Breed: Border Collie
Age: 14 years old
Reason for Hydrotherapy
Degenerative Joint Disease and Suspected Degenerative Myelopathy
This very sweet little lady is Tess, who started treatment with us at the end of September. Tess has been with her current owner for about a year, and has well and truly fallen on all four paws! Tess is generally very fit but was starting to become stiff when rising from rest and more unsteady on her feet losing balance easily. Tess has degenerative joint disease affecting multiple joints and suspected degenerative myelopathy, not that she lets either stop her. She initially started off with some physiotherapy treatment which was of great benefit to Tess
and then subsequently started hydrotherapy to complement the treatment she was receiving. It was decided to conduct Tess’s sessions in the underwater treadmill to help correct her gait and posture while also providing a partially weight bearing environment to exercise in that would help to maintain her muscle mass and improve her range of movement to reduce the stiffness she was experiencing. Tess has never been in water before, so we felt the treadmill would be a more comfortable environment for her. Tess was a little nervous initially but with the help of her dedicated owner (and the gravy bone tin!) she soon took to the treadmill like a little pro! Initially Tess was very wide through her hind limbs and tried to cheat by placing her hind paws on the treadmill side plates (I’m afraid we could see you Tess). Her gait was very uncoordinated and she needed a lot of support in the treadmill to keep her hind limbs straight and not abducted (out to the side). She lifted her forelimbs quite high in the water but was very stiff through her hind limbs and there was not much flexion through her hind limbs. As Tess has progressed, she needs far less support and her gait has greatly improved, she only abducts her hind limbs slightly and the range of movement has greatly improved through her hind limbs. She has gained 1-2 cm on both hind limbs and 1cm on both hind limbs which is brilliant. Her owner has been delighted with her progress and feels Tess is now coping well with exercise and seems a lot straighter through her spine than previously, with less crabbing as she walks now which is such a rewarding thing to hear. She is also continuing with monthly physiotherapy treatment. Tess is such a gentle dog and a pleasure to have at the centre on a weekly basis; it’s wonderful to see her progress so well with treatment. She is very focused in the treadmill, especially when the treat tin is in front of her for incentive! But she also gives the best cuddles when she arrives and during her rest periods in the treadmill.
There are no miracle cures, according to my vet, for Tess‘s condition, but he suggested that hydrotherapy would help. After a tentative start on the treadmill, treats and gentle coaxing won the day and Tess now takes it in her stride. And here’s “the miracle” my old girl is now stronger on those back legs, less prone to sagging and having fewer lapses during her daily walks. We’ve even seen a wag of the tail that has hung limply for months. Thank you Blue Waters!