October 2018

Pet of the Month: 
Whiskey, a 2yo Alaskan Malamute

Whiskey was referred to the SMART clinic in June 2018 following surgery to repair his cruciate ligament in his left hind limb. Whiskey had the surgery performed in January, but his Surgeon was concerned he wasn't doing as well as would be expected after the operation, and was still suffering from pain, lameness and was walking abnormally. Whiskey's Surgeon referred him to the SMART clinic for rehabilitation and physiotherapy.

At Whiskey's initial appointment, as well as a full examination and thorough medical history discussion, Whiskey had a gait evaluation using our Gait4 equipment. The Gait4 is a long mat our patients are walked and then trotted along, that has sensors and pressure pads embedded within it that analyse the patients gait and can help our vets monitor patients progress by measuring stride length and walking pattern. It is one of the diagnostic tools that we use at most patients’ first appointment, then patients can have repeated tests performed weeks or months later to help monitor changes and improvements in their condition.

We were concerned with Whiskey's lack of stability over his left hind leg, and that the leg seemed to have a bowed appearance giving him a walk that was very abnormal in appearance, however there were no radiographic changes to explain this. Whiskey was lame at his initial appointment and also had some discomfort and pain over his back and hind limbs.

Whiskey was started on a rehabilitation program with the aim of helping to stabilise his stifle, improve the pattern of his gait by improving the muscle strength in his hindlimbs, and activating the correct muscles to help normalise his walking pattern.

Whiskey comes to us as a day patient. This means he stays with us for a full day and has multiple treatments, to allow us to more intensely target improvements in his static and dynamic mobility.  In between his appointments Whiskey is set home exercises to do by our team of Veterinary Surgeons and Chartered Physiotherapists, and advised on an appropriate walking regime to support these improvements at home.

Whiskey was voted by staff to be Pet Of The Month because of the dramatic change we have seen in his approach to his rehabilitation treatment. To begin with, he was very reluctant to work with us with the treatment and exercises we were asking him to do, and at 60kg he certainly gave us a bit of a challenge!! We worked very hard with Whiskey to make the exercises achievable and fun and rewarded him for his good behaviour. The change in Whiskey' attitude, as a result of the dedication of SMART Clinic staff to his treatment, has been remarkable and he now bounces through the door to see us. He loves the routine he now has here as a day-patient, treating us to a waggy tail and a chat throughout the day.

Whiskey's condition continues to improve, thanks to the commitment of his owner to his treatment, and he has become a firm favourite amongst all our staff. Well done Whiskey!