December 2016

Pet of the Month: 
Dixie Smith

We first met Dixie, 6 Year 9 Month Old Female Neutered Miniature Dachshund, at the Smart Clinic back in April this year. She was referred to us for post-operative rehabilitation following spinal surgery in February. Before surgery was undertaken Dixie had lost hind limb conscious pain perception and was paraplegic. Following surgery although her pain perception had returned she was still not showing any signs of walking.

At her first appointment with us although her owner had noted that she seemed stronger at home, particularly on the right hind, she was non-ambulatory and showed very little in the way of hind limb voluntary movement. However when supported she would show some hind limb voluntary movement and she was able to stand.

On examination at this first appointment she showed high tone in her triceps muscles, reflecting her front loading in the weeks following surgery. There was some discomfort on palpation of her back and hind limb atrophy was noted, with this being more dramatic on the right. The withdrawal and patella reflexes were present in the hind limbs but the perineal reflex was not convincing and her owner was unsure as to whether she had urinary control. She tended to urinate whenever lifted.

We started a rehabilitation programme aimed at developing a functional walking pattern. We advised on proprioceptive awareness exercises and passive stretching that her owner to do at home to support our treatments at the clinic and we initially starting seeing her twice a week as an inpatient to help maximise the treatment impact.

From this starting point Dixie was a proper little character-never one to miss out on anything that was happening at the clinic and always letting us know when she thought she should get involved! We worked her very hard during these early stages and Dixie showed encouraging improvement within even the first few weeks. She had started walking, albeit still needing work with her control and proprioception, and the discomfort in her back had eased. She had also shown some control of urination while in the clinic….apart from whenever she was excited about going home!

We continued to see her twice weekly for a few weeks before dropping her treatment frequency to once a week. Dixie continued to show steady signs of improvement and was soon able to walk on her own unassisted and had begun to gain more control over her general movement.

Since July Dixie has come on leaps and bounds! She is now only attending the clinic once a month for appointments and is stronger at each visit. She is coping really well at home and is now back to joining her owner on walks along the canal! She still has ‘excitable accidents’ whenever she is picked up from the clinic but overall we couldn’t be more pleased with how far she has come! She is definitely a force to be reckoned with! Well done Dixie smiley