International Association of Animal Therapists
Case Study


Physiotherapy for a ruptured disk

Alfie was left Paralysed through his left side.  He has also lost control of his bladder and needed daily

help to express.

For various reasons, surgery was not an option and as such he was referred to me 2 weeks after the 

episode to begin Physiotherapy.

Alfie was seen twice weekly for the first month with work for the owner to do in between 

appointments.  Appointments then went to weekly, followed by fortnightly.  He is now seen once a 

month and will continue to do so.

Session 1

Full assessment of Alfie was undertake.  His gait was observed and his limitations understood.

Palpation throughout his body revealed several areas of discomfort through his back caused by  

twisting to compensate for the paralysis.  There was severe muscle spasm through his left forelimb 

and right hind limb with very limited flexion and mobility through his hind limb.

Although mainly recumbent, the times he does try to get up had strained the right side of his body 

and there was a high degree of muscle tension present.

Laser therapy was applied throughout his body, excluding his neck initially, followed by several soft 

tissue mobilisation techniques.  Conservative joint and limb manipulation were also applied to help 

relieve the muscle tension and joint immobility.

Due to Alfie’s lack of limb control, it was advised that all none carpeted areas in the house were 

covered to avoid slipping.

Session 8 (4 weeks into treatment)

Significant improvements have been made.  Whilst there is still a degree of paralysis through his left 

hind, he has regained some control of his gait and full range of movement has been achieved 

through his left fore.

His right side is much more supple and elastic which is a big help considering his other restrictions.

A full physiotherapy treatment was applied using laser and manual techniques. 

Ultrasound has now also been implemented in order to penetrate the tissue deeper in the hope we 

could regain further range of movement through the left side.


Treatment will continue for the foreseeable future in order to keep his as active and comfortable as 


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