Shar Pei Puppy Wet-Suits Up for Water Rehab - NBC 7 San Diego

Shar Pei Puppy Wet-Suits Up for Water Rehab

Pumbaa the Shar Pei hasn't been able to use his legs since he was four months old



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    A Shar Pei puppy’s swim therapy is making him even wrinklier as he works to get up on his own four paws.

    And if you thought a wrinkly Shar Pei couldn’t get any cuter, just put one in a wet suit.

    For the first few months of his life, “Pumbaa” the Shar Pei acted like any puppy – rambunctious and playful.

    “He turned four months old, and he just stopped walking completely,” said Pumbaa’s owner, Daisy Ciru.

    Looking for answers, she took the pup to an animal chiropractor, to no avail.

    Then, she found Trish Penick, owner of Cutting Edge K9 Rehab.

    “When he came to me, he couldn’t stand or walk, and we didn’t have a diagnosis at the time,” said Penick, a human physical therapist who moonlights in animal rehabilitation.

    Penick decided to take on Pumbaa’s case for free to find out what’s stopping his little legs from working.

    After consulting an orthopedic surgeon, they found out it’s one of two possibilities: polyarthritis or Shar Pei fever.

    “What either of those means is that he’s got an inflammation throughout his whole body and in all of his joints, so that’s why it was so painful for him to move or try to walk,” said Penick.

    The solution, they found, was mix of medication and pool time.

    Suited up in a little dog wet suit, Pumbaa now doggie paddles like a champ once he hits the water, even though he still has trouble moving his legs on land.

    Penick said just in the last four days, she’s seen a huge improvement in how the now 8-month-old puppy moves around. Ciru has, too.

    “He’s doing much better. He’s stronger now, and he looks happier. He’s very playful now,” Ciru said of the pet who means the world to her. “I thank Trish for that. She’s a wonderful person, and I can’t thank her enough.”

    Cutting Edge K9 Rehab has some savings – known as The Max Fund – to help owners who can’t afford to pay for their animal’s therapy.

    That fund has made it possible for Ciru to take Pumbaa to his “swimming lessons.”

    Penick works with dogs after orthopedic surgeries, strokes, herniated discs and more to help them get back to their lively selves.

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