July 2017

Pet of the Month: 
Orpheus Swan 17 Year 7 Month Old Male Domestic Short Haired Cat

Orpheus has only been attending the Smart Clinic since the beginning of June this year but we wanted to share his story-it’s not very often we meet a cat that tolerates the water treadmill!

Orpheus was referred to us after a period of being quite unwell in himself for the previous 8 months or so. He had needed repeated visits to the vet and had become quite picky with his eating. His owner reported that he had good days and bad days with issues on bad days including general mobility, inability to balance to pass faeces and unwillingness to eat. On these days, his owner often had to help him arrange his limbs in position so he could sleep.

At first presentation  the main issue that was detected was that Orpheus had a large amount of generalised muscle loss and though passive range of motion at all joints was not resented, and a good range of motion at most joints was elicited, Orpheus was reactive to palpation of his back and abdominal muscles. He showed delayed proprioception in both his hind limbs, and a reduction in flexion and extension through the hind limbs as he walked around the consult room at this first appointment.

Orpheus tolerated initial treatment really well and we planned to see him for weekly sessions to see how he responded over the course of a few weeks.  We also advised his owners on changes they could make at home to aid his treatment at the clinic.

Orpheus has now been attending the clinic for 7 weeks and is doing really well with weekly treatment. In the first few weeks his owner felt that his enthusiasm for life was returning and he was maintaining movement and muscle mass well. He had become much more engaged with everyday life again.

He had a little set back recently where he seemed to lose proprioceptive awareness again in his back legs, particularly on the left hand side.  It was at this point that we decided to try adding water to his treadmill sessions-fortunately, though there is some vocal disapproval to this new treatment regime, Orpheus has tolerated this really well and it has had a very positive effect on his gait pattern, which appears to be carrying over into his everyday activities.

Alongside the treatments at the clinic Orpheus’ owner has also been very engaged with his at-home exercises, and has come up with several novel ways to convince Orpheus to participate. This is proving effective in maintaining his quality of life.

It is not easy to get a cat to do what you want it to do, and not what it wants to do, but together Orpheus and his owner are managing his treatment brilliantly! Keep up the good work Orpheus!