Maisie's Story

Maisie is a little 5 year old whippet who had the misfortune to collide with a bicycle when out on a walk, just a month ago. Her owner, who was understandably distraught, took her to her local vets who referred her straight to us here at Fitzpatrick Referrals. She has made an extraordinary recovery with an intensive period of physiotherapy and hydrotherapy .

When Maisie arrived she was in a sorry state and had lost the use of all her limbs. Gradually over the next 24 hours she regained the use of her left forelimb and some movement in the hind limbs. She was scheduled for an MRI which identified a low volume, high velocity disc protrusion at C2/3 with substantial swelling particularly to the right side. One of our clinicians, Sarah Girling opted not to operate in this case in the hope that Maisie would make a gradual recovery over the coming weeks. She warned the owner at this stage that she might never gain full movement of all her limbs but that with an intensive programme of physiotherapy and hydrotherapy as part of her rehabilitation she would have the best chance possible.

As with all clinical cases here at Fitzpatrick Referrals, our chartered physiotherapist, Fiona Doubleday was consulted for an initial assessment and a rehabilitation programme was then set up specifically for Maisie. This involved passive range of movement exercises and short periods of standing giving her total support to begin with. The kennel staff were then instructed to continue these exercises every two hours throughout the day, turning her every four hours to prevent pressure sores and unnecessary discomfort. This continued for several days and then it was decided that to increase Maisie’s chance of recovery we should introduce hydrotherapy. The simple act of floating in the warm water helps to relax the muscles and often with spinal cases, movement in some if not all of the limbs is instantaneous. In Maisie’s case, to our delight, once in the pool, movement in all four limbs was obvious straight away. Our hydrotherapy assistant Amie Slade immediately rose to the challenge and spent half an hour every day for the next week in the pool with Maisie, constantly reassuring her, massaging her, and encouraging greater range of movement in the water with free swimming and a range of specific exercises devised by Fiona.

By this stage we were all determined not to give up on Maisie and we are pleased to be able to report that just three weeks after her accident she has started to get up unaided from her bed to greet us.

Maisie’s gradual but steady recovery has been directly attributable to regular sessions of physiotherapy and hydrotherapy combined. It is for this reason – and for hundreds of other cases like Maisie’s, that we promote this type of rehabilitation as a matter of course. It is of paramount importance for the complete and successful recovery of the vast majority of our patients and without the provision of these forms of therapy, many dogs like Maisie may well not be with us today.

Maisie has now started to take some steps with minimal help and her confidence is also increasing. Her owner is of course delighted with her progress and although we still have a long way to go, there is now a good chance that she could go on to make a complete recovery. Our ethos still remains the same. Good clinical judgement, good surgery (where appropriate) and the best possible rehabilitation facilities are at the forefront of our success here at Fitzpatrick Referrals.

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