Veterinary Rehabilitation and Hydrotherapy

Vernon Topcu – fractured pelvis

History

Vernon, a five-year-old British Blue tom cat, presented with left hind-limb lameness and incontinence following a road-traffic collision. The referring vet’s x-rays showed a fractured pelvis with localised nerve disruption (he could feel pain but not light touch). Surgery to stabilise the pelvis was carried out, inserting metal pins and a plate. Because Vernon was struggling to use the limb after surgery, he was referred to Kennel & Paddock.

Assessment

On assessment at Kennel & Paddock, due to the significant nerve disruption, Vernon was unable to walk. His incontinence was treated with medication, and hygiene was maintained by his owner. There was significant muscle wasting around the limb and because he was dragging it, he was developing skin abrasions. Limb range of movement was good, but had no control because of the lack of muscle tone.

Treatment

We treated Vernon with electrotherapy to stimulate muscle tone. To stimulate nerve regeneration, we did excitatory treatments (vigorous massage, both manual and mechanical). Once there was evidence of voluntary movement and responses to stimulation, we started functional weight-bearing exercises – and motivated him using treats.

To start with Vernon stepped somewhat clumsily over poles, and did some balance work on a ball. He progressed to walking on an unstable surface (to improve his awareness of limb placement).

As he became more able, we treated Vernon in our hydrotherapy pool. This further encouraged the awareness of where his limbs were and took advantage of the weightless environment to increase his range of movement and overall fitness.

Outcome

At discharge, Vernon had regained 95% function of his left hind-limb. This meant that occasionally he misplaced his paw or tripped.

Vernon is back in his garden, chasing birds and keeping the mice at bay. He is now continent again, and his tail is under his full control.

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