Our swimmers of the month for last 12 months - click on a month below
- October - 2021 - Stewie Fields
Stewie is an 8year old yellow Labrador Retriever who came to us in January this year. Stewie has severe osteoarthritis in multiple joints, including the hips, stifles (knees), elbows and feet. He was referred to a specialist who was amazed that Stewie could even walk or function at all. Along with pain relief, physiotherapy and hydrotherapy, it was recommended that his owner, Geoff, invested in a set of wheels to help support his weight, allowing him to exercise easily, maintain his muscle mass and mobility and reduce the amount of straining on his limbs.
Sarah (physiotherapist) saw Stewie in December 2020, at this point he was only managing to a walk a painful 500 yards and sitting for the majority of this, where up until September 2020 Stewie would walk around 5 miles per day.
Stewie’s human placed him on a diet with the help and advice from Joanne (our hydrotherapist with nutritional training) and commenced regular physiotherapy and weekly treadmill sessions. Along with his medication, Stewie has made remarkable progress and is now able to walk much further. Although osteoarthritis cannot be cured, it can be managed, and Stewie is a wonderful example of this. We look forward to his cheeky and chatty visits and of course, a good roll on the rug and towel dry after his session.
Well done Stewie!
- September - 2021 - Ben Rowbotham
Ben is a 14 years old Border Collie who began his treatment with us in January 2020 for help with his osteoarthritis, which affected his limbs and spine. Ben’s proprioception (the ability to know where his feet are in relation to the ground and space around them) has also been affected. Initially Ben needed help placing his feet in the underwater treadmill because he would knuckle his paws over with the inability to correct them. Slowly but surely this improved and eventually Ben was only requiring a small amount of support when walking. Unfortunately, due to COVID, Ben’s treatment was disturbed and since returning he has taken a few steps backwards and began to find his underwater treadmill treatment difficult, especially on his front legs as they take most of his weight now.
We have since moved Ben over into the hydrotherapy pool where he is completely non-weight bearing and his limbs can move freely. Initially Ben didn’t like the idea and would completely avoid eye contact and even a treat! Over the course of a few sessions Ben has come round to the idea of swimming, most likely after starting to feel the benefits of his tiring legs, and he has since begun walking himself up the ramp to get in the pool! Ben is the type of dog who can be easily offended, especially when it involves a towel dry, but he has been the sweetest boy and very compliant during his sessions.
Ben’s owners have also noticed a great difference since he was moved over to the pool and say he now even takes himself upstairs at home, something he has not done for years!
WELL DONE BEN xx
- August - 2021 - Blue Marshall
Blue is a just turned 10 years young German Shephard Dog. He began his rehabilitation with us in March 2021, starting with physiotherapy by Loren Pearson, a member of our team who is both a qualified Veterinary Physiotherapist alongside being a registered Canine Hydrotherapist. Blue suffered with chronic severe arthritis but had suddenly become extremely weak on his hind-limbs resulting in hind-limb paresis (partial paralysis) and ataxia (loss of coordination) in a very short space of time. This led to the vets diagnosing Blue with Degenerative Myelopathy, a condition very common in German Shepherd’s which affects their spinal cord, subsequently resulting in progressive loss of function of the hind-limbs. After starting with a daily home exercise plan devised by Loren, Blue began his hydrotherapy treatment on our underwater treadmill. This was the treatment plan chosen to target his poor proprioception (not knowing where he is placing his feet); reduced hind-limb muscle mass; reduced strength and lack of stability. When we first met Blue he was reluctant to leave the house to go for walks because of how extremely exhausting and difficult he found it, he would even struggle to balance himself when toileting.
Blue has taken to the underwater treadmill really well. Initially he needed lots of support in placing his feet because he was too weak, but slowly and surely he has improved significantly. Due to Blue’s improved balance, strength and coordination he is now able to toilet without falling over!!
Following regular physiotherapy and hydrotherapy treatment, and the dedication of Blue’s owner to implement the home management and exercises, Blue is now very keen and excited to go for walks again. He especially loves going to the caravan, which is his favourite place to be!
WELL DONE BLUE xx
- July - 2021 - Henry Webster
Henry is a handsome Golden Retriever who began his hydrotherapy treatment with us at 10 months of age in March 2021. It was following a walk off-lead which included lots of zoomies when Henry began to hold his right forelimb up. This did not settle and resulted in him having surgery to remove a bone fragment from his right elbow, where early onset of arthritis was also discovered.
Due to Henry having not used his right forelimb to bear his weight, his muscle on that leg wasted and made it more difficult for him to use it correctly. In addition, the bone damage caused to his right elbow resulted in osteoarthritic bone remodelling in that joint. This made it painful for Henry to bend his right leg, resulting in reduced movement.
Henry’s hydrotherapy treatment began in our underwater treadmill. The water level was above his elbow joint to allow the hydrostatic pressure created by the warm water to push blood and nutrients into the joint through increased circulation. The water level also reduced some of the weight taken from Henry’s body to encourage correct use of the leg when walking. This treatment was performed weekly until Henry had built his muscle back up and was able to use the forelimbs equally. In May 2021 this was achieved and Henry was transferred to the pool. Here Henry was a natural swimmer and absolutely adores this time going after a ball. Initially, Henry was petrified of the shower and would do his best to escape his pre and post-swim rinses, gradually over the weeks Henry has gained more and more confidence and now Jumps straight in the shower as fast as he can so he can get to the exciting part quicker!
Henry is dream to treat and still has pool sessions with us but they are now fortnightly, as Henry’s owners have noticed a remarkable improvement and report that he is no longer displaying lameness during or after exercise.
Well done Henry!! xx
- June - 2021 - Lenny Reynolds
Lenny is a very friendly and large 7 year old Rottweiler who joined us in February 2021 following decompression surgery for two affected intervertebral discs in his neck. This condition is more commonly known as ‘Wobblers’ and does exactly that by making them have a wobbly gait. Lenny has also had knee surgery on both hind legs in the past and has subsequent arthritis. When we initially met Lenny he had very little stability when he was standing as well as walking, even short periods of time, as he was very weak.
Lenny has been treated on the underwater treadmill as well as having physiotherapy treatment. We use the treadmill so that we can re-educate him to use his legs correctly whilst building up muscle and strength. Initially Lenny required lots of hands on support and had a delay in placing his hind limbs when walking. Over the course of his treatment this has become less and less.
Lenny’s walking has improved tremendously both on the underwater treadmill and on dry land and he clearly feels better for it after his sessions as he bounces around like a giant puppy!
Well done big guy!! xx
- May - 2021 - Sunshine Cormack
Sunshine, like his name, shine’s bright. He is a very special handsome 7 year old Golden Retriever who joined us for hydrotherapy treatment in November 2020. The referral to Aquavet was made following a diagnosis of Neuropathy, a condition affecting his central nervous system resulting in him being very wobbly on his legs.
Sunshine’s hydrotherapy treatment involves our underwater treadmill so that the belt helps tell Sunshine where his feet are. This stimulates the nerve pathways and also helps to increase muscle mass which will help to slow the progression of his condition. Sunshine has taken to the treadmill very well and enjoys having liver paste on the lick mat during his session.
Unfortunately, Sunshine also suffers with epilepsy and frequently has seizures which come in clusters when he is sleeping. Thankfully he recovers well and is back to his usual self relatively soon. Hydrotherapy has also increased Sunshine’s muscle and strength of his core, which has helped him lots with his stability following a period of cluster seizures.
Fantastic! Well done Sunshine!! xx
- 00 - 2021 - Daisy Holmes
Daisy is a very sweet golden Labrador Retriever who began her hydrotherapy treatment with us in September 2019, when she was having a very severe active flare up of arthritis, which affects both of her elbows. The chronicity of Daisy’s condition had lead the vets to suggesting long-term hydrotherapy and physiotherapy treatment to manage her debilitating condition, along with pain medication. We joked with Daisy’s owners that she is going to be a season ticket holder here in order to keep her in tip top condition!
Daisy presented so chronically lame on her first session that we needed a sling under her chest to support her forelimbs as she walked, because it was so difficult and uncomfortable for her to even manage a few steps. Daisy’s hydrotherapy treatment began mainly with just utilising the warmth of the water to soothe her aching joints and allow her to be completely non-weight bearing, so that the rest of her body which was compensating for her forelimb lameness could relax. Daisy’s sessions were very short because physically her body was incapable of exercising for any length of time. We have gradually built up the time she spends swimming in the hydrotherapy pool and combined with her physiotherapy treatment, we have a new dog!!
Daisy is so much more comfortable now and her lameness has mainly resolved – she still has days where it will play up slightly but nothing compared to the initial stages, but that is the nature of the condition. Daisy is capable now of trotting across the car park with bags of enthusiasm ready for her swim!! She has taken a huge liking to the Kong when swimming and enjoys her weekly bubble baths afterwards.
A HUGE well done to you Daisy xx
- March - 2021 - Roy Widdowson
Roy is a handsome 7 year old male Labrador. He began hydrotherapy treatment with us in the end of 2019 for help with his chronic, bilateral elbow condition resulting in severe arthritis. Initially Roy was extremely nervous of anything new to his routine, including meeting new people. As a result it took Roy a while to trust us and begin to enjoy his pool sessions.
Over a number of hydrotherapy sessions Roy began to slowly but surely trust us a little more and then all of the sudden the penny dropped for him! Roy now bolts through the door with an extremely happy waggy tail and big smiley face. He is very keen to get into the shower because he knows it means he is one step closer to the pool. Once on the ramp going up to the pool we have to use all our strength to hold him back so he enters the pool in a safe controlled manner and does not just launch himself in (this would be way more fun in Roy’s opinion). Once in the pool he loves to shower us with kisses on the resting ramp before and during his swimming.
Roy has come such a long way from the dog we first met and it is so rewarding to see how much he now enjoys his hydrotherapy treatment. However, Roy likes to only swim around the edges of the pool because this makes him feel safer, and a big no is to mention the word “sausage”. If anyone mentions this word when Roy is in the pool he will go crazy to try and get out to find his favourite food (as we found out one day!!). In terms of Roy’s orthopaedic condition, he is much more comfortable in general and on his walks now and is enjoying a happy life.
Well done Roy, we are so proud of how far you have come!
- February - 2021 - Domino Nesbeth
Domino is a sweet 5 year old male Cavapoo (Cavalier Spaniel X Poodle). He was referred to us in January 2020, following spinal surgery to treat a sudden onset of paralysis in his hind limbs, caused by intervertebral disc disease in his lower spine.
On initial assessment following surgery, Domino was very weak on his hind limbs and was unable to stand un-aided as his hind limbs would just sink. He just about managed to walk with the help of a pelvic sling which were nicknamed his space pants (they were metallic silver!!). Domino’s owners have been exceptionally compliant right from the start bringing him for regular hydrotherapy and physiotherapy and the patience and dedication from his owners has played a huge role in his successful rehabilitation.
Domino is such a pleasure to treat and sings us a lovely tune during his treatment unless he has a mouthful of sprats (they are his favourite!!). Domino has been treated on the underwater treadmill throughout to help regain a more normal gait pattern whilst strengthening his core and hind limbs to ensure his spine is well supported, and he has become a real pro on the treadmill now.
This lovely little dog has come such a long way from when we first met him and although he is still ongoing treatment to ensure we are always heading in the right direction and continuously promoting optimal recovery, he is enjoying an active life again.
Well done Domino xx
- January - 2021 - Paddy Baxter
Paddy is a gorgeous 12years old Boxer dog who was referred to us following cranial cruciate ligament surgery on his knee which he had injured. On top of this Paddy also has age related osteoarthritis, particularly in his fore limbs. The injury to his hind limb naturally caused Paddy to carry more weight through his forelimbs, aggravating his arthritis and causing significant multi-limb lames. His issues were predominantly right sided making it difficult for him to walk and stand equally.
Paddy is very nervous of water and his owners though we would have great difficulty getting him in the treadmill. However... Paddy is such a friendly people dog we are pretty sure that he would do anything you ask as long as you call him a good boy! With lots of reassurance and regardless of his nerves Paddy has got on with it week after week, and has excelled from walking with hind limbs so far apart that they catch the sides of the treadmill where the therapist stands to walking practically un-aided and central on the treadmill belt.
Every week Paddy arrives with a super waggy and happy tail and has continued to improve week after week. He is now displaying a much freer and more comfortable equal gait and has a significantly reduced lameness all round. He even managed to get a new car out of his mum which he can now get in and out of easier (he is very pleased with himself!!).
Well done Paddy we are so proud of you!
- December - 2020 - Zeus Marshall
Zeus is a very handsome 6 year old male Rottweiler, who joined us for hydrotherapy and physiotherapy this year to treat arthritis within his hip and knee. He has since been diagnosed with a debilitating condition causing degeneration of his central nervous system. The focus of Zeus’s hydrotherapy treatment is to provide non-weight bearing therapeutic exercise. This will promote greater joint mobility and muscle development for his arthritis, as well as maintaining his strength and mobility, and stimulating his proprioceptive pathways to aid to reduce the rate of his progressive condition. Additionally, Zeus’s forelimbs will be under greater strain as they compensate for the reduced stability of his hind limbs, therefore swimming hydrotherapy helps relieve the forelimbs and promote greater joint range of movement and strength, whilst the warmth of the water will help ease any muscle tension.
Zeus is a super star and a true gentle giant, who despite becoming unsteady on his legs at times, still puts his trust in us during his treatment. Zeus’s owners are doing a great job of managing his condition and have just invested in his own set of wheels (very large may we add!!) to give more support and freedom to his hind limbs.
WELL DONE ZEUS!!
- October - 2020 - Lucy Dolphin Yates
Lucy is a beautiful, tiny 14 month old Poodle X Bichon Frise. As a very young dog Lucy unfortunately fractured the growth plate of the tibia bone in her right hind leg. This required cage rest for a significant period of time, resulting in generalised muscle wastage and in particular the shoulder and forelimb muscles.
Lucy began her hydrotherapy treatment at a different centre and did not receive the best introduction, leaving her owner nervous to seek treatment elsewhere. We are very grateful and pleased that she chose to attend Aquavet! From the off Lucy has been a dream to work with, she began her treatment on the underwater treadmill where she presented with a few gait abnormalities due to her weakness, but these improved greatly as the sessions progressed alongside her physiotherapy treatment. Lucy has since been moved into the hydrotherapy pool where we continue to work on improving her muscular strength and symmetry (which is coming on wonderfully), as well as her fitness, which is very important to help prevent fatigue and injury when exercising.
We are super proud of Lucy’s continuous improvement and how she does what is asked of her without any complaint and it is an added bonus that she enjoys a cuddle in the water during her rest periods!
WELL DONE LUCY !