six-year-old Cockapoo stricken by severe arthritis causing lameness in her back legs is now enjoying a new lease of life after 18 months of non-surgical therapy at a pioneering vets.

The much-loved family pet, called Susie, has responded superbly to an innovative programme of laser therapy, hydrotherapy and physiotherapy at Linnaeus-owned Greenside Veterinary Practice in the Scottish Borders.

Greenside vet Suzanne Bendall and rehabilitation expert Sofia Roy Sanabra combined their skills to deliver a remarkable turnaround in Susie’s condition, much to the delight of her relieved owners.

Suzanne explained: “We first saw Susie in mid-June 2021 due to lameness in her back legs.

“She was initially prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) drugs and recommended a course of physiotherapy.

“A physical examination highlighted marked muscle atrophy (wastage) in both shoulders, trigger points along her back muscles, plus tenderness and pain reaction in both iliopsoas (groin muscles) on palpation and on extension of both hips.

“Subsequent diagnostic investigation also confirmed bilateral hip dysplasia and highlighted the early signs of lumbosacral disease (LSD).”

Physiotherapist Sofia continues the story, adding: “The owners decided to manage Susie’s care conservatively and we started weekly hydrotherapy to continue to build muscle strength, especially to support the hip and improve the mobility of her joints.

“We also used our Class IV Laser on her shoulders and the whole of her spine and hips to target the discomfort, followed by massage on her thoracolumbar (mid spine) area.

“Susie’s lead walks were reduced to 20 minutes, three times a day, and any explosive activity was discouraged to avoid aggravating the symptoms.

“Susie’s owners were also given a tailored home exercise programme to implement to improve muscle suppleness and help relieve the tension in her shoulders and back.”

There was a swift improvement in Susie’s condition and she was soon able to comfortably walk up to six miles a day and, after two months, was allowed off the lead to enjoy her walks normally.

Sofia continued: “By October 2021, there were no concerns about her physical examination and she had gained muscle in both hind limbs.

“Susie’s hydrotherapy treatment was reduced to monthly sessions, a trial period without the NSAIDs was allowed and, after two months, Susie was happy off the lead and living her best life.

“We continued to keep an eye on her mobility, as we knew the natural progression of the disease could cause flare ups in the future, but her progress had been so good we were happy to just see her every six months.”

Sofia’s fears of a flare-up were proved correct in April 2023 but, once again, Susie responded almost immediately to therapy.

Sofia said: “A six-week course of weekly physiotherapy sessions, restricted exercise and a home exercise plan were introduced and we were soon back on track.

“The owners also raised a concern of the long-term effects of NSAID’s so, after another vet visit with my colleague Suzanne, a monthly injection of Librela was offered alongside the monthly physiotherapy sessions.

“Susie quickly recovered a good level of comfort and is now living pain free and is full of beans after 18 months of on-going care.

“Returning to Greenside for regular physiotherapy sessions is going to help her avoid any future flare ups, which will ensure a good quality of life for her.”

Greenside Veterinary Practice has clinics in St Boswells and Jedburgh and offers bespoke animal care across the Scottish borders. For more information, visit www.greensidevetpractice.co.uk.

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