International Association of Animal Therapists
Case Study


Arthritic Sheep

So I was called one day and asked if I would be willing to come and have a look at an Arthritic Sheep called Katie. She was currently living at Remus Horse Sanctuary. I have to admit, although throughout my studies I had treated a pig, my main field was dogs and horses so this was a first for me. I had visions of me running around a field trying to catch this wayward sheep and was wondering how on earth I was going to be able to perform physiotherapy on her!

Well, the day came and to my surprise and delight, I didn’t need to do any running around any fields to catch sheep.

Katie’s Diagnosis was Arthritis in all 4 limbs. My 1st Assessment notes of Katie was that she was weight-bearing but had rather an unsteady gait; she was plaiting both fore and hind in walk but seemed much worse in her hind. She was sore on palpation and had restricted ROM in her Right forelimb. Her first Treatment consisted of Red Light Phototherapy given on all 4 limbs, Pulsed Electro-Magnetic therapy (PEMF) on inflammation setting of base 50 Hz pulse 17.5 Hz for 10mins on the right forelimb, and same for left hind limb.

I noticed that Katie would be reluctant to walk from 1 stable block to the other on noticing that the pathway to get her from stable to stable was concrete I suggested we cover the pathway with straw and within moments she went from stable to stable clearly sheep are a lot smarter and Intune with their bodies than we think they are.

By Katie’s 4th session having been seeing her every 7 days. In this time I had seen an improvement in her ROM in all 4 limbs particularly the right fore. Gait was still pottery but she had a marked improvement in her stability and speed.

She achieved walking down to the field which on our 1st session she hadn’t done in quite a few months and if I say so myself was a huge challenge and quite a distance for her and to see her back out in the field grazing with her friends was a joy to see.

Katie’s weekly treatments mainly consisted of gentle massage, PEMF Base 50hz Pulse 17.5hz, and Red light phototherapy. I loaned the photizo to Sue the owner of the sanctuary so that her staff could carry out red light phototherapy on the sheep daily, not just Katie, and I can safely say that in Katie’s case it helped immensely in her getting back some quality of life.

A case study conducted by IAAT Member Donna Nicol (member number 1422)

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