Maisie - Hydrotherapy / Physiotherapy

- Hydrotherapy

- West Highland white terrier

- Nine years seven months

- Female


Maisie presented in 2019 with a left hind lameness, and after seeing our orthopaedic surgeon it was confirmed she had ruptured her cranial cruciate ligament. This ligament attaches the femur to the tibia and acts to prevent over extension of the stifle (knee) joint. It also prevents the tibia from shifting forward relative to the femur which can be very painful.


Maisie underwent a cranial closing wedge osteotomy (a corrective surgery) and recovered well. We began a mix of hydrotherapy and physiotherapy. Unfortunately, when beginning her rehabilitation Maisie’s right hind limb was also showing signs of weakness and degeneration, and almost four months after the first surgery it was confirmed she’d also partially ruptured the right cruciate ligament. She therefore underwent a tibial closing wedge osteotomy, a different type of corrective surgery for her right hind limb.


We restarted her rehab once she had recovered and immediately she seemed more comfortable. After surgery, Maisie initially presented with a limited range of motion in both her stifles and weakness to her quadriceps especially in the right hind limb. She was also offsetting onto her left hind after going through the surgery on her right leg, and so had some asymmetrical muscle build-up which needed addressing.


Maisie took really well to hydrotherapy and we slowly increased the intensity of her sessions, making the sessions more physically challenging by increasing the time and speed of the treadmill each week. We addressed the hind limb stiffness and muscle weakness though lots of massage and passive range of motion exercises, and then some more specific hind limb strengthening through physiotherapy. The owners were also advised to continue these at home between sessions.


These main exercises were:

- Leg lifts, lifting one hind leg off the ground for five seconds to reduce offsetting weight to one side

- Massage to both hind limbs and the lower back to alleviate muscle tension

- Sit to stands, a dog version of a squat to increase strength with the limb in proper alignment

- Wobble cushion work, great for building core balance and strength

Alongside this, Maisie’s owners slowly increased her exercise by five minutes each week to avoid over working the recovering joints. When she was fit enough, we then introduced off lead work also.


After around eight weeks, Maisie’s muscle mass had increased and become more symmetrical on her hind legs, and she regained a greater range of motion meaning her hind legs were functioning much better. Maisie’s owners continue to bring her for hydrotherapy to prevent any issues and keep her in excellent condition.


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