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  • sophiesaberi


Barney is a 10 ½ year old springer x poodle, he is a happy little dog and his favourite things are tennis balls, swimming, his mum and his mums roast dinner left overs!

Barney has hip dysplasia and had TPLO surgery in 2019 for a ruptured cruciate ligament, he also has an endocrine condition 'cushings' (hypercorticolism) so the combination of all these means he has very poor muscle mass and resulted in a poor gait and weak transitions ie standing from a seated position.

Barney’s owner manages his conditions with allopathic medicines, limiting his ball play to water only, careful exercise and hydrotherapy.

Hip dysplasia is an acquired condition where the ball and socket joint of the hip becomes malformed and so there is poor congruity. There are different degrees of severity, some can be medically managed, others require total hip replacements or femoral head osteotomy surgery to remove the head of the femur and alleviate the pain. Fortunately, Barney has not required surgery for his hips but will inevitably become arthritic.

Cruciate disease is a gradual degenerating condition of the cranial cruciate ligament in the stifle (knee joint). It keeps the joint stable by controlling the amount of translation and rotation of the tibia (in the lower leg) with the femur (in the upper leg) during motion. The cruciate can tear due to trauma but it typically degenerates gradually because the joint angles are atypical and put too much strain on the fibres and it eventually ruptures.

TPLO (Tibial Plateau Levelling Osteotomy) is the most commonly used surgery to correct the joint angles thus taking pressure off the ligament and stabilising the joint.

Cushings disease is caused by too much cortisol being released by the body (hyperadrenocorticism) resulting in several symptoms including muscle wasting and weakness and lethargy. It is medically managed with a drug which reduces the production of the hormone and is monitored with blood tests.

How hydrotherapy is helping Barney

Barney was initially swimming at a different pool but came to Forest Edge so we could start him in the water treadmill and provide more controlled specific limb and joint movements while giving him the support he required.

We measured Barneys limbs on his first visit and he attended weekly, we remeasured his limbs at regular intervals; after 6 sessions all of his limbs had made improvements, his right fore had improved by a significant 5cm, his left hind 4cm and his right hind 5cm.

After 10 sessions he had improved even more and were almost symmetrical;

Left fore Right fore Left hind Right hind

Session 1 22cm 19cm 25.5cm 24cm

Session 10 25cm 25.3cm 31cm 32cm

After 13 treadmill session we moved Barney to the swimming pool as his gait had improved and muscle mass had become more symmetrical. We are now working on improving the muscle mass further and providing more strength to support his joints, off loading any concussive forces and improving his range of motion.

He is loving being able to play with his tennis balls again just as long as mum joins in!

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