New Decatur clinic rehabilitates dogs and cats

Rehabilitation health care—the branch of medicine that seeks to enhance and restore functional ability and quality of life to those with physical impairments and disabilities—is not just for humans. Resurgence Veterinary Mobility, which in December opened an office on East Ponce de Leon Avenue in downtown Decatur, offers the same type of care to dogs and cats.

Veterinarian Cara McNamee, who had been treating her four-legged patients at a temporary facility on DeKalb Industrial Way, said she was pleased in the final days of the year to open the 5,000-square-foot clinic equipped to help restore physical functions to animals that have been injured or disabled by such illnesses as arthritis.

“It’s a beautiful space with lots of character and lots of natural light. The people at our temporary space have been wonderful, but we’re all excited to move into the new space,” McNamee said. The staff will include another veterinarian, a certified rehabilitation therapist and certified canine massage therapists.

Resurgence Veterinary Mobility is the only facility inside the perimeter offering these services, according to McNamee. “We’re not competing with the many veterinary clinics already in the area. In fact, we get many referrals from them because they don’t offer rehab. Referrals aren’t required, but many of our clients are referred by other veterinarians. At the same time, we don’t offer primary care or wellness care such as vaccinations, just rehab care,” she explained.

Decatur and the surrounding area have a large dog and cat population, McNamee said. “Pets that are undergoing therapy often require frequent visits to the clinic. Downtown Decatur should be convenient to families who might otherwise have to travel to outlying counties for treatment.”

McNamee grew up in Georgia and returned to her home state after graduating from veterinary school at Michigan State University. She now lives in East Atlanta.

“I knew from my childhood that I wanted to be a veterinarian. We had cats in our home when I was a child, and when we took them to the vet, I wanted to go to the back room where they were being treated. I was really curious about what went on back there. In high school, I worked in a veterinary clinic. I rode horses then and I still do. I just love being around animals,” McNamee said.

McNamee said starting in her days as a veterinary intern she found improving the quality of life for older dogs and cats or those that have been injured especially rewarding and decided to make rehab medicine her specialty. “Right now, we have a rescue dachshund who’s been in our care for about seven weeks. When she came to us, she had just had spine surgery and couldn’t walk or use her back legs at all. Now she’s able to run. That kind of recovery really warms my heart. She’s ready to be adopted and we’re hoping someone will give her a permanent home soon,” she said.

Visits to Resurgence start with a comprehensive examination of the animal to assess pain, level of joint mobility, muscle strength and tone, and nervous system function to establish goals. Then an individual treatment plan is created, McNamee said.

The practice manager, who prefers to be known simply as Amanda, has a background in both animal care and the hospitality industry. She said that during the online bookings Resurgence gathers a good deal of information that will help create a plan to improve the quality of the pet’s life.

Among the services Resurgence Veterinary Mobility offers are acupuncture—needles used to stimulate the nervous system to release chemicals that promote circulation and moderate pain—and manual therapy, including massage. There also is hydrotherapy equipment that includes an underwater treadmill. Therapeutic exercises to be performed in the clinic and continued at home are often part of the treatment.

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