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Enzo's Stile Stumble

This handsome boy is Italian Spinone Lorenzo or “Enzo” as his owners like to call him for short.

Last November he was out walking when he stumbled at a stile resulting in lameness in his back left leg. Enzo was then sent by his own vets to see David Parker, one of the referral orthopaedic surgeons at Woodcroft Veterinary Group.

Following x-rays and examination it looked like Enzo had a partial rupture of his cranial cruciate ligament. This was confirmed when Enzo underwent an exploratory operation when David was able to perform a tibial tuberosity advancement or TTA to restore stability to Enzo’s joint.

The cranial cruciate ligament keeps the stifle (or knee joint) stable by stopping the tibia (shin bone) and femur (thigh bone) sliding apart. When it fails lameness, pain and arthritis result.

TTA is a surgical procedure developed in Switzerland to control this sliding (or shear) force during weight bearing. The operation involves cutting the bony prominence at the top of the tibia (tibial tuberosity) and moving it forward where it is held in its new position by a specially designed titanium plate and cage. The advantages of this technique include joint alignment is not altered and recovery is not dependent on a lot of scar tissue developing around the joint to keep it stable.

Following a period of rest Enzo’s exercise had to be gradually increased to restore the movement in his joint, build up his muscles and improve his exercise tolerance. This was achieved with the aid of a 12 session hydrotherapy course provided by our dedicated trained nurses at Cheadle Veterinary Centre, where we are one of only a handful of vets in the area who are able to offer this on-site service.

Hydrotherapy is a well-recognised form of exercise and rehabilitation. Controlled activity in water has been used in human medicine for a substantial period of time and in recent years we have seen increasing evidence that is just as beneficial in animals.

The water reduces the load on the limb, protecting it and allowing it to be safely exercised whilst also providing gentle resistance against movement, improving the work out for muscles.

It is suitable even for dogs not keen on swimming or paddling because levels can be adjusted gradually allowing them to get used to the water. Most dogs really seem to enjoy the exercise, enriching their lives during what can be a period of restriction and convalescence.

Enzo took to his sessions really well and by increasing the speed of the treadmill and water levels his stamina and tolerance of exercise improved greatly. These sessions and the additional advice from our nurses for exercises at home further aided his recovery.

We only treat our referral clients for a period until we can return them to the care of their own vets so we were absolutely delighted when his owners sent an e-mail just last week with an update on Enzo’s progress.  They said “We never thought he would ever get back to hill walking but he’s been up Kinder Scout twice. So all that effort with the rehab on your hydrotherapy machine was well worthwhile.”

This was fantastic news and every one of the team is delighted to see him looking so fit and well.

Finally, we would also like to say thank you to Enzo’s owners for letting us share his success story.

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