June 2015

Pet of the Month: 
Barney Williams

Barney, a 4 Year 7 Month Old Male Persian, first started coming to the Smart Clinic in January this year with a history of partial faecal incontinence of several months duration.

At his first appointment his owner reported that he would deposit small nuggets of formed faeces around the house in addition to what he deposited in his litter tray. His use of the litter tray had not changed and neither had he started to spray or mark around the house. There was no history of any recent physical trauma such as a tail traction injury and his social group was stable with no identifiable stressors in the home environment that could coincide with the onset of this behaviour. His owners reported that his urinary continence was unaffected.

On questioning his owner further during this first visit it did appear that Barney had a very sedentary life and was reluctant to walk or play in the house and rarely went out. They had also noticed that he had become less inclined to jump and often appeared “clumsy”. They also reported that he had become very resistant to grooming and being handled around his lower back region.

On examination during his first consultation Barney appeared to ambulate normally and adopted a normal tail carriage. He did not mind manipulation of his tail and its innervation appeared normal. Anal sphincter tone also appeared normal as did perineal sensation. Only slight discomfort could be detected in certain areas surrounding the hind limbs during examination although hind limb muscle mass and tone was extremely poor and Barney did appear to struggle to remain standing for any significant period of time.

From this initial examination it was thought that, in the absence of any neurological deficits, the problem may be due to an inability to posture for sufficient time to complete the process of defacation. Alongside the very poor muscle development in his hind limbs and lack of activity this could in part account for the problem.

A rehabilitation programme was therefore started aiming to strengthen Barneys hind limbs and improve his mobility. This involved him coming to the clinic once a week for acupuncture and treadmill sessions.

Barney started to show improvements from the initial appointment. During the first two weeks of treatment, with work at home to develop his mobility and further improve both his posture and endurance, he was progressively more mobile and only demonstrated one episode of faecal incontinence. He was also much more tolerant of grooming and no longer reacted to being handled around his backend.

It wasn’t long before we were able to reduce the frequency of his visits to once a fortnight as Barney continued to improve. He was more mobile at home and had started to jump up on things like the bed and the sink, which had previously stopped. He only showed faecal incontinence twice during this period and at each visit his muscle mass in his hind limbs had improved and there was less muscular tension.

Now, Barney attends the clinic once every 3 months and is doing extremely well! Although he has never been keen during his exercise sessions in the clinic or at home, with lots of encouragement needed, he has really responded well to the treatments. There has been no dropping of faeces noted and he is jumping and playing well; often going outside exploring.

Barney is such a lovely cat and has always been a pleasure to see at the clinic, we are so pleased with how well he has done. It is not the usually type of case we see here at the clinic but we are so glad he has responded so well. Well done Barney smiley