Pip’s Story

Pip is an active 5 year old female border collie who suddenly became lame on her left forelimb. Following veterinary investigation, a suspected tear of one of the shoulder stabilising ligaments (the medial glenohumeral ligament) was diagnosed. The injury was caused by twisting and turning whilst chasing a ball. Immediate rest was prescribed by the vet and she was referred for physiotherapy treatment.

Pip presented with a mild lameness of the left forelimb and reduced muscle bulk of the left shoulder. Pip had reduced range of movement of the left shoulder with mild signs of discomfort.

The aims of Pip’s physiotherapy treatment were to aid healing of the glenohumeral ligament and to strengthen musculature of the left shoulder to minimise the risk of recurring injury.

Pip was treated with Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy (PEMFT) to the left shoulder to promote soft tissue healing by causing a vasodilation effect and increasing blood flow to the area. Massage and passive range of movement exercises were performed on the left shoulder to improve joint mobility. Flexion and extension of the left shoulder joint improved, with no associated signs of pain.

A home exercise programme was then devised for Pip aimed at muscle strengthening to minimise future injury. The plan included wobble cushion exercises, pole work and weaving exercises performed in a controlled, balanced manner on a harness. Her owner implemented the home exercise plan alongside her physiotherapy sessions as directed.

Following 3 months of regular physiotherapy treatment and restricted lead walking exercise, Pip had responded well and is now able to complete  two half hour walks per day with some off lead time at the end, with no sign of lameness. Her exercise level will continue to be gradually increased to help her return to her former level of activity.

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Ben’s Story

Ben is a working Springer Spaniel who suffered a rupture of the cranial cruciate ligament in his right stifle (knee) joint. Ben was referred to a specialist orthopaedic veterinary surgeon who performed a TPLO (tibial plateau levelling osteotomy) operation to stabilise the joint.

Post surgery Ben was weight bearing on the injured limb but presented with an obvious lameness at a walking pace. When trotting an intermittent skip on the right hind limb was observed.  In a standing position Ben displayed reduced weight bearing on the right hind limb and was offloading weight onto his left hind limb, subsequently increasing the pressure on the ligaments of the stifle joint. There was also muscular atrophy (wasting) apparent through the hamstring and quadriceps muscle groups of the right hind limb due to compensatory movement.

The main aims of Ben’s physiotherapy treatment were to increase muscular support and facilitate full range of movement of the right stifle joint. Another important aim was to increase weight bearing on the injured limb in order to relieve the additional pressure being placed on the opposite stifle joint due to compensatory weight shifting.

Ben was treated with Low Level LASER Therapy to the right stifle joint to promote circulation to the area and accelerate the healing process. Passive range of movement and weight shifting exercises were performed to encourage weight bearing and full joint movement. A home exercise plan was also devised for Ben which his owner completed between sessions. Ben then progressed onto hydrotherapy treatment to further aid muscle strengthening.

Ben’s owners were committed to his recovery and through the implementation of a multimodal approach to treatment including surgery, physiotherapy and hydrotherapy, Ben made excellent progress. Over a year later he has made a full recovery and is back to working as a gundog, regularly out beating and picking up on shoots throughout the season.

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Alfie’s Story

Alfie is an 8 year old chocolate Labrador Retriever with elbow dysplasia who had also previously been diagnosed with spondylosis of the spine. He initially had arthroscopy surgery on his left elbow but his lameness did not fully resolve and so he subsequently had a partial elbow replacement.

Alfie was referred by his vet for physiotherapy following his elbow replacement surgery. On initial assessment, Alfie presented with reduced muscle bulk over his left shoulder and there was still a degree of lameness on the left forelimb which was worse when he trotted. He was also tending to offload weight from the left forelimb when standing, causing him to take extra weight through the right forelimb.

The aims of Alfie’s physiotherapy treatment were to maintain full range of movement in the left elbow, increase weight bearing on the left forelimb, strengthen the left shoulder muscles and address any areas of muscle tension in the right forelimb due to compensatory movement. His weekly physiotherapy programme included the use of LASER, soft tissue massage, stretching and land based exercises targeted at encouraging even weight bearing on his forelimbs. He later progressed onto hydrotherapy.

Alfie made good progress, his lameness gradually improved and he is now able to tolerate longer walks again. He continues to attend hydrotherapy sessions for maintenance.

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Henry’s Story

Cats can benefit from physiotherapy too. Henry is a domestic shorthair cat who suffered multiple pelvic fractures following a road traffic collision. Henry was referred post surgery following the insertion of metal pins to stabilise the fractures.

Upon assessment Henry had limited range of movement of both hind limbs and reduced weight bearing on the left hind. There was muscular atrophy (wasting) of his hind limbs due to disuse following strict cage rest post surgery.

The aims of Henry’s physiotherapy treatment were to improve weight bearing, maintain range of movement of his hips and build hind limb musculature in order to resolve the lameness and maintain full function of his hind limbs.

Henry had a long road ahead of him, but with devoted owners who provided him with post surgical care as advised by the operating veterinary surgeon combined with regular physiotherapy treatment, he made steady progress.

Henry was initially treated with Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy (PEMFT) to promote fracture healing and provide pain relief. Passive range of movement exercises were performed to maintain joint movement.

A home exercise programme was devised for Henry starting with assisted standing whilst on cage rest, progressing onto 10 minutes a day out of the cage following a line of treats along the ground, and finally onto weight bearing exercises including stepping over poles and wobble cushion work for muscle strengthening.

After 3 months of physiotherapy treatment Henry has regained enough function of his hind limbs to enable him to live a comfortable life.