Case Study: Rigby

8 Year Old GSD X
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What clinical signs were first noticed?

Intermittent lameness especially right fore. Prior to the arthritis he had been diagnosed with cruciate injury and as a result had it operated on in 2015. The arthritis was then diagnosed in his hip and bilateral stifle arthritis more recently.

Any behavioural changes noted during this time?

Rigby as noticeably withdrawn & interacting less with other dogs, he didn’t seem bothered about playing with toys. He was less energetic and slower on walks to.

What was the length of time before veterinary intervention was sought:

Approximately 2-3 weeks with the intermittent lameness.

What was the veterinary diagnosis given:

After a physical examination it was presumed that he had suffered either arthritic change or a strain whilst exercising, rest was prescribed and this improved symptoms.

What diagnostic tests were used?:

None aside from physical examination.

Which pharmaceutical/ NSAIDs were prescribed?:

Metacam

Were any dietary alterations or supplements used?:

No food alterations but Rigby has been put on Youmove Joint supplement

Any lifestyle or home adaptions made following diagnosis?:

None until after physiotherapist consultation but after the first session his exercise was reduced to avoid any further stress on his joints or overexertion. The physiotherapist also recommended using memory foam bedding to support his joints (especially as he is a larger dog and they often require a thicker supportive bed). Floor runners for were added to previously slippery flooring, his food and water bowls were raised to prevent neck strain and excess forelimb loading. The garden step had a ramp fitted to prevent jumping down or tripping on the steps. When Rigby has slightly overdone exercise a heat/cold compress is applied to sore muscles and joints.

Was the dog’s daily exercise altered following diagnosis?

Daily exercise was reduced to find a benchmark with what Rigby can cope with.

Any complimentary therapies used? E.g. hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, acupuncture etc?

Rigby had several hydrotherapy sessions as part of his rehabilitation following his cruciate surgery in 2015 but has not had any more since or to address the arthritis. Massage therapy has address compensatory muscle soreness since his diagnosis of arthritis.

If used what did these therapies aim to target?

Following the surgery Rigby was reluctant to use his hindlimbs following the cruciate surgery due to pain weakness. Hydrotherapy is also a useful method of non-weight bearing exercise that can give therapeutic benefit without causing excess stress and strain on joints. The massage helped to target muscle soreness in his forelimbs particularly that had become sore after compensating for his hindlimb pain and weakness.

Have the clinical symptoms improved, worsened or stayed the same:

Since having regular massage treatments Rigby has improved dramatically, he is able to keep up with the other dogs on walks & his owners have slowly taken him off Metacam as he is a lot more comfortable. However, they are aware that he will need it in the near future especially if the weather is cold/damp as this will affect his pain levels. They are also aware that as a condition arthritis is degenerative and often progressive, but the aim is to slow the progression down using the above-mentioned techniques.