International Association of Animal Therapists
Case Study

29/06/2021

Temporary Paralysis of the Hind Limbs

Albert’s Story

Albert is a 6-year-old Jack Russell, a real character and the apple of everyone’s eye.  Albert suffered a sudden temporary Paralysis (the central nervous system’s ability to coordinate the body’s movements is diminished) of his hind limbs; his mum Karen could not understand how this had happened.

Albert was taken to the vets, x-rays were carried out, and found that he had slipped & narrowing of the discs within his Thoracic Vertebra 10,11,12, and 13 and had lost complete use of his legs, having no bladder/bowel control or ability to stand.

Karen discussed with her Vet a treatment plan, which included medication, canine massage, and acupuncture to assist with his voluntary movement and reduce the risk of severe muscle wastage (Atrophy).

Albert’s First Visit

I first saw Albert on 18th July, Albert had no bowel or bladder control, was unable to stand on his own, had no use of his hind legs, and was trying so hard to stand, despite all this Albert was still his cheeky self and let you know he was here, and it was all about him.  Even though Albert is a very sociable boy, he was cautious of being touched so we took our time going at his pace and establishing our bond of trust. 

Albert was holding a lot of tension within his body, and due to not being able to use his back legs, his front was taking even more pressure than normal.  In normal circumstances a dog carries 70% of its weight on their front legs, so you can imagine, the pressure that he was having, to bear on them now.

Tightness (hypertonicity) in his neck and shoulders which were adhered, and both were holding several knots (trigger points) within them. His flexors and extensor muscles on the front legs were taking a lot of strain, these were rock solid. Along Albert’s back he was twitching (radiating myofascial pain), and muscle wastage within his hips and hind limbs bilaterally.  Proprioception on his left hind was more significant than on his right.

Albert welcomed the touch and relaxed very easily into the massage, I initially concentrated on relaxing the muscles which were being overused and increasing the circulation to the muscles, which had been underused, during the treatment he released a lot of tension throughout his body.

I gave Karen some useful guidance and massage techniques so that she could continue working with Albert, until our next treatment.

Subsequent Visits

Albert’s second Canine Massage Treatment - Owners comments; “Albert had been trying to pull himself up and had been attempting to squat whilst going for a wee.

I continued to work on reducing the referred pain and increasing the flexibility of the surrounding tissues, making it easier for Albert to move and assisting the development of the soft tissue in the tight and sore muscles.  What was great to see was Albert was starting to feel the gentle manipulation around his hind legs and paws.

Third treatment - Owners comments “Albert stood on his own for a whole 2 minutes, 42 seconds, whilst eating his food and having a drink.  This might not sound a lot, but from not being able to stand at all this is a huge achievement for him, 5 weeks ago I never thought we would get to this stage, but he’s done it”.    I treated Albert with various massage techniques to release the shoulders further and reduce the twitching that was running along his back and there were great improvements throughout his body.

On Albert’s next treatment he had managed to walk on his own for a few minutes, even if it was a little bit wobbly, and was attempting more each day, always guided by his veterinarian to ensure he wasn’t overdoing it.   During this treatment, his muscle tone within his hind legs had started to improve, however, there was slightly more tension in his shoulders than previous, this was due to the increase of activities he was now able to do.  I worked further with Karen, showing her various warm-up and cool-down techniques that she could do with Albert before and after activities that would help improve this.

Conclusion

Normally we only see dogs for an initial 3 sessions, but with Paralysis this can be longer depending on how the dog responds, with Albert, I saw him initially for four sessions and after the fourth session we agreed that we would see him in one month’s time to see how everything was going, and he was doing just fine.

It is an absolute privilege to be working with Albert and Karen and being part of his recovery journey.  I am happy to report that he is coming on leaps and bounds, he is now walking, trying to run, holding himself up when having a wee, and three months after meeting Albert for his first Canine Massage he had his first proper walk.

Karen and I keep in regular contact and she is continuing with the techniques shown on a regular basis, ensuring Albert's muscles are kept healthy.         

Owner Comments

The beginning of July 2019, I will never forget.  I had arrived home with Albert from work (Albert come to work with me) and my boy couldn’t stand properly and was dragging his back legs.  I was so scared for Albert and immediately rang the vets.  I thought, I was going to lose him after finding out by my Vet Gonda that Albert had slipped a disc.  Albert showed so much determination that he was going to fight this, and he did.   A friend had recommended Jayne Strange at K9 Bodycare.  I made the phone call and Jayne made me feel there was hope for Albert, we chatted, she listened, she advised me, Jayne was so warming, and I felt comfortable making arrangements to see her. 

On our first visit, Albert wasn’t of course his normal self, but he soon warmed to Jayne.  I cannot thank Jayne enough for the time, patience, love & commitment she gave Albert.  Without Jayne, I do believe Albert wouldn’t be where he is today.  I will continue to have further sessions with Jayne as I feel the work, she does is amazing, and Albert still benefits from seeing her.  I highly recommend Jayne to anyone.  Fabulous knowledge, so understanding, very professional, loves animals & I cannot thank her enough.

      

 

 

 

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