The problem

Heidi is a lovely 12 year old Jack Russell who developed a left hind lameness. Investigations by her veterinary surgeon revealed cranial cruciate ligament disease. Surgery was advised and Heidi had a lateral suture repair.

Two weeks post operation she attended for physiotherapy. At this time she was walking on 3 legs, occasionally placing her paw in standing, had marked wasting of her left hind muscles, and reduced joint mobility and proprioception of that limb. In addition, due to off-loading her hind limbs onto her forelimbs she had increased muscle tension in her forequarters.


The treatment

Initially treatment included massage, joint movements, limb stretches and weight transfer exercises. Her owner was shown how to do these techniques so that treatment could be continued at home between physiotherapy appointments.

Advice was also given regarding rest, controlled lead walks and home management so to ensure protection of the surgical procedure.

Four weeks post operation Heidi was making good progress, she was partially weight bearing on the affected limb, had increased muscle bulk and improved balance. At this stage she started underwater treadmill exercises.

Subsequent treatment sessions continued the manual therapy. Exercises, both in the treadmill and on dry land, were progressed to help restore joint mobility and muscle strength, and challenge her balance and proprioception.


The results

At 7 weeks post operation Heidi is showing minimal lameness at walk and trot. There is still some slight muscle wastage on the affected limb, but it is expected this will resolve with continued exercises. Heidi is now starting to build up her daily walks with the aim of returning to full function within 3 months of her surgery.

Heidi's owner's comment: "I was apprehensive initially, having no idea what to expect. However during the sessions with you, I was extremely impressed with your knowledge and understanding of my dog's problem ... cruciate ligament repair. You were very understanding and able to provide me with the knowledge for treatment which I could carry out following on from your therapy sessions. Heidi has improved literally in leaps and bounds and hopefully back to her normal self, (not bad for a dog that is 12years plus)".

George Storey