Case Study


Name: Sheriff


Breed: Labrador x Collie


Age: 2 years old

Reason for Hydrotherapy

Cruciate Ligament & Luxating Patella Surgery | Hip Dysplasia

Sheriff started to attend Bluewaters Canine Hydrotherapy Centre on 1st July 2018.  Sheriff had a number of joint conditions that he was suffering with and he was becoming understandably increasingly nervous and reactive to other dogs as a result. Sheriff had surgery on his right cruciate ligament on 16th June 2018 before the start of his treatment, however his right patella (knee cap) was also luxating and in need of future surgery. As if that isn’t enough Sheriff also has bilateral hip dysplasia and a deformed right femur. Bless him!
We started Sheriff in the underwater treadmill to avoid over extension or abduction (kicking out to the side) of his right hind limb and to encourage the correct use of his right hind limb. Sheriff was very nervous to start with and it took us a long time to gain his trust, however he soon settled into his sessions well and his owners found the sessions really helped him. Initially Sheriff was quite stiff through his hind limbs with minimal flexion and his right hind limb abducted (kicked out to the side quite markedly). Once Sheriff’s veterinary surgeon was happy he did have a few sessions in the hydrotherapy pool as well but he still preferred the rolling road of treats he gets in the underwater treadmill!
Unfortunately the time came round again for Sheriff to have further surgery and he had his luxating patella repaired in September 2018. This seemed to have gone well however it became apparent that due to the severe deformities in Sheriff’s stifle he would require yet another procedure (November 2018) to make him more comfortable and to straighten his right hind which was performed at West Midlands Referrals. Sheriff’s surgeon was pleased with how the procedure had gone but said he will most likely never have full range of movement of the limb. That said, he is doing exceptionally well now! In the treadmill he doesn’t put his full weight through his right hind limb or fully flex through the stifle otherwise his use of the limb is really quite good. His right hind limb is also now much straighter with very minimal abduction of the limb.
Sheriff’s owners have been really pleased with his progress; they report he no longer lifts his right hind on or after walks and his reactivity and anxiety around other dogs has greatly reduced. He is now much happier and more comfortable which was just the best news to hear. Sheriff has gained a significant amount of muscle mass on all four limbs since the start of his treatment and his hind limb measurements are now almost even, he has gained 3-5 cm on his forelimbs and 4-6 cm on his hind limbs with a 6 cm increase on his right hind limb.
Sheriff is such a lovely gentle boy to have at the centre, it’s been lovely to see him progress so well through his sessions and his confidence in us grow. He now comes in happily to see us, even if he has to go and sit on the scales first! Sheriff attends the centre once a week, we love to see him and he enjoys emptying the treat box as his reward for walking beautifully in the treadmill.

Sheriff had a slight limp aged 17 months. A trip to the vets initially revealed a ruptured cruciate and patella luxation in his right leg. Further investigation found hip dysplasia and a badly deformed femur. First operation was TPLO for the cruciate and the vet was hopeful that the patella luxation could be managed without surgery. Sheriff started hydro and was doing well with recovery but then his paw started to point outwards. On x-ray we found that surgery for the cruciate had enhanced the knee problem so continued with hydro which really helped. On check up we found that the knee was dislocating worse than ever but in a different way due to upper leg deformities. Sheriff was referred to an orthopaedic specialist who performed a more advanced surgery to realign/cut the bone to make him more comfortable and he’s doing brilliantly. Further surgery was done to remove some metalwork and he was discharged in January but recommend hydro initially for recovery and then long term for the hip dysplasia and to help with the severe joint degeneration that he has. All this has left Sheriff anxious and fearful of other dogs and sometimes people but as he is starting to feel better his confidence is growing and he loves the Bluewaters girls.

Sheriff’s confidence has grown massively. He no longer tries to run out the door at Bluewaters and happily goes to the treadmill on his own – he looks forward to his visits. He no longer limps/holds his leg up – his leg will never be fully functional and he will be at risk of cruciate rupture in his left leg due to overcompensating but hopefully hydro will help prevent this.

The team at Bluewaters are amazing, so patient and they go above and beyond to make Sheriff feel comfortable and safe. They’re also very good with my other dog Dixie who comes along for the ride!


Sheriff's Owner

Case Studies


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