January 2019

Pet of the Month: 
Floyd, an 18 month old Vizsla

Floyd, an 18 month old Vizsla was referred to the SMART Clinic in July 2018 after being diagnosed with Bilateral Hip Dysplasia. Floyd’s owners noticed he was walking strangely when he was about 4 months old, which progressed into lameness and reduced mobility on walks. Floyd’s primary vets took radiographs (x-rays) of his hips which showed he had Hip Dysplasia. Hip Dysplasia is a condition where the ball of the femur joint does not sit correctly in the pelvic socket. This can cause problems with mobility such as stiffness, lameness, difficulty climbing stairs or jumping and exercise intolerance. It can make the patient predisposed to developing arthritis in later life. It can also cause pain and discomfort. It is a genetic condition that requires life-long management.

At his initial appointment Floyd had a full medical examination and a comprehensive medical history was taken. Our initial goals with Floyd were to get him walking correctly and activating the right muscles to improve his mobility, progressing to building his muscle mass and endurance to help him with the long term management of his condition. Floyd was set a home exercise program. These greatly benefit patients in addition to the treatment we do here at the SMART clinic.

At the SMART clinic we always involve the owners when it comes to setting ‘outcome goals’ for our patients, as we believe it is very important to set achievable goals for our patients and understand that this varies enormously from patient to patient. For some of our elderly patients, maintaining a comfortable and functional mobility can tremendously improve their quality of life, and this would be a long term goal, whereas for our young and active, and agility dogs, returning to a much higher level of fitness and motion would be set as an achievable goal.  

Floyd's treatment includes acupuncture, water treadmilling, therapeutic exercises, treatment with our Chartered Physiotherapists and a home exercise and walking regime. Our home exercise programmes are individually set by our Vets and Physiotherapists and can start off with something as seemingly simple as teaching a patient to stand correctly, but this can be extremely challenging for some of our patients, however it is an essential key skill for functional mobility. As patients improve their exercises are reviewed and advanced. Floyd’s exercises now include pole stepping, walking slowly over steps and slow uphill walking.

Floyd's muscle mass, muscle tone and walking gait has improved significantly since he has started treatment at the SMART Clinic and we are so pleased that, as a young dog, we have been able to help him significantly improve his mobility and, as a result of that, his quality of life. Floyd is able to comfortably undertake 2 hours of exercise daily and his owners now feel his mobility no longer inhibits his daily activities in any way. Within 2 months of commencing treatment with us he had regained the ability to gallop instead of ‘bunny hopping’ at a run, which he had been doing previous to starting treatment.

We will continue to see Floyd as a regular patient to continue his treatment, but he has been nominated to be Pet Of The Month for his fantastic progress, and we hope he is a shining example that Hip Dysplasia in young dogs can be successfully managed. Well Done Floyd!