Case Studies

Read about how Running Free Animal Physiotherapy have improved the lives of our clients and watch the videos to see the changes for yourself. If your companion has an orthopaedic or neurological problem we are here to help

Jazzy Cat - Road Traffic Accident

Jazzy cat is a much loved family pet. Unfortunately a few weeks ago she had a road traffic accident. She broke her pelvis and the skin under her chin became detached during the accident. She was rushed to the team at All Pets Vet Care where she received life saving surgery. At 14 years of age it was touch and go as to whether she would recover from the surgery, but with the skill and care of the team at All Pets she pulled through. After surgery she was referred to Running Free Animal Physiotherapy for post operative rehabilitation. When she first arrived for physiotherapy the muscles in her back legs had severely diminished, particularly in her left leg.  Jazzy was unable to stand on her left hind leg and couldn’t walk. In order to stimulate muscle growth Jazzy had electro-stimulation therapy. Rubber pads are placed on the skin and tiny electric shocks are sent to the muscles, this makes them contract and increases muscle strength and size. 

The skin graft under Jazzy’s chin was very delicate and the vets were worried that the skin may break down and die.  The vets used Manuka honey on the wound to prevent infection and to help with healing. Red light was used in the physiotherapy sessions to help promote the growth of new skin cells.

Because Jazzy was very weak in her back legs she was using her front legs to pull herself along. This meant that her shoulder and fore limb muscles were working extra hard. Due to this Jazzy developed soreness and muscle spasm in these areas. Ultrasound therapy and massage were used to reduce muscle spasm and reduce pain in these areas. 

Jazzy wasn’t very coordinated in her back legs, due to some nerve damage caused by the accident. So time was spent both in the physiotherapy session and by Jazzy’s owners at home to stimulate the nerves in her hind legs and paws and to do exercises to re-educate her muscles so that she learnt to walk in a more normal fashion.

Over a period of several weeks Jazzy has become stronger, she is now moving around well at home and enjoying time in the garden. Jazzy will continue to have physiotherapy to help improve her strength and coordination, but she really is one amazing cat! 

You can see Jazzy's progress in the video below.

Gus - Nerve Damage

Gus is a 12 year old springer spaniel, he was referred to Running Free Animal Physiotherapy because he was showing signs of nerve damage. At the end of April 2017 his condition became very serious. His owners had started reporting that he was starting to slip and fall over at home and within a few days he was unable to push himself up into a standing position, he became very unstable on his legs and was unable to correct his foot position. In discussion with the treating veterinary surgeon Gus’ owners decided not to go for surgery. Running Free Animal Physiotherapy  worked very closely with Gus’ vets and a programme of intensive physiotherapy was started. 

On examination Gus was shown to have limited feeling in his hind legs and paws, he was unable to correct knuckling (where the top of the paw is placed on the ground) which indicated that Gus no longer had conscious control over his feet, but he did show pain reaction signs, which suggested  that the nerve pathways were still intact. The physiotherapy programme consisted of the use of ultrasound therapy, red light therapy, pulsed electromagnetic field therapy and massage to reduce pain, improve blood flow, reduce inflammation and muscle spasm. The muscles in the hind limbs were activated by the use of electrostimulation, which sends tiny electric currents through the skin to stimulate the muscles to contract, this helps to stop muscle wastage and can be used to build more muscle. The stimulation of the muscles also helps to promote the feedback systems to the nerves, keeping lines of communication open. Exercises were also performed to increase strength and balance. Within a couple of weeks Gus’ condition had stabilised and at three weeks improvement was seen in strength and coordination. Gus is now able to push himself up to stand and is walking again, although he looks a little uncoordinated. Gus is still on the road to recovery but the combined effects of physiotherapy, biology and determination from Gus have bought him a long way.

To see Gus' progress see the video at the bottom of the page.

Orlagh - Limb Deformation

Orlagh is a 5 year old greyhound, she was referred to Running Free Animal Physiotherapy, by her vet at Fenton Veterinary Centre, with lameness due to front limb malformation and a shoulder injury which had been slow to heal. Orlagh’s front legs are different lengths and one of her wrists is very weak and bends inwards towards her body. During Orlagh’s first physiotherapy session gait analysis and hands on palpation showed that her stride length was short in both the front and back legs and her right hind leg swung out to the side. Her front paws were weak and toes were flattened. Orlagh had pain and spasm in her shoulder and spinal muscles and her hind legs were difficult to stretch out. Most of these effects were due to compensatory issues caused by Orlagh moving her weight from her weaker front legs onto her back legs. This transference of weight from one area to another leads to extra strain, which can lead to stress and injury in sites away from the initial problem. Since surgery had been ruled out previously by a specialist vet, physiotherapy was decided as a course of action. A physiotherapy programme was designed for Orlagh. The aim was to reduce the muscle spasm in the shoulders and along her back; to improve hind limb range of motion and to strengthen the fore limbs. Orlagh had weekly physiotherapy and her owners were given some exercises to do at home to improve balance, strength and coordination. Orlagh was uneven in her muscles when physiotherapy started but over the last few weeks her muscles have grown and evened out, her left shoulder muscles grew from 21 cm to 26 cm and now match the muscles on her right shoulder. Her hind limb muscles have also grown in size. Over a period of a few weeks Orlagh’s owners noticed that she was less lame and she had started running more. Now she is running on the beach and enjoying  life. Orlagh will continue to have physiotherapy to help with the problems of having a deformity in her front legs and the associated compensatory issues, to keep her Running Free.

To see Orlagh's progress see the video at the bottom of the page.

Pippa - Intervertebral Disc Disease

Pippa is a 6 year old Jack Russel terrier, in February 2017, she jumped off the sofa. After a few minutes it was obvious to her owners that there was something seriously wrong as she was unable to stand on her back legs or walk, she was just dragging herself along with her front legs. Pippa was rushed to her vet (All Pets Vet Care in Milford Haven), where tests were run and intervertebral disc disease was diagnosed.

The intervertebral discs sit between the vertebrae of the spine and act as shock absorbers. The discs are made up of a soft centre and a tough fibrous outer. Sometimes the discs can dry out which makes them brittle which can allow the soft centre to escape, a little like squeezing the jam out of a jam doughnut. This leaks into the spinal canal, reducing the space available for the spinal cord, squashing and damaging the nerves which run through the spine. In Pippa’s case the nerves which controlled the hind legs were damaged.

The team at All Pets Vet Care gave Pippa pain relief and started laser therapy to help reduce the inflammation in Pippa’s spine. Three days later Pippa started physiotherapy with Running Free Animal Physiotherapy. Pippa was also referred to a specialist referral centre to have spinal surgery.

Pippa was seen for physiotherapy 3 times a week for the first 2 weeks, with laser therapy on alternative days. It was very obvious from the very first session that Pippa was a very single minded dog and was determined to get back on her feet. Within a week, Pippa had started to push herself back up onto her feet and after 2 weeks she was walking again, although she was a little uncoordinated. She had made such great progress that the operation was cancelled. After 10 weeks of physiotherapy she was running around at home and enjoying life again!

To see Pippa's progress see the video at the bottom of the page.

Lucy - muscle soreness

Lucy is a 10 year old Lurcher, her owners had noticed that she wasn’t enjoying exercise like she used to, she was getting slower and she was no longer running with their other dog. They went to see their vet who did some tests, which showed she was suffering some pain along the lower part of her spine and she wasn’t fully weight bearing on her left hind leg. However no significant orthopaedic problems were detected and Lucy was referred for physiotherapy to Running Free Animal Physiotherapy.

Hands on palpation and gait analysis showed that Lucy had reduced muscle in her back legs as she wasn’t fully weight bearing on them. There was also a reduced range of motion in the hind limbs and muscle spasm in the muscles that ran along her spine and within the shoulder muscles. The spasm and pain along the spine and shoulder muscles were thought to be due to Lucy moving her weight forwards onto her front legs, this meant that these muscles were involved in stabilising the spine, shoulders and front legs putting extra strain on both the muscles and the joints. Lucy had weekly physiotherapy during which physiotherapy equipment along with massage and stretching were used to reduce pain, inflammation and muscle spasm and to improve hind limb movement and weight bearing. Lucy’s owners also did exercises at home to help improve hind limb muscle mass and weight bearing. As Lucy’s problems had been chronic (signs had been showing for a year or so) it  took a few sessions before Lucy’s owners started to see a change in Lucy’s condition. However after about 4 sessions Lucy’s owners started to report that she was walking further and had even run voluntarily. As Lucy’s condition improved physiotherapy sessions were spaced to two weeks apart. By session 12 Lucy’s hind limb muscles had increased by 4 cm,  she was exercising normally and enjoying time off lead running and going on long walks on holiday.

To see Lucy's progress see the video at the bottom of the page.

Adventurer - nerve damage

Earlier this year Adventurer, a 10 year old Border Terrier jumped off the sofa, this had never caused any issue before, but this time he yelped. His owner soon realised there was a major problem as he was unable to walk properly, so he was rushed to the vets at All Pets Vet Care. The vets did diagnostic tests but couldn't find the cause, however due to the symptoms and the way the problem had started, intervertebral disc disease was suspected. Intervertebral may occur when the shock absorbing pads that sit between the vertebrae breakdown, allowing disc material to leak into the vertebral canal. This reduces the space available for the spinal nerves which may cause damage to the central nervous system, which can lead to paralysis.

The vets gave Adventurer anti inflammatory pain medication and he had a set of laser treatments to try to reduce the amount of inflammation that was present within the spinal canal. After three weeks the inflammation in the spine had reduced and the feeling had started to return, with Adventurer starting to stand. Adventurer was still very weak and uncoordinated and so he was referred to Running Free Animal Physiotherapy for further treatment. On examination Adventurer (or Adi to his friends) was found to be weaker on his right hind, which had greater nerve damage. Adi had pain and muscle spasm in his shoulders and along his back, this was thought to be because these areas were taking extra weight and the muscles were helping to stabilise the joints.

Over a period of several weeks Adi had physiotherapy to help improve the feeling and strength in his back legs, and to reduce the compensatory effects along the spine and into the shoulders. By the end of the 12th session Adi had improved in his exercise tolerance, and was much stronger (if still a little uncoordinated), the muscle in the right leg had built up and now matched the size of the left leg. Adi even managed to join his Border Terrier pals for a walk up Pen Y Fan. Thanks to the help of the team at All Pets Vet Care, Adi’s dedicated owner and Running Free Animal Physiotherapy  Adi is now ready for some more Adventures.    

To see Adi's progress see the video at the bottom of the page.