Giacomo has been having physiotherapy…
He has a problem called hip dysplasia; meaning that his hips have not formed properly. The condition is not uncommon in dogs, especially big dogs but is rare in cats. Maine Coons are known to be prone to it, so when he was about 5 months old I X-rayed his hips to make sure he was not suffering from dyspastic hips. Unfortunately he was.
The best way to deal with the problem in a young dog or cat is to use physiotherapy to build up the muscles in the hind legs to stabilise the hips in the sockets. He has also been receiving joint supplements to make sure his joint cartilage is as healthy as possible.
His physiotherapy has been taking place at the SMART Clinic, a dedicated animal physiotherapy clinic which has branches in both Cardiff and Swansea. He has made a huge improvement in the last 5 months and can now jump onto the top of our 6 foot garden fence and run along the top.
I thought you might like to see what physiotherapy in cats looked like. As well as the treadmill exercise show in the video, he has also be receiving acupuncture and we have doing exercises with him at home.
Hip dysplasia is a more common problem in dogs than cats, where is tends to affect large breed dogs such as Labradors and German Shepherd dogs. Young dogs which are reluctant to exercise, have hip pain, are unwilling to jump or bunny hop when running, may be showing signs of hip dysplasia. Left untreated it progresses relatively quickly to arthritis, but with treatment, most dogs and cats with hip dysplasia cat live a normal life.
Anyone considering breeding from a animal in a breed know to have hip dysplasia should have their animal screened before breeding. In dogs there is a Kennel Club scheme to screen dogs of affected breed before breeding, with recognised low breed values.
If you are an Ash Veterinary Surgery client and think your pet could have hip dysplasia or feel that your pet would benefit from referral to the SMART Clinic then please contact Ash Veterinary Surgery to arrange an appointment.