Vet clinic helps lame dog walk again

Published: 16 May 2018

Calvin – a five year-old Staffordshire bull terrier cross – became paralysed after running around in the garden and is walking again thanks to physiotherapy treatment at a new dedicated clinic.

Vets suspected a sudden blockage of the blood vessels supplying the spinal cord to be responsible, a condition called fibrocartilaginous embolism, similar to a stroke seen in people.

As part of his treatment at the University of Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Calvin was referred to a new physiotherapy service at its Hospital for Small Animals.

The Royal (Dick) Edinburgh Physiotherapy Assessment & Intensive Rehabilitation (REPAIR) Centre offers cutting edge services, including hydrotherapy and sensory testing alongside traditional physiotherapy treatments.

Hydrotherapy takes place in an underwater treadmill housed in a glass tank. It has a walk-through design and is slowly filled with water until the animals’ legs are submerged.

Water may be used to support some of the pets’ bodyweight to facilitate movement, or to provide resistance to help promote strength and encourage muscle development. Lifejackets are worn at all times to ensure safety.

At first, Calvin was afraid of water and his owner feared he would not tolerate hydrotherapy.

Working with a specialist team, Calvin was gradually introduced to the tank and was soon plodding away on the underwater treadmill. At his last appointment, Calvin was walking unaided.

I'm delighted with Calvin's progress. I can't thank the Vet School enough for all the hard work and care they have put into helping him get better. The recovery he has made over the last few months is incredible. He has pushed himself from day one with constant determination.

Joanna, Calvin's owner

Helena Carruthers, a Veterinary Physiotherapist at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, praised Joanna’s dedication to his treatment. She said much of Calvin’s recovery was due to the time Joanna and her partner had spent following bespoke daily exercise plans with him at home.

The REPAIR Centre brings together specialists in orthopaedics, neurology and anaesthesia, as well as experts in nutrition and internal medicine, to ensure a holistic approach to animals’ rehabilitation after injury or illness.

By optimising outcomes for pets with difficulty walking, we are restoring and maintaining the quality of life for both pets and their owners.

John Ryan, Specialist in Small Animal Surgery, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies


Source: University of Edinburgh


Latest tweets

follow us @MidlothScience

The University of Edinburgh

  • Old College
  • South Bridge
  • Edinburgh EH8 9YL

General Enquiries:

T: +44 (0)131 650 1000

Email us

The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies

  • The University of Edinburgh
  • Easter Bush Campus
  • Midlothian EH25 9RG

Deputy Head of School - Operations: Cat Eastwood

T: +44 (0)131 651 7441

Email us