December 2015

Pet of the Month: 
Bento Harding

Bento, a 6 Year 2 Month Old Male Neutered Miniature Dachshund, was first referred to the Smart Clinic in October of this year following Spinal Surgery performed at the beginning of October. On presentation to us Bento was unfortunately showing no signs of voluntary movement and many of his neurological reflexes remained negative thus not allowing for an overly positive prognosis.

We started an intense rehabilitation programme with Bento at the clinic that involved him staying with us as a day patient 3 times a week allowing us to have as much input as possible during the recovery period.

Over the first few weeks, though progress was slow, slight improvements could be seen. Bento was able to maintain a stand for about 30 seconds at a time with gentle trunk assistance and his owner had reported that he had seen some hindlimb movement at home. Unfortunately at this point he had also began to develop skin lesions on his back and groin so treatment had to be interrupted until it was concluded that the cause of these lesion was not infectious.

When treatment resumed a couple of weeks later Bento continued to show small signs of improvement. He had regained a degree of voluntary movement when supported with water in the treadmill or with gentle trunk support on dry land, though he fatigued quickly and could not achieve a functional gait pattern if left unassisted. He also appeared to be wagging his tail in response to stimulus. Unfortunately Bento’s neurological examination remained the same at this point and due to his slow progression, given the amount of input he had received, though hopeful that he would be able to start walking again unassisted our prognosis still had to remain guarded.

Little were we to know that over the coming weeks, and heading in to the festive period, Bento would suddenly switch on! He started being able to walk in the water treadmill with minimal assistance and correct ambulation and placement of each leg. He began taking independent steps on dry land and being able to rise from a sit to stand. The tension present in his forelimb musculature was also beginning to ease and Bento began to seem a lot more comfortable and happier in himself! He seemed to respond well to constant cheering and general positive attention to get him up and moving on his own accord!

Now heading in to the New Year Bento is able to get himself up in to standing and to walk on his own in a harness. Work is still needed to help coordinate the movement in his hind legs but he continues to improve and becomes stronger with every visit. Bento is such a little character that we love seeing at the clinic and we are so pleased that he has done so well in the last couple of weeks…heres to more of the same in 2016! Well done Bento smiley