Road traffic accidents are a common cause of injury in both cats and dogs. As well as being life threatening, traumatic and stressful for the animal, it is also a very stressful time for the owner. Not knowing if your pet is going to survive or have terrible disabilities leaves a sense of helplessness. In some instances the animal may recover with medical treatment. On other occasions surgery may be necessary. Animals can make a remarkable recovery, but very seldom are they completely back to how they were before the accident.
Zeb, a Kelpi, was 7 months old when he was hit by a car. Zeb had extensive injuries to his hind limbs (fractured pelvis etc). Chris Morris of the Park Veterinary Group, Glenfield, performed surgery and managed his medical care post surgery. When Chris was satisfied with Zeb’s progress he was referred to the physiotherapy clinic at the practice. On initial assessment Zeb showed a number of problems (loss of sensation to his left hind leg, stiff on his hind legs, muscle loss to the hind limb, pain on manipulation of his limbs and reduced range of movement). Zeb was given a range of exercises and encouraged to walk properly. Over a period of 9 months his walking action improved significantly.
Similar things can happen to cats. Chardonnay came home one night dragging her left hind leg. There was little or no sensation in the left hind leg and damage to the pelvis and hips. At the time Chardonnay was under the care of Amie Hanks of Vets4Pets in Wigston. Her owners were struggling with the decision of whether to continue with medical treatment or have the limb amputated. At the time Amie suggested trying physiotherapy before amputation. However it should be said that some animals do cope very well on 3 limbs.
On my first visit Chardonnay had no sensation in her left hind paw at all. We tried several methods to stimulate her paw; massage and stretching exercises and magnet therapy to help increase blood flow, facilitating the healing process. After two weeks Chardonnay started to feel her feet being touched. After 2 months Chardonnay could stand and take a few steps. At my final visit Chardonnay jumped from one worktop to another. Chardonnay still shows signs of stiffness but at least she can lead a relatively happy life on all fours.
RTA’s are very traumatic for pet and owner, however medical management (which could include surgery) and physiotherapy care can help recovery.
At WitsEnd physiotherapy is our expertise and appointments can be booked with our veterinary physiotherapist Dr Shahad Mohammed. Shahad has 8 years of physiotherapy experience and 12 years of hydrotherapy experience and is registered with the National Association of Veterinary Physiotherapists and works on veterinary referral with many of the veterinary practices in the Leicester area.