Canine Physiotherapy Case Studies

Veterinary Physiotherapy is essentially the same as human Physiotherapy – If you have a physical condition or injury, you may see a Physiotherapist to help you get back on track with treatments such as massage, stretching and electrotherapies, alongside prescribed exercise and home management plans. Dogs need this in the same way that humans do – but they are unable to tell us when something is wrong or when they need help. This is where I can be of assistance – by assessing your dog’s posture, movement, body and lifestyle as pieces of a puzzle, which all together can provide a clear picture of what your dog needs to be fit, healthy and happy. As a Veterinary Physiotherapist, I work on 3 main principles when formulating a treatment plan for your dog:

  1. Reduce Pain
  2. Restore Function
  3. Improve Performance

Alongside physical and manual treatments, I provide advice on environmental/lifestyle management to ensure that every aspect of your dog’s life is the best it can be.


Case Study 1

Name: Bella

Breed: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Owned By: Wendy Curnock, Digs for Dogs Home Boarding, Bolton

Wendy holding Bella, her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Bella is an 8-year-old spaniel who had always lived a healthy and active lifestyle until one day, she collapsed and was unable to get up and walk without pain. After numerous tests and investigations, Bella was diagnosed with Spinal Spondylosis. Spondylosis is characterised by bony growths along the spine, causing pain and stiffness. Alongside this, it was likely that Bella also had arthritic changes in some of her other joints, which has caused areas of muscle loss and weakness in her hind-limbs.

Naturally, Bella’s mum, Wendy, wanted to do everything she could for her fur baby. Bella received weekly LASER sessions at her local vet’s, which proved good at managing the acute pain associated with the condition, but the effects were not always long lasting. This is when Veterinary Physiotherapy at home became beneficial.

Bella has weekly Physiotherapy sessions. During these, she receives LED therapy and massage, which she absolutely loves – she is usually fast asleep by the end! Alongside this, Bella performs targeted remedial exercises to improve her muscle strength and endurance. I leave Bella with homework to practice between sessions, such as stretches and gentle exercises that she can do on a regular basis.

Since starting regular physio, Bella’s flexibility and strength has improved – Wendy reports that she was acting like a puppy after just one session! She has gained confidence in moving around and is more comfortable being touched along her spine and hind-limbs. Designing a personalised home plan has provided Wendy with peace of mind that Bella can continue to lead a happy and active life whilst living with a chronic condition, and I am very pleased with her progress so far.


Case Study 2

Name: Ollie

Breed: Labrador Retriever

Owned By: Natalie Penny, Digs for Dogs Grooming Spa, Tottington

Golden labrador Ollie lying on his bed

Ollie is a 9 year old yellow Labrador – he is VERY handsome and a loveable boy. Ollie has Osteoarthritis (OA) in his left hip and the possibility of OA in his left elbow – arthritis is a very common condition thought to effect 4/5 dogs over the age of 8. Ollie still leads a very active lifestyle, performing daily walks out in his favourite places, alongside hydrotherapy every 2 weeks. Ollie’s mum, Natalie, decided very sensibly to incorporate physiotherapy into Ollie’s life early to help manage the progression of OA long term.

When I first saw Ollie he was a little stiff in his back legs and had some muscle spasm in his left thigh, likely due to compensation from his hip OA. Ollie receives massage and LED therapy to keep on top of his OA, and we are in the process of introducing new exercises and stretches into his routine, to keep him flexible and active as he enters his senior years. I love massage sessions with Ollie – he relaxes into it really well, and even rolls over when he thinks it is time to change sides! I am looking forward to seeing how Ollie progresses in future sessions.

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