February 2015

Pet of the Month: 
Miah Appleby

Miah, a 7 Year 3 Month Old Female Neutered Springer Spaniel, was first referred to the Smart Clinic in December 2014 for treatment of her right hind lameness. She had previously had TTA surgery following right cranial cruciate ligament rupture in February 2013. She also had ongoing interdigital swelling between the 3rd and 4th digits of both forelimbs. The left was more painful of the two and at the time of her referral an appointment had been made to have this surgically addressed in January 2015 with a specialist Veterinary Surgeon.

At her first appointment it was obvious that Miah overloaded her forelimbs in movement and stance and her core stability was very poor. Some of her forelimb muscles were overdeveloped and much of her muscle groups from the forelimbs, through the back and into the abdominal muscles were sensitive to palpation. Her forelimb toes were splayed, especially the 3rd and 4th digits, which seemed to be associated with her forelimb loading pattern. From this initial assessment we also advised the owner about Miahs weight as she was carrying a few ‘extra’ kilograms, the loss of which would greatly help with the success of her rehabilitation.

A rehabilitation program was started with the primary aim of treatment being to provide relief of muscular compensation and discomfort so that work towards a more biomechanically efficient way of moving could be started. This work involved improving functional recruitment of the hind limb and core musculature which in turn would improve musculature ‘shock absorption’ and proprioception for the right hind in particular. This would also have the effect of taking the load off the forelimbs and hopefully help with the interdigital irritation seen. Alongside this we also started Miah on a diet plan to hopefully achieve the desired weight loss.

Within the first two weeks of treatment Miah had already started to show good progress. Her owner had noticed a marked improvement and had not seen the right hand lameness or observed the left fore lameness associated with interdigital swelling between the 3rd and 4th digits. On palpation much of the previous muscle tension had eased and Miahs core stability had much improved. She had also built muscle on her right hind. Due to her marked improvement at this point her owner had decided to delay the option of surgical treatment for her interdigital swelling to see how she progressed during her rehabilitation. At this stage Miah was still struggling to lose weight but this was re-discussed with the owner and after discovering she was still receiving a daily Dentastix treat, we were confident once this stopped weight loss would be achieved!

Now Miah is nearly four months in to her treatment, we have reduced her visits to once a month, and she no longer requires surgical assessment of her interdigital swelling as they this has markedly improved! Coupled with this she has also lost over a kilogram in weight! We are so pleased with the progress that Miah has made, she is such a lovely dog and we are so pleased that she has been able to avoid surgery! Well done Miah smiley