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October 2021 Spotlight Practice
K9 Strong Rehabilitation & Conditioning
Danielle Bercier, DVM, CCRP
K9 Strong opened its doors in 2018 as an addition to an established equine practice. That means we are fortunate to be situated on 9 acres in the country and the dogs don't even realize they are at a veterinary practice. Both ends of the building can be opened and we do a good amount of our therapies out of doors. We have "camp" for our weight loss dogs where they are dropped off in the morning, have several play/exercise sessions in a field, get to watch the activity of the large animals from a paddock, and go home in the afternoon where they sleep for the rest of the day!
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We find many of our dogs have little leash manners and have not been taught to stand still, so we have added outside training classes for our clients. Not only does it offer behavior help, but an outlet for exercise and mental stimulation. We encourage our owners to become involved in dog sports to encourage lifelong physical activity and training. Dr. Bercier's interest in rehabilitation came about while doing research to keep her Schutzhund dogs healthy and sound for high level competition, so encouraging owners to learn how dogs learn and get involved with them as more than idle pets, is important to her. We do quite a bit of post-surgical rehab, sport conditioning, and lameness cases; but I think our favorite dogs are the geriatric, overweight, decreased mobility dogs whose owners believe that this is a normal age-related change. Week by week we see them improve and grow happier, along with their owners.
We also have 2 LVTs at the practice. One just qualified a few months ago and the other has been in the field for 25 years with a lot of experience in rescue. They both love working with the dogs and carry out much of the prescribed therapies. One of them is also pursuing canine massage certification to incorporate into the practice. We are fortunate to have a talented animal chiropractor who visits the practice on a routine basis to care for any patients that need him. K9 Strong offers aquatic therapy (pool and underwater treadmill), land treadmills, e-stim, therapeutic ultrasound, laser, vibration platforms, Digatherm thermal imaging, Gait4Dogs gait analyzer, and of course therapeutic exercise.
We are excited to have brought regenerative medicine to the area. We process stem cells and PRP and perform the injections for local practices. Intra-articular medication is underutilized in small animal practice when compared to the equine patient, and we are happy to add that into a patient's pain management strategy. We are dedicated to expanding the use of veterinary rehabilitation and giving educational talks and presentations as often as possible so that we can reach the dogs who need us.
Our future plans include continuing to work hard to get the word out about rehabilitation and regenerative medicine. We continually seek out rehab education offerings and take classes through the University of Tennessee program in order to further our knowledge. We plan to be more of a presence at competitions with the thermal imaging and gait analyzer in the next year. We support the local shelters, rescue groups, and police dogs with discounted or free services. The rescue that we work with the most is The Joy Committee out of Pensacola, Florida, with a focus on caring for large breed dogs.
Information written by AARV Member Danielle Bercier, DVM, CCRP
Danielle Bercier, DVM, CCRP
Office: (251) 945-7555