Veterinary Rehabilitation and Hydrotherapy

Josh Gillings – arthritis (old age)

History

Josh, a 12-year-old Golden Retriever dog, was referred to Kennel & Paddock to see if there was anything we could do for him. He had become increasingly weak in his hindquarters over the preceding year, causing a dramatic decrease in exercise tolerance. X-rays revealed degenerative changes to his lumbar spine. Josh’s owners didn’t want to proceed with surgery due to his age but were willing to give anything else a try to improve his quality of life.

Assessment

At initial assessment, Josh’s owner reported that he was unable to sustain a cocked-leg stand long enough to urinate and was collapsing in his hindquarters on attempts to squat to defecate. He also was unable to manage sit-to-stand unaided. Josh’s owner was lifting him in and out of the car and at 37.5kg, this was causing a problem for his owner’s back.

On assessment, Josh was reluctant to stand for more than a couple of seconds. When he walked, he had a noticeable hip sway with a stiff-legged gait.

The muscles of his hindquarters were noticeably wasted.

Treatment

Josh’s treatment consisted of electrotherapy to relieve the inflammation and pain around his spine, and a land-based rehabilitation programme designed to improve strength, endurance and balance in his hindquarters. Josh’s owner was instructed in a home-exercise programme to continue with between in-house treatment sessions, which he was extremely compliant with.

On arrival for the second session of physiotherapy, Josh’s owner reported that he had been able to sustain a cocked-leg stand for long enough to urinate since the first session, however was still collapsing when attempting to squat. By the fourth session, Josh’s owner reported that he was able to manage sit-to-stand unaided and by the sixth session that he was no longer collapsing whilst squatting to defecate.

Outcome

Overall, Josh’s owner was delighted with his progress and the extension to his life that the rehab programme has allowed him.  Josh’s owner is a great example of how a committed owner, given the right advice, can make a difference to their dog’s life.

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