Case Study: Pluto

9 Year Old Retriever
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What clinical signs were first noticed? Pluto was very overweight, weighing 101kg. He was very anxious and lethargic. Used to be able to get on and off sofa- unable to do this now. Could not get up stairs. Atrophy/ muscle wastage to the hindlimb musculature.

Any behavioural changes noted during this time? Noticed to be very anxious, extremely slow on walks.

What was the veterinary diagnosis given: Advanced arthritic changes to the elbows bilaterally.

What diagnostic tests were used?: Bilateral elbow arthroscopy and x-rays were used to diagnose.

Were there any coexisting conditions which meant treatment had to be altered or changed to suit the individual animal? Pluto was overweight and therefore exercise needed to be increased incrementally to avoid any excess strain on already compromised joints. Fitness was also low so exercise needed to start off low and increase slowly. He had also had a cancerous toe removed in 2017- depending on status of cancer this may prevent some electrotherapy treatment options being discounted.

Which pharmaceutical/ NSAIDs were prescribed?: Were any dietary alterations or supplements used?: Pluto was put on a diet to lose the excess weight he was carrying, NSAIDs were prescribed to control the pain caused by the advanced changes.

Any lifestyle or home adaptions made following diagnosis?:  Laminate floors had rugs put down. There were steps in and out of the van that was used to transport Pluto. Pluto was given exercise on walks rather than just free run of the garden as daily exercise. The lead walks ensured active use of his hindlimbs and keeping at a pace rather than sauntering round the garden.

Was the dog’s daily exercise altered following diagnosis? Yes walks increased from garden exercise only to 5 minutes then to 30/45 minutes depending on Pluto’s ability- low-impact, aerobic exercise was key in order to lose weight.

Any complimentary therapies used? E.g. hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, acupuncture etc? Hydrotherapy sessions every two weeks- this type of exercise is useful for both Pluto’s weight management and to help hindlimb strength.

Have the clinical symptoms improved, worsened or stayed the same: Pluto seems a lot happier in himself, generally a happier and more energetic dog that enjoys life.