Wondering who the cool dog is in the movie star sunglasses? Her name is Megan and her family chose to adopt a paraplegic dog. If you’re also wondering why Megan needs sunglasses; it’s to protect her eyes from the laser therapy she receives, but I’ll get to that part later.
Most of us who share our life with a paralyzed pet do so because that dog or cat has been part of our family since they were young. We become caretakers because our fur kid, who we love, gets sick or has an injury. That’s why I am so impressed when someone consciously chooses to adopt a paraplegic dog or cat. I’m even more impressed when that person goes out of their way to learn everything they can to make a better life for that animal.
Choosing to adopt a paraplegic dog
Dar Freeman is one of these amazing pet parents. She adopted Megan on May 24, 2015 from a family that was going to euthanize the paralyzed dog. Then Dar made it her mission to learn everything she could about spinal cord injuries. Megan became a paraplegic when she slipped on ice.
“She’s just 6 years old and although I have no experience with paralyzed dogs, I decided this little one needed a chance,” said Dar. “Before I brought her home I asked my vet what could be done and was told surgery was only an option in the first 24 hours after the injury so she would likely just need a cart. Financially, I knew I could handle that.”
After Dar brought Megan home, she jumped right in learning how to help the dog . She joined online communities (like Lessons From A Paralyzed Dog) and she talked to veterinary experts near her home at the University of Illinois.
Cold laser therapy
Dar’s education led to Megan undergoing a series of treatments called “cold laser therapy and that led to Megan wearing sunglasses. Cold laser is a process where a low power laser is applied to the surface of the skin on the paralyzed site to promote healing. At the beginning of Sophie’s illness she also went through a series of six laser treatments. The laser doesn’t cause any pain to the patient, but because of the bright light it throws off, everyone in the room including the veterinarian, vet tech, pet parents and the patient must wear protective sunglasses.
The laser works by rapidly increasing the production of new cells so a dog can regain some mobility and recover quicker. It also eliminates pain, reduces inflammation and increases blood flow to an injured area.
Cold laser therapy is most often used for:
- Joint injuries
- Ligament or tendon injuries
- Bone fractures
- Muscle sprains
- Post-surgical and post-trauma wounds
- Musculoskeletal diseases
- Nerve injuries
Unfortunately, the laser therapy did not deliver the benefits Megan’s mom hoped it would and the sessions were discontinued.
Megan is now scheduled to see a specialist on July 2 who will determine if surgery is needed to relieve her pain.
“I was told that although surgery won’t help Megan walk again, it may be necessary to relieve the pain she is experiencing as we get her off the Prednisone she’s been taking,” said Dar. “That was the only treatment she received for her injury and it’s begun to affect her liver enzymes.”
Dar is learning, as most of us have, that there are always options to weigh when you have a special needs pet. It’s a balancing act of trying new therapies while also giving your dog the best quality life possible.
However, in the short time Dar has been the new adopted mom to Megan, the two have bonded and Megan has already grown close with her furry housemates. Dar explained that she is working hard to establish a routine that fits the needs of the whole family.
I appreciate Dar and Megan sharing their story and I want Dar to know how much I admire her strength and devotion to her pets. I hope we’ll be able to share future updates about this amazing family.