September 2017

Pet of the Month: 
Honey Blight 5 Year 4 Month Old Female Neutered JRT

Honey was first referred to the Smart Clinic back in March of this year after being diagnosed with an acute low volume disc extrusion at the level of L2/3, following a high speed collision with another dog. At the time of diagnosis Honey was non-ambulatory and her bladder function needed to be monitored, and her bladder occasionally manually expressed.

At the time of presentation at the Smart Clinic Honey was able to sit up but was not able stand without support. When supported, she would lean forward over her shoulders into a ‘handstand’ position. Her owner reported that Honey had passed small amounts of urine and her bladder was empty at the time of her examination. Honey was very anxious, tense and avoidant of being handled initially but settled during the course of the consultation.

During examination at this first appointment there were found to be numerous areas of muscular tension present, particularly through the forelimbs and abdomen. The spinal reflexes were normal in both hind limbs, but proprioceptive placement was absent. During this first visit Honey displayed no voluntary movement or initiation of ambulation in either hind limb.

We started Honey on a rehabilitation programme aiming to ease muscular tension through the forelimb and abdominal musculature (as well as her hindlimbs) to facilitate supported standing initially. We also prescribed home exercises aiming to stimulate the return of her neurological function. Honey initially attended the clinic twice weekly so we could better target these aims and allow for a more intensive rehabilitation programme to be instigated.

Following only the first few weeks of treatment Honey was able to support herself when standing with minimal assistance from her owners. She displayed very slight voluntary movement in both her hind limbs with an occasional voluntary tail wag also being observed. During assisted walking, Honey was also able to initiate ambulation with both hind limbs voluntarily, although she was still not able to place her back feet correctly. Honey was urinating voluntarily and regularly at home

At this point we adjusted Honey’s rehabilitation programme aiming to improve her ability to initiate an ambulatory gait pattern independently, with her owners continuing the home exercises aiming to stimulate the return of her neurological function in her pelvic limbs. We continued to see her twice weekly to allow for continuation of these initial improvements.

Over the coming month’s Honey continued to improve and before long regained good voluntary movement and control in both hind limbs. She was soon ambulatory and able to go for short walks without support. There were still some proprioceptive deficits present and some work to do on fine motor control but Honey was progressing with each visit to the clinic and we were able to then reduce the frequency of her treatments.

From then until now Honey has made great progress! She now attends the clinic once a month for maintenance treatment but is still continuing to improve. She is doing longer walks and even some hill work and is gaining more control of her movement. Honey is such a lovely little character and we are all thrilled with how far she has come this year, and have no doubt she will continue to improve into 2018! Well done Honey