of two — rounded out by rehab assistants Jillian Lake and Kaylene Wagner — help animals through gait training on an underwater treadmill, ground exercises, electric muscle stimulation, ultrasound and laser therapies, and “all the bells and whistles” of regular physical therapy.

All animals must have veterinarian referrals and medical clearance to participate.

“(Teddy) made quite an impact on my life and now on a lot of other lives,” Atlas said. “It’s a new field. I think it will eventually become a standard in care for dogs.”

Most dog owners bring their pets in for hour-long appointments, while others, including Biggie, can board with HydroPaws during the day or for several days.

Foreman, who drops Biggie off weekday mornings and picks him up after work, said he and Atlas are hopeful his dog will be well enough to stop rehab in July.

“I think the interaction there has been really good for his recovery,” Foreman said. “I feel very comfortable bringing Biggie there because I know he’s getting well taken care of.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >