Veterinary Rehabilitation and Hydrotherapy

Bobby Sharp – suspected cruciate disease (conservative management)

History

Bobby was a six-year-old standard poodle bitch who had been diagnosed with suspected cruciate disease. Her owners brought her to Kennel & Paddock a few days after confirmation of the problem, at which time she struggled to support any weight on her right pelvic limb (back leg).

Assessment

At Bobby’s first physiotherapy appointment she was 3/10 lame on her affected limb in walk and had a tendency to skip into a trot. When in stance, she offloaded her affected hind leg. There was soft-tissue shortening around the knee because she had become used to keeping her paw off the floor. Her owners were very concerned about her condition and reluctant for her to have surgery. With this in mind, the vet recommended a conservative approach involving physiotherapy and land-based rehabilitation. 

Treatment

Initially Bobby’s rehab consisted of electrotherapy, passive limb movements, and soft-tissue massage of each limb and her along her back due to compensatory adaptions of her poor gait. We developed a land-based exercise programme of stepping exercises and balance work, progressing to more complex exercises that worked against gravity and included movement patterns. As soon as Bobby started to increase the use of her leg when walking, we opted to put her into the hydrotherapy pool wearing a lifejacket. She swam using her legs effectively, although she tired quickly due to poor general health. We introduced Bobby to walking on our Fit Fur Life land-based treadmill. She continued to attend weekly sessions on the treadmill, where we increased her programme to work against incline and decline slopes at varying speeds. Once Bobby was effectively walking with no lameness on her right leg, we added varying types of resistance via a harness on the treadmill.

Outcome

Through hard work on her part and the dedication from her owners, Bobby was able to recover from her lameness and return to a normal, happy life.

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