Julia Martin Case Studies

Helping to deliver an improved quality of life

Successful physiotherapy treatment comes from understanding your patient as an individual, says Julia Martin.

“Every dog or cat has its own personality, and it’s important to work within that framework,” she says. “In the early stages of physiotherapy, especially in relation to reducing pain, being aware of how a dog or cat is able to relax is an important consideration. Particularly in the more complex cases, the more relaxed a pet is while being handled, the more effective the treatment will be.

“However in the intermediate and more advanced stages of rehabilitation, there will be a need to consider other factors. It may be a breed trait; for instance, the very active intelligent mentality of border collies (see Sapphie, below) and German shepherd dogs means these breeds particularly need to be mentally stimulated and encouraged to use their senses, i.e. smell, sound, sight, touch and taste, to aid recuperation.

“It is important to progressively devise and adapt techniques to each animal’s abilities and instincts, to encourage and stimulate the movements desired to assist healing and recovery.

“This is not restricted to pedigree animals, of course: every dog or cat is an individual and if you can get to know the animal’s likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, and overall personality, you can build a good rapport and develop a bond of trust between you. It’s absolutely vital.”

It’s important to remember that physiotherapy can help not only in dramatic cases such as road accidents or life-threatening illnesses, but also with widespread conditions such as arthritis and soft tissue problems.

“Physiotherapy can be of assistance in most situations where an animal’s movement has been impaired,” says Julia.

“Many pets are faced with mobility problems every day, and it’s good to know that physiotherapy can help deliver an improved quality of life.”

SAPPHIE: The Bravest Pet in Sussex

Clinical summary: Orthopaedic multi-trauma

Sapphie, a seven-year-old border collie, was left with horrific injuries to three of her legs after a road traffic accident. But now, after six operations and a series of physiotherapy treatments, she is back on all fours – and her determination to make a full recovery led to her winning the 2007 ‘Bravest Pet in Sussex’ award.

Sapphie’s story is outstanding because of the extensive and extremely complicated injuries she suffered. The damage was so severe that, following surgery, she was left with much supporting metalwork, both internally and externally, and was immobile for several months.

Read more about Sapphie…

ZUKA: Good recovery after road accident

Clinical summary: Pelvic fracture requiring femoral head excision arthroplasty

Physiotherapy played a vital part in the recovery and rehabilitation of Zuka, a young Saluki whose pelvis was shattered in a road accident. X-rays showed serious and extensive fractures, and to add to the challenge, Zuka was severely underweight and nervous of both people and other dogs.

After a four-hour operation to reconstruct his pelvis and several days in intensive care, Zuka was allowed short lead walks and his confidence began to grow. He was introduced to Julia just two weeks after his operation.

Zuka is now back to full mobility.

Read more about Zuka…

Sapphie and Zuka are outstanding examples of the benefits physiotherapy can bring. They are just two of the many pets Julia has helped; please click on the links below for details of others.