The Road to Recovery: Getting Back on Four Legs

Langford Vets Rehabilitation Centre

The story of Murphy, a one year old dog, who had surgery following a diagnosis of Legg Perthe’s disease and through persistence and dedication of a tailored rehab programme at Langford Veterinary Services, including massages, underwater treadmill sessions and regular physiotherapy, he’s now back on all four legs!

Aged only one year old Murphy, a Jack Russell Terrier cross, became severely lame on his right hind limb.  His worried owners took him to his vet and he was diagnosed with Legg Perthe’s disease, where the blood supply to the hip joint is compromised.  The prescribed treatment was surgical and consisted of removing the diseased bone. Whilst many dogs will do well after the surgery, this was not the case for Murphy who, one month after surgery, was still not using his right hind limb and was in severe pain despite the strong painkillers.

As a result, Murphy was referred to the Langford Veterinary Services’ Small Animal Referral Hospital and its Veterinary Specialists for physiotherapy and rehabilitation. The first consultation was not very promising: Murphy was in so much pain he would not let the physiotherapist touch his bad leg. He would never put the foot on the floor, which was the case for more than three months. The muscle mass on this limb was severely wasted, and the range of movement in his hip was minimal.

Murphy’s treatments included massages, stretches, joint manipulations, and treatments to increase his muscle mass. He seemed to particularly enjoy the ultrasound treatment, which helped to soften the scar tissue and improve the movement in his hip joint. Murphy’s owners were prescribed some exercises to do at home. As part of his rehabilitation plan, he had weekly sessions in the Langford Small Animal Referral Hospital’s underwater treadmill. Whilst Murphy was becoming an expert in finding strategies to avoid doing the exercises, his owners and care team all persevered.

Murphy had three months of regular physiotherapy treatment, initially twice weekly before being more gradually spread out according to his progress.  And all of the hard work and determination has paid off!  Murphy is now using his right hind limb all of the time, at any speed, and enjoys long walks with his owners, playing on the trampoline and even jumping at the fence to chase off cats!

Veterinary physiotherapy as practised in the Langford Small Animal Referral Hospital markedly improved Murphy’s recovery.  It is beneficial for a variety of conditions, including osteoarthritis, post-operative recovery and neurological disorders, amongst others. The Rehabilitation Centre at the Langford Small Animal Referral Hospital provides hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, acupuncture and more.  The team aims to improve an animal’s quality of life throughout their life, taking a holistic approach to the animal that aims to promote and maintain normal movements, as well as alleviate and manage pain.

To find out more about rehabilitation for your pet, speak to your vet.  You can find out more about the Langford Rehab Centre here.