Merlins Story

Merlin was admitted as an in patient in June 2012 having been referred by Wylies Vets. He had severe muscle wastage and had could not walk without a sling for support. The vet considered Hydrotherapy as the best course of action to try and encourage the use and muscle build up of his hind legs.

On admission Merlin was overweight (34kg) and was knuckling on both hind legs, he was attempting to walk but was too unstable and couldn’t stand for any period of time and found it very difficult squatting to urinate.

Initially Merlin was very weak and managed 1 minute in the pool, after a few sessions we decided to try merlin in the water treadmill with a hydrotherapist supporting him and helping him correctly place his feet5 as this would be most beneficial for his condition. After 2 weeks merlin was showing great progress, he was much stronger on his legs and his muscle tone was greatly improving, following a consultation with the owners it was decided to continue his in patient treatment for a further 3 weeks.

His hydrotherapy treatment along with regular lead walks and diet continued for a total of 5 weeks by which time it was decided merlin was well enough to return home.

Merlins owners could not believe the difference in him, he was now able to walk really well without knuckling and completely unassisted. He was playing and running around off his lead and cocking his leg to urinate. His weight had dropped nearly 8kg and his muscle tone had increased by 1 ½ inches on his hind legs.

The owners where advised to continue his current diet of Burns High Oats and to exercise daily. His hydrotherapy has continued on a weekly basis and the owners tell us he really looks forward to coming.

VETS TESTIMONIAL - Veterinary Surgeon - Wylies Vets

" I first saw Merlin Hillyer on 22 June 2012. I had been called out to do a house visit because he was unable to use his back legs and had been dragging himself along with his front legs. He had been treated a month earlier with a short course of anti-inflammatories for right hind lameness but soon after his medication ended, his condition had deteriorated until that morning when he had lost the use of his back legs.

At the first visit I suspected that Merlin had on going osteoarthritis which in combination with excessive weight gain and decreased exercise had led to severe muscle wasting in hind legs. I gave his owner the option of a trial on anti-inflammatory medication and hospitalisation or euthanasia as Merlin was that unable to even go out to use the toilet on his own.

His owner agreed to trial Merlin on medication but was aware that at this stage the prognosis was very poor. X-rays confirmed hip dysplasia with secondary osteoarthritis as well as evidence of lumbosacral instability. Despite receiving two different types of pain relief and intensive nursing which involved using a sling to support his weight to help him walk, Merlin showed only modest improvement after a week in hospital.

At this stage I spoke to his owners and discussed sending him to Hainault Hydrotherapy for more intensive physiotherapy and hydrotherapy which we could not provide at the hospital. Unfortunately the only other option available would be putting him to sleep. Throughout all of this Merlin was always happy and a lovely patient to deal with so all of us the Wylie Veterinary Centre really wanted him to have the best possible chance.

The next time I saw Merlin was on the 10th of August after he had been at Hainault Hydrotherapy for about 6 weeks. The progress he had made can only be described as miraculous. Merlin had gone from 34kg to 26kg, he had increased muscle mass in both back legs and was running around like a puppy again. He still is on anti-inflammatory medication daily and he needs to keep on a strict diet and exercise plan but this is much better than the other alternative... "