Staffy Cassie enjoying new lease of life after ligament damage - Veterinary Practice
Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


Staffy Cassie enjoying new lease of life after ligament damage

A Staffordshire Bull Terrier left lame and limping by osteoarthritis, muscle loss and cruciate ligament damage has undergone a dramatic transformation thanks to a pioneering Scottish vet practice

Eighteen months of expert non-surgical care, including laser treatment, intensive physiotherapy and hydrotherapy, has seen eight-year-old Cassie make a remarkable recovery after she was left struggling to walk due to ligament damage and arthritis. Her delighted owner Laura Swanson is now full of gratitude and praise for the treatment her precious pet received at Linnaeus-owned Greenside Veterinary Practice in the Scottish Borders.  

Laura said: “I cannot thank Greenside and their staff enough for the work they did with Cassie, especially clinical director Andy Armitage, Amy Mathers and Katherine Torrens for their dedicated time, effort and commitment to her treatment and recovery.

“We’d noticed Cassie was limping on her front leg and generally seemed slow and lacking in mobility, so took her straight to Greenside where tests showed she had ligament damage in her shoulder as well arthritis throughout her whole body.

“A year-and-a-half on and the difference is incredible! Cassie has made amazing progress. Her ligament damage has healed and her arthritis is so well managed that it’s barely an issue for her now – the treatment has been truly life-changing for Cassie.”

Greenside’s Andrew Armitage devised Cassie’s care plan after studying x-rays which highlighted the Staffy’s widespread problems. Andrew explained: “She had muscle loss in her right forelimb, as well as poor muscle mass through her left hind, so we carried out radiographs of her elbows, shoulders, stifles, hips and spine.

“These showed bilateral shoulder osteoarthritis, bilateral elbow osteoarthritis, bilateral stifle osteoarthritis, mild bilateral hip osteoarthritis as well as left cruciate ligament degeneration, the right had already ruptured, and lumbosacral disease.

“A musculoskeletal ultrasound scan also found bilateral shoulder tendinopathies meaning there was damage and disruption to the fibres of her shoulder, soft tissue structures as well as bilateral iliopsoas tendinopathy caused by repeated strain and damage.

“It was interesting to see the damage and lameness manifesting in the right fore limb, as it is commonly seen that dogs will shift their weight diagonally. So, what we suspect has happened is, following deterioration of her left cruciate ligament, she has off-loaded the limb to alleviate pain and this has overloaded her right forelimb, causing repeated damage to her shoulder soft tissue structures.”

Andrew discussed the options with owner Laura, who opted for a conservative approach to include medication, exercise moderation, weight loss and physiotherapy with therapist Kathryn Torrens. Katherine, who worked as part of the team treating Cassie for her ligament damage, said: “Cassie was reduced to lead walks only, was stopped from using stairs or jumping and we advised her owners to lay mats over slippery surfaces.

“I then worked with Dr Armitage to decide on appropriate pain medication so we were able to strengthen support structures around the affected limbs and we also brought her weight down from 22 kilograms to 18 kilograms.

“Class IV laser therapy was utilised to resolve the inflammation in the affected areas with massage used to release any tight areas of muscle. A home exercise plan of exercises was introduced to improve the quality of the tissues that were damaged. We saw Cassie weekly or fortnightly for the first six months and she was gradually challenged in terms of therapeutic exercise difficulty and on lead exercise.

“Once she was fully comfortable, she then started underwater treadmill therapy for overall conditioning and to address weakness around affected areas. She then completed six months of hydrotherapy before being referred back to physiotherapy for long-term maintenance This long-term management of symptoms and trying to slow the degeneration of her conditions were our goals and we’re so pleased Cassie has responded really well.”

To find out more about at Greenside Veterinary Practice, visit their website.

Have you heard about our
IVP Membership?

A wide range of veterinary CPD and resources by leading veterinary professionals.

Stress-free CPD tracking and certification, you’ll wonder how you coped without it.

Discover more