September 2018

Pet of the Month: 
Alfie Dendle 6 Year 3 Month Old Domestic Short Haired Feline

We are all so thrilled with how far Alfie has come since starting treatment with us back in May of this year, especially considering the nature of his injuries.

He was referred to us after being involved in a suspected road traffic accident in the April of this year in which he fractured the right side of his pelvis and sustained a left sided sacroiliac luxation. Alfie also sustained superficial wounds to his face and extremities and a chipped canine tooth, but he did not appear to have suffered any internal soft tissue injuries.

We saw Alfie for his first consultation following surgery to repair these injuries. Alfie recovered well from his operation but remained paretic in both hind limbs. Sciatic nerve damage was also suspected in both hind limbs.

At his first appointment with us Alfie was non-ambulatory on his hind limbs but was able to sit up and turn himself over in lateral and sternal recumbency. He showed voluntary but poorly directed movement in both hind limbs. Care had to be taken when handling Alfie. When he was supported in a standing position, he was able to partially weightbear through the left and right back leg, but he knuckled on both back paws. He remained very weak on both back legs.

On palpation, Alfie was comfortable overall when lying down, though he was very reactive to palpation of the muscles through his back. Gentle direct palpation over the pelvic region was reasonably well tolerated and Alfie’s surgical scars appeared to have healed well. The muscles in his hindlimbs were moderately atrophied and on neurological evaluation, proprioceptive paw correction was absent in both hind limbs. However, the rest of his neurological exam was normal.

Following this initial assessment, we instigated a treatment plan with Alfies owner that was initially aimed at alleviating musculoskeletal and post-operative discomfort in his back and facilitating neuromotor recovery to restore an ambulatory gait pattern. We recommended home therapeutic exercises for his owner to complete with him, to support the treatments at the clinic, and started seeing Alfie for weekly appointments.

During these first few weeks of treatment although progress was slow, he made definite steps towards recovery.

During the initial weeks after his first appointment Alfie became increasingly resistant to treatment, which appeared to be related to significant discomfort, especially over his hindquarters, as would be expected. He was also still very tense and sore through his back muscles and when he had severe muscle spasms became very difficult to handle.

As such we introduced further pain relief medication to his analgesia regime and this seemed to be significantly beneficial to Alfie. He was then much happier in himself and far more amenable to handling. This allowed us to work more with him on his rehabilitation, and we were able to increase the intensity of his exercises gradually with each visit.

At this point Alfie also started attending the clinic as an in-patient on occasion, which allowed us to do far more work with him in short spurts, as he tended to fatigue rapidly. He is also became more cooperative for his home exercises and thus we were able to extend these, in line with his progress. His owner’s commitment to these exercises and his treatment schedule have been vital to how well he has been able to progress. It is far more difficult to get a cat to cooperate with these exercises than their canine counterparts!

Now, Alfie continues to attend the SMART Clinic on a regular basis and we are so pleased with his ongoing progress.

Alfie is now placing his left hind foot correctly and walking well. His right hind limb continues to be the weaker, but it has improved greatly over the last few weeks. He is beginning to recondition the muscles of his hind limbs, which will further enhance his recovery.

Alfie has not been needed to be crate rested at all since the beginning of August and has been allowed supervised outdoor access. We have also been able to start tapering off his analgesic medication with no adverse effect to date.

While there is still work to be done to make sure Alfie can sustain a normal walking pattern and correct foot placement in both hindlimbs, we are delighted with his recovery to date.     

“Slow and steady” has very much been our motto with Alfie! He has at times been a challenging  boy to treat, but his case has been one of the most rewarding because of how far he has come and the commitment his owners have shown.  We are hoping we will soon be able to sign him off!

Well done Alfie