November 2015

Pet of the Month: 
Bella Richardson

Bella, a 7 Year Old Female Yorkshire Terrier, first started coming to the Smart Clinic in June of 2014 with a suspected partial tear of her right cruciate ligament. She was improving well during her original rehabilitation programme but unfortunately during this original time with us she slipped on some flooring at home and this resulted in a full tear of her right cranial cruciate ligament. She was subsequently referred for surgery to address this in July 2014. Following surgery Bella initially recovered well and no lameness was seen until March of this year where again a right hindlimb lameness was evident. She was therefore assessed at the same orthopaedic centre as where surgery had been performed in the previous year and it was suspected that the recurring lameness was probably due to a strain or sprain. Bella was already improving with rest and anti-inflammatory treatment and it was hoped that continuing with his would be enough to address this minor setback. Unfortunately Bella did require further surgery to her right knee following this episode and was then re-referred to us for rehabilitation following this second surgery.

At her first appointment back with us in July of this year Bella had already started showing signs of improvement; her owners had only noted occasional lameness of the right hind at home. During her examination it was clear that Bella was favouring weight through her forelimbs and was holding quite a lot of tension through her muscles here. Her right hind limb muscles in contrast showed signs of atrophy and she also had mild sciatic pain through this limb.

We therefore started a new rehabilitation programme aimed at alleviating patterns of muscle tension and discomfort and at improving muscle function in the right hind. We continued with anti-inflammatory treatment at this stage with an aim to hopefully reduce this as Bella started to improve. We also re-started (as was addressed when Bella was first referred to us in 2014) a weight management programme with Bella to help her lose weight and improve her body condition score.

We started seeing Bella weekly initially and even within the first three weeks she showed pleasing progress. Her owners had managed to reduce the anti-inflammatory treatment without any obvious mal-effects and they had seen no right hind lameness at home though Bella did still seem to favour resting the limb in standing. On examination she was much less tense through the forelimb muscles and muscles in the right hind were continuing to build. She had also started to lose weight and her body condition was improving at each visit.

Over the following few weeks Bella continued to make steady progress. As such we started to increase the intensity of her work at the clinic on the treadmill and to give her more challenging exercises to support her progress at home. Her owners still reported no lameness at home and were actually able to completely stop her anti-inflammatory treatment with no adverse effects. She continued to build muscle in the right hind and was much stronger in general especially through her core muscles.

Now, less than 5 months after being re-referred Bella is able to do a full 20 minutes on the treadmill! She is coping well with off lead exercise at home and her owners now only report occasional skipping of her right hind at home. She is also continuing to maintain a healthier weight and body condition, which will hopefully continue to improve over the coming months.

Considering everything Bella has had to recover from in the last 12 months we are so pleased with the progress she has made. She is a lovely little character and we have really enjoyed getting her back on her little feet smileyWell done Bella!!