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Retired police dog gets physical rehabilitation for terminal illness to help quality of life

K9 Bane of St. Francis Police Department gets palliative care, offers hope for other pets
K9 Bane gets physical rehabilitation
Posted at 7:04 PM, Aug 17, 2022

OAK CREEK, Wis. — As K9 Bane heads into the last stages of his life, his former partner and current owner Detective Holly McManus is doing all she can to keep her close companion and teammate in good spirits.

“It was important to me that I fight for him for as many years as he's fought for me and our community and give him the best quality of life possible,” said McManus.

Bane lives with degenerative myelopathy, a terminal illness of the spinal cord, which causes weakness in his back hips and legs that will eventually lead to total paralysis.

One of his veterinarians, Dr. Lerin Rives, is working to slow that down.

For the last few months, Bane gets a variety of treatments to help with his physical rehabilitation, including acupuncture. By focusing on the nerves directly affected by the disorder, Dr. Rives says it can make his time left more comfortable.

“This disease is not a painful one. So, that's really good for him. But it does mean that he's going to be posed with challenges throughout the rest of his life. And those are the things that we're trying to make a little bit easier for him and provide him with the opportunity to have the best quality of life with his family for as long as we can,” said Dr. Rives.

Another unique way Bane gets help in managing his illness is through hydrotherapy.

This treatment gives Bane a chance to use his legs in a less stressful environment, allowing his muscles the chance to move freely with a good sense of support.

Those behind the rehabilitation say they hope offering dogs like Bane palliative care can give other pet parents hope when it comes to helping their beloved animals in their final years.

“One of the most important things that we can do is have realistic expectations about what we can expect for these dogs and be able to all be on the same page. So ultimately, we can do what is best for the dog because that's what's most important. That's what's in everyone's best interest. But it's important for us all to be on the same page about that,” said Dr. Rives.

Detective McManus says she’ll help Bane along as much as she can, but when the time comes to stop treatment, she says she’ll listen, even if Bane can’t tell her himself.

“I think the hardest part is that they can't speak to us. They literally cannot tell us what is wrong. All we know of these dogs and our animals and what they're going through is what we see and often times it is hard to get past the feeling that you have and recognize how they may be feeling and what may be going on. So, it's important to seek out the help of experts, people that are trained in this sort of thing to talk about options and diagnosis and prognosis and what treatment options are available,” said McManus.

If you would like more information on how you can donate to help with K9 Bane’s medical bills, click here.

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