April Case Study – Malakia

April Case Study – Malakia

malakia1Name:           Malakia

Age:               4 years

Breed:           Siberian Husky

Condition:   Low Volume, High Velocity Disc Extrusion and Cord Oedema Thoracic Spinal Region (T12-13).

Malakia has been attending the centre since 6th October 2014 following his diagnosis.

Low Volume, High Velocity Disc Extrusion also known as a “Exploded Disc” is where the nucleus of the spinal column extrudes or comes out of the centre into the region where the spinal cord is housed but does not cause compression of the spinal cord.

These patients cannot be helped with surgery and so conservative management including physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, exercise adjustments and medical treatment provides the best treatment for these patients.

The above diagram shows the stages of disc herniation and what a disc extrusion looks like.

The above diagram shows the stages of disc herniation and what a disc extrusion looks like.

When Malakia first attended the centre in October 2014 he was being supported with a front and rear harness so that the owner could assist him with hind limb placement, in particular the right hind limb was most affected. There was also a swelling evident in Malakia’s thoracic spinal region and he was sore in this area.

Deep pain and proprioception reflexes which are used to assess neurological function were very reduced in the right hind compared to the left hind.

Malakia’s exercise had been reduced to 5-10 minute walks in the garden compared to the 6-10 mile walks he did before his injury.

Malakia’s measurements were taken on this first session as follows –

Limb Measurement
Left Fore 30cm
Right Fore 30cm
Left Hind 44cm
Right Hind 36cm


These measurements demonstrated that Malakia had lost muscle mass in the right hind which was also obvious when this limb was felt.

Following the assessment on the first session it was decided that the Aquatic treadmill was the most suitable treatment for Malakia in order to support his weight with the water whilst also encouraging more normal range of motion and placement of all limbs whilst also building adequate muscle mass to support him out of the water also.

Malakia was fitted with a “Help-Em-Up” harness which was used to support his front and hind limbs whilst carrying out his hydrotherapy.

The pictures below, taken from Orthopets Uk website demonstrate the harness used by Malakia and many of our other patients at the centre.


The water level in the treadmill was filled to 18.5 inches and the speed started at 0.4 miles per hour. This was so hind limb correct placement could be encouraged and even weight bear through all limbs.

On the first few sessions Malakia required assistance from the hydrotherapist to place his right hind limb as he was struggling with this but after a few slow starts he started to use his right hind limb well.

Malakia continued to attend the centre 1-2 times per week and was re assessed in November 2014.

Measurements were taken at this time as follows –

Limb Measurement
Left Fore 29cm
Right Fore 29cm
Left Hind 44cm
Right Hind 43cm


This demonstrated that Malakia had built up muscle well in his hind limbs and was now almost even.

This was also seen in his sessions as he required less assistance whilst in the treadmill and pretty soon the back end support was removed from his harness whilst walking. The owners had also started walking Malakia for 4 walks of about 15 minutes a day and he was progressing well.

Malakia was re measured again in January 2015 and these were as follows –

Limb Measurement
Left Fore 34cm
Right Fore 33cm
Left Hind 46cm
Right Hind 45cm


This again demonstrated a build up of muscle mass in all limbs.

At this point the owner was walking Malakia for longer distances and without any rear end support.

Malakia now walks in the treadmill at a water level of 17 inches, a speed of 0.9 miles per hour for 3 sets of 2 minutes each. He also walks for about a minute in each set on the automatic incline to assist with his extension from the hind limbs which he is coping brilliantly with.


Malakia during a session assisted by his Master and Becky.

Malakia is making good progress and alongside his hydrotherapy treatment he is now receiving K-Lazer treatment at the Veterinary Surgery to assist with his rehabilitation.

Malakia will continue to attend the centre once per week to assist with his recovery and we hope he continues to progress well.

He is such a lovely dog and always so keen to come to the centre and see all his friends with his Mistress and Master.

It’s a real pleasure to treat such a happy, friendly and fit dog and we really hope he is back to full health very soon.

Keep going Malakia you are doing so well.