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Paralysed dog walks again after hydrotherapy treatment

Calvin, a Staffordshire bull terrier, lost the use of his hind legs after an injury.

A dog who was paralysed in his hind legs is walking again thanks to pioneering hydrotherapy treatment.

Calvin, a five-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier cross, lost the use of his legs after a suffering an injury whilst running around in the garden.

Owner Joanna, who had adopted Calvin from the Dog and Cat Home in Edinburgh, said it was "scary to see a dog, who was always fit and healthy, suddenly lose the use of his back legs".

She told how Calvin was running down the garden one day, chasing birds when he let out a yelp of pain.

Joanna, who is now a self-employed dog walker, rushed to get him but Calvin was dragging his legs behind him.

Vets suspected a sudden blockage of the blood vessels supplying the spinal cord to be responsible, a condition called fibrocartilaginous embolism, which is similar to a stroke seen in people.

As part of his treatment at the University of Edinburgh's Royal School of Veterinary Studies, Calvin was referred to a new physiotherapy service at its Hospital for Small Animals.

He was given hydrotherapy treatment, which he was a bit nervous about at first as he had a fear of water.

However, working with a specialist team, he was slowly introduced to the tank and was soon walking away on the underwater treadmill.

The hydrotherapy helped support Calvin's body weight to get him back on his paws and eventually provided resistance to increase his muscle mass.

'I can't thank the vet school enough for all the hard work and care they have put into helping Calvin get better.'
Calvin's owner Joanna

By the time he had his last appointment, Calvin was walking along unaided. Joanna is delighted with his progress.

She said: "I can't thank the vet school enough for all the hard work and care they have put into helping Calvin get better.

"The recovery he has made over the last few months is incredible. He's pushed himself from day one with constant determination."

Helena Carruthers, a veterinary physiotherapist at the university said: "Calvin is fortunate to have an extremely dedicated owner, who has been working hard to follow bespoke daily physiotherapy plans with him at home in addition to the expert treatment he has received from us.

"We are thrilled with the progress Calvin has made."

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