April 2019

Pet of the Month: 
Giggs, an 11 month old French Bulldog

Giggs was referred to the SMART Clinic after having surgery on his spine. Giggs’ owners noticed he was walking abnormally and he became unable to jump on the sofa and began to have problems with incontinence. He was referred to Langford Neurology Department for investigations. He was diagnosed with a diverticulum in the thoracic spine (T10), this is a cyst that grows within the spinal column. After close monitoring for two weeks, and with his condition deteriorating the decision was made for Giggs to have surgery. Giggs recovered well from his procedure and attended the SMART clinic shortly after discharge for his initial assessment

Giggs was fully ambulatory at his first appointment, however hindlimb paresis and ataxia (lack of control) was noted and his gait was stiff and stilted. Being such a young dog, at only 8 months old, it was essential for us to improve, and ideally normalise Giggs’ gait to give him the best chance of a really good long-term functional mobility. Although able to get himself around, if not corrected, a poor movement pattern could contribute to additional musculoskeletal or motion problems in the future. After his initial assessment Giggs was recommended proprioceptive exercises to improve sensory awareness, neuromotor control and accuracy of foot placement in both hindlimbs. We were also aiming to improve Giggs’ thoracolumbar spinal flexibility and increase his abdominal core stability and control. Giggs initially attended the SMART Clinic on a weekly basis to give us a really good opportunity to assist him in his initial recovery. After surgical procedures or traumatic events, it is usually essential for us to see patients as soon as possible to start rehabilitation.

Giggs has made an excellent recovery in the time he has been attending the SMART Clinic. At each appointment, we assess his progress, and his home exercises are progressed as his condition improves. Treating puppies can be more challenging, as often for owners keeping them on a rest program and incorporating therapeutic exercises can be challenging for young dogs that want to be out running on the beach all day! We understand how difficult this can be and try to assist all our owners with young dogs in tailoring their treatment plan to keep their exercises fun and achievable and aim to assist owners with suggestions on helping to keep their minds occupied while their bodies heal.

Giggs is now able to run, jump, enjoy time on the beach, and is back to being able to revel in all of the fun of being a puppy. Giggs was nominated to be Pet Of The Month by Alice, who felt his strong drive and motivation to recover and his owners dedication to his treatment plan meant he deserved this recognition for their hard work. Well done Giggs!!