January 2017 Case Study – Jess

January 2017 Case Study – Jess

Name:                Jess

Age:                   11 years old

Breed:                Border Collie Cross

Condition:        Osteoarthritis of Bilateral Carpal Joint and Hock Joints.


Jess has been attending the centre for hydrotherapy pool treatment following a diagnosis of Osteoarthritis in both her carpal joints and hock joints. She has been attending the centre on a weekly basis for over 2 years now.  Jess suffers with weakness related to the Osteoarthritis in particular in her carpal joints and as such she walks with an almost plantigrade / flat footed gait pattern through the fore limbs.  Jess wears a carpal support whilst exercising to help support these joints in a more normal position.

Osteoarthritis or Degenerative Joint Disease is the most common joint disease in dogs and can affect many of the joints within the dog’s skeletal structure such as hips, stifles, hocks, shoulder, elbows and carpals. It is reported by many Veterinary Surgeons that 1 in 5 dogs over the age of 1 year old suffers with Osteoarthritis of some degree.  In general congenital and developmental abnormalities and joint instability are the main cause of the start of Osteoarthritis.


This is apparent in any joint affected by Osteoarthritis.  Light to moderate low impact exercise is recommended to reduce stiffness and maintain joint mobility. Specific exercise requirements can vary based on the individual dog, however short walks (15 to 20 minutes) performed two to three times daily are typically recommended. Swimming is an excellent low impact activity that can improve muscle mass and joint range of motion. The most critical aspect is consistency. Exercise should be performed on a routine basis and excessive and/or high impact exercise should be avoided.

When Jess first started hydrotherapy it was decided that the hydrotherapy pool was the most appropriate treatment for her in order to provide non weight bearing exercise whilst building strength and stability in her joints.  Initially she carried out sessions lasting of between 30 seconds to 1 minute with an extended rest of the ramp in the pool to allow her to recover from the swimming.  During Jess’s treatment her muscle mass measurements have been taken on a regular basis and these are demonstrated on the tables below.

Limb Measurement
Left Fore 25cm
Right Fore 25cm
Left Hind 36cm
Right Hind 36cm


Limb Measurement
Left Fore 26cm
Right Fore 28cm
Left Hind 43cm
Right Hind 43cm


These are the last two most recent muscle mass measurements which can be used to demonstrate that Jess has gained well in her muscle mass, however her fore limb muscles are not even but she has suffered recently with more right fore limb issues so this is the reason for the muscle mass difference here.  Jess copes well with her sessions in general and really seems to benefit greatly after her sessions.


Jess has progressed well with her sessions and is currently on session 73 within the hydrotherapy pool.  Jess wears a life jacket within the pool to provide extra buoyancy for her and she carries out in general 4 sets of a combinations of clockwise and anticlockwise circuits, figure of 8’s and some static work which she responds very well too.  She enjoys the drying time after her session also with the blaster which removes most of the water from her long beautiful coat.


Overall we are pleased with Jess’s progress at the centre and she will continue to attend on a weekly basis.  She is now able to exercise for longer with the use of the carpal supports and her owner’s are keen to maintain her at a comfortable level.