December 2015 Case Study – Jennie

December 2015 Case Study – Jennie

jennie1Name:           Jennie

Age:               4 Years

Breed:           Golden Retriever

Condition:    Osteoarthritis, Generalised Stiffness particularly affecting the Hind Limbs.


Jennie has been attending the centre since November 2014 following diagnosis of Osteoarthritis and Generalised Stiffness especially in the hind limbs and lumbar region of her spine. Osteoarthritis is a non inflammatory degenerative joint disease. Arthritis can be characterised by the degeneration of cartilage, boney proliferation resulting in bone on bone contact within or around affected joints, and synovial membrane changes.

Symptoms of Osteoarthritis may include stiff or rigid posturing and / or walking, reluctance to exercise, swollen joints or it can be nothing more than clicking or popping sounds coming from the affected joint or joints. The severity of the symptoms and how they affect the dog’s quality of life will often be the sole determining factor in how your veterinarian may elect to handle the problem.

Many animals with chronic arthritis have loss of muscle mass and increased weakness in the affected area. Jennie, however only exhibited slight changes to her gait pattern and stiffness through her hind limbs was also observed.

On the first session, her muscle mass measurements were as follows –

Limb Measurement
Left Fore 33cm
Right Fore 34cm
Left Hind 40cm
Right Hind 42cm


These measurements demonstrated that Jennie had less muscle in the left hind limb and this also appeared to be the stiffer limb when her gait was assessed. The veterinary surgeon had advised Jennie start her sessions in the Hydrotherapy pool, so this is where we started her rehabilitation.

Jennie during a pool session with Becky and enjoying holding her toy which settled her during her swims.

Jennie during a pool session with Becky and enjoying holding her toy which settled her during her swims.

Jennie was very worried by the hydrotherapy pool and we found that using a toy helped to relax her during her sessions and she did less survival swimming and improved range of motion through the limbs was seen.

Jennie carried out 10 sessions in the hydrotherapy pool and on the final session she was re-assessed and her muscle mass measurements were as follows –


Limb Measurement
Left Fore 32cm
Right Fore 32cm
Left Hind 43cm
Right Hind 43cm


These measurements demonstrated that Jennie had become even in her muscle mass and was more comfortable during and after exercise with less episodes of stiffness noted. Jennie was signed off at this point, however after a few weeks she returned to the centre for Aquatic Treadmill sessions as advised by the Veterinary Surgeon and the Mctimoney Practitioner that were both seeing Jennie regularly. Jennie took to the treadmill well and after a few sessions was relaxed in the tank and even started to enjoy her homemade liver cake whilst she carried out her sessions.


During the treadmill sessions Jennie started to walk at a water level of 13 inches, which was just above her stifle joint and the speed initially started at 0.6 miles per hour. On the first treadmill session, Jennie completed 3 sets of 1 minute each with a rest between.

Jennie coped extremely well with this first session but her hind limb movement was restricted and stiffness was obvious. Following on from the first session Jennie has attended the centre once per week and has progressed steadily. The water level has been maintained at 13 inches and the speed steadily increased to 1.0 mile per hour. She is comfortable completing 3 walks of 3 minutes each with a good rest between.

Jennie exhibits a narrow hind limb gait at the start of her sessions and again at the end, but the middle section tends to be wider and more normal placement of the hind limbs was seen.

After 10 further sessions in the treadmill, Jennie’s muscle mass measurements were taken as follows –

Limb Measurement
Left Fore 31cm
Right Fore 31cm
Left Hind 46cm
Right Hind 46cm


These demonstrated that Jennie had an increased muscle mass in the hind limbs and they were even which is a good result for Jennie. Following on from this, Jennie has continued to attend the centre once per week for aquatic treadmill sessions and is progressing well with her sessions. Her owners are happy that she manages her exercise well and keeps up with the other dog in the house well.

We are pleased with Jennie’s progress and hope that she continues to do well with her sessions at the centre.

Well done Jennie Wren, keep up the great work.