Jack - Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)

Jack is a 3year old smooth coated daschund. As a little dog, he often likes to feel involved with things going on up above him and therefore likes to jump up. The breed itself is also predisposed to spinal conditions due to the length of their back compared to that of their legs. Jack was cuddling up to his owner on the sofa one day and the postman dared to post some letters through the letter box, he subsequently jumped off the sofa and yelped on landing. He seemed fine immediately after, but the owner suspected this was when it all started. The following day he was extremely quiet and reluctant to move. The day after this, the owner came down to him in the morning and he was extremely wobbly, and his right hind leg was almost completely paralysed.


A few days later and he was taken to Willows Specialist Referral Service for an MRI, which diagnosed him with IVDD (intervertebral disc disease). He was operated on 7 days post initial incident to remove the extra disc material from the spinal space. The veterinary surgeon recommended that Jack had physiotherapy immediately post-surgery and once his stitches were removed he could then go onto having hydrotherapy also.


Most people do not know that physiotherapy is not all about massage and moving limbs around, but immediately after surgery there is a variety of machines physiotherapists use that can reduce the severity of the surgical wound site, assisting and speeding up repair. Also, the muscles around the surgical site can be mobilised to help and encourage movement.


An intense physiotherapy regime was started with daily visits initially and then biweekly visits. The immediate aims were to make Jack comfortable, his drugs helped but also pulsed electromagnetic therapy was used to aid pain relief. The next aim was to get Jack up and walking again as the injury had left him completely paralysed in his right hind and partially paralysed in his left hind. Each treatment he had massage, range of motion, stretching, electrotherapy (when appropriate) and strengthening/proprioceptive exercises. Over the weeks the feeling came back, his reflexes improved as did his strength and as Jack began to walk again.


When Jack went back to Willows Specialist Referral Service for a 6 week check-up they were truly amazed how mobile and fit he was considering the level of paralysis he was left with following his injury and subsequent operation. Jack has regular check-ups now with the team, and physiotherapy without a doubt has made an enormous difference to his very speedy recovery. He also continues with hydrotherapy once a month as routine to maintain his fitness and strength with Will Heslop at FitPaws www.fitpawshydrotherapy.co.uk


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