Two paralysed dogs have taken their first steps after they were referred to a vet practice’s new complementary therapies centre.

Kim is put through her paces on the peanut ball.

Pool House Veterinary Hospital in Lichfield, Staffordshire opened its hydrotherapy and rehabilitation centre, Mobility Matters, in August.

It offers hydrotherapy, physical therapy and acupuncture to help pets, pre and post-operatively, that are overweight, or suffering from congenital and acquired disease.

Lead therapist Danielle Pountain is a registered veterinary nurse and certified hydrotherapist with an RCVS Diploma in Advanced Veterinary Nursing and Diploma of Higher Education in Clinical Veterinary Nursing and a Level 3 Certificate in Hydrotherapy for Small Animals.

“We are really passionate about what we do,” said Miss Pountain. “It is wonderful to see what we can achieve, helping to improve the life of our patients.”

She said “all hope would otherwise have been lost” for the two paralysed dogs, dachshund Pepsi and Kim, a Staffordshire bull terrier.

Pepsi was taken to the vets when he was suddenly paraplegic, unable move his tail, and had lost deep pain sensation in the back legs. He was referred to specialists, who, having identified he had an extruded disc, performed a right-sided hemi-laminectomy.

He was given just a 50% chance of recovering the use of his limbs. But Miss Pountain and the team at Mobility Matters worked hard on his rehabilitation and taught him to walk again.

“He is now able to wag his tail to his heart’s content, can stand unaided and has taken his first steps using the aquatic treadmill,” said Miss Pountain.

Kim lost the use of her front legs after being neglected by a former owner. Both limbs were badly fractured and no treatment was sought, resulting in malformation and loss of function. She shuffled around on her chest and chin, propelling herself with her very powerful hindlegs.

Now, after therapy from the centre, and the care of her current owners, she is using one of her forelimbs and can get around on three legs.

Miss Pountain said: “The first time she walked again was a very emotional occasion for all involved and she continues to make improvement week upon week.”

Miss Pountain, who is studying for a masters in veterinary physiotherapy, works at the centre with therapist Jeni Pearson, an RVN, and vet Ian Thomas, who specialises in acupuncture and pain management.

She said the centre was doing very well and they were sure that as awareness grew about the benefits of therapies such as hydrotherapy, more vets would refer their patients.

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