Stitch & Bertie's story
Stitch, a 10 year old female Rottweiler, and Bertie, a seven year old miniature dachshund, have been coming to Hydropets since we first opened in June 2013. Stitch has severe hip dysplasia and arthritis in both wrists and Bertie has spinal problems.
Owners, Paige and Robert, are keen to minimise the impact of health problems on their dogs’ quality of life and are pleased with the results of hydrotherapy. Stitch was almost six when they re-homed her from Rottweiler Welfare Association kennels:
“We knew Stitch was overweight when we got her and, with advice from Animates in Thurlby, soon had her on a weight reduction programme. The weight came off but over winter we noticed that she had started limping. X-rays confirmed she had arthritis and we were surprised to learn that she had no socket and ball joint at the hips. This meant that it was just muscle providing mobility of her hind legs and getting her upright. It was therefore clear that she would need more than medication to maintain that mobility, especially as she was getting older, and we discussed the option of hydrotherapy with the vets at Animates. At that time Hydropets wasn’t around so we had a sixty mile round trip every Saturday morning to a hydrotherapy pool and unfortunately Stitch was often car sick – when we heard about plans to open Hydropets we couldn’t wait to get booked in!”
Before the first session at Hydropets Stitch was assessed by Sam, our physiotherapist at Hydropets, who recommended exercise in the pool with stretches and massage. As Stitch has got older the massage time in the pool has increased over time as Stitch has been slowly getting stiffer and needs to loosen up before she can swim properly. She enjoys the stretching and massages but needs to be encouraged to swim by wafting a treat under her nose – it works for getting her in the shower too!
Paige and Robert got Bertie as a puppy and all was well until he was five years old when he suffered from a slipped disc and had to be taken to The Animal Health Trust in Newmarket for spinal surgery. Less than three months later he slipped while running in the house and twisted his spine. He had a methadone injection at Animates for the intense pain and there was another trip to The Animal Health Trust:
“Fortunately surgery wasn’t necessary this time however it was identified that Bertie’s spine was very fragile. Following two months of cage rest we gradually introduced him to walks again and shortly after Hydropets opened up so Bertie joined Stitch on the hydrotherapy trips. He really didn’t enjoy the swimming to start with but Helen and the team were very patient and now he is happy to show off his swimming skills in the pool.”
Bertie’s hydrotherapy routine is designed to strengthen the support of his spinal column and reduce the slight residual weakness in his right hind leg.