Buttons, Chihuahua- Rehabilitation of Fractured Spine




8.5 years




Rehabilitation following fracture of the cervical (neck) spine

Buttons has been attending the centre for hydrotherapy since February 17 following a dog attack which left him with a comminuted (2 or more pieces) fracture of his cervical (neck) spine.

Spinal fractures can result in varying degrees of damage to the spinal cord and surrounding soft tissues and supportive structures. There also may be other nerve impingement/injury which needs to be considered. There are many methods of stabilisation post injury and can include; screws and pins, plates, external fixators or combinations. Sometimes conservative management may be the preferred option and in Buttons case this was the chosen method due to the mild displacement (movement of bone fragments) and the significant risks of making him worse.

Initially post injury Buttons was tetraplegic (unable to stand) when he started his hydrotherapy it was 7 months post injury. A full assessment was carried out before gently introducing him to the hydrotherapy pool. It was found that Buttons was able to stand but he was ataxic (unsteady) and had prolonged fore limb proprioception (the sense of limb positioning).
The benefits of the water e.g. viscosity, resistance and buoyancy provides a suitable environment in order to gently improve Buttons strength, muscle and mobility. Buttons has made excellent progress starting with just 1 minute of active swimming in the first sessions with full buoyancy aid and lots of support increasing to currently being able to swim for 12 minutes with less support. A wide variety of activities are also performed to challenge his core stability, improve his flexibility and his condition is being improved (less ataxic and better limb positioning) with the use of ongoing hydrotherapy.

What The Client Said:

Since Buttons ( Teacup Chihuahua) started going to Pet Waves he has made tremendous progress.
Just over a year ago Buttons was attacked by another dog and suffered a broken neck (the top vertebrae which connects the skull to the spine was fractured in 3 places) he was in Langford for 2 weeks in ICU for most of the two weeks, once he was settled and they had done all they could we were allowed him back home. He was unable to do anything on his own, We were shown some physiotherapy moves for him but he wasn't making a lot of progress and we decided to try him with hydrotherapy.
Since starting hydrotherapy with Joanna and Matt, Buttons can now sit, stand, walk, run and of course swim! Joanna and team are the nicest, most genuine friendly people you could ever meet! It honestly is a pleasure taking our little miracle to Pet Waves once a week!