Aug 2021 Dog of the Month: Freddie
Freddie, a 4 year old Maltese cross Poodle, suffered a "slipped disc" in September 2020 causing paralysis of his hind limbs. He was quickly taken to the referral vets and had decompression surgery to remove the disc material which was compressing his spinal cord.
Freddie started therapy via video consultation (due to the Covid situation) a couple of weeks after surgery to help with his rehab. He had minimal use of his hind limbs at this stage, with no conscious proprioception (awareness) of them. His first couple of weeks therapy involved quite an intensive home plan consisting of lots of sensory, proprioceptive and gentle strengthening exercises.
In October 2020, a month after surgery, Freddie attended his first "in-person" session at the clinic. He was slowly getting stronger and was able to stand unassisted for a few seconds and able to use his hind limbs to walk if going very slowly, although due to the lack of awareness of his hind limbs he would walk with his hind paws knuckled over. He was unable to sit properly and struggled to move between sit, down and stand positions. He had a lot of compensatory muscle tightness and stiffness.
The two images below show the difference between how Freddie sat at his first session in clinic, and the improvement a week later when he was able to sit more normally.
Freddie attended weekly physiotherapy sessions consisting of class IV laser therapy, pulsed electromagnetic field therapy, massage and passive stretches, followed by gentle active proprioceptive and strengthening exercises.
Below you can see one of his exercises: supported step up onto a balance wedge.
At two months post surgery, we added the hydrotherapy treadmill into his treatment plan to help further strengthen his muscles and improve his gait pattern.
Freddie made good steady progress during his rehab and at the start of 2021 we transitioned to fortnightly sessions. Due to the extent of his surgery, Freddie is left with some proprioceptive deficits and an altered gait meaning if he walks too quickly or turns too fast he can wobble and lose his balance. But overall he is so much stronger, he is able to sit and move between positions in a controlled manner, and at a slow walk he is coordinated and stable.
We are very proud of how well Freddie has done in his rehab sessions. And we love his personality - all the way through he has been a cheeky happy chap. Such a lovely boy to treat. Well done Freddie.