Griff is a Working English Springer Spaniel, 2 years old, the owner was concerned that he seemed very tired, had low endurance and was randomly aggressive, she also commented on he rarely seems excited about going out, rarely jumps unless necessary, was good on lead but usually walked with tail between his legs, didn’t have the normal ESS busyness. When tired he got jumpy and fractious, he didn’t like sitting and would usually drop into a lie. He slept a lot, quickly and very deeply and was startled/aggressive if woken. The local vet had done a pain trial with rimadyl but this was stopped after 10 days as aggression seemed worse. He then had an X-ray and CT scan; no hip problems but the CT scan showed two minor abnormalities on the spine – vet thought it unlikely they were causing pain and suggested that it was a behavioural issue. The owner saw a behaviourist who suggested that he was in pain.
I saw the dog in late July 2022, after undertaking a thorough physical inspection and filming him moving I discovered a muscle strain in the right groin accompanied by an immobile spine, tight chest and back muscles and poor development of his hind quarter muscles; in my opinion the root cause was the groin strain which was causing the dog to move in an unnatural way placing strain on other parts of the body. We undertook a course of physiotherapy, 10 sessions over 4 months, to treat the strain and loosen the back and chest accompanied by bi-weekly sessions of hydrotherapy (walking on a treadmill with water providing resistance) to build muscle in a low impact environment. The owner was also given an exercise regime to compliment the therapeutic work.
The owner reported that within 4 weeks the dog’s temperament and attitude had improved massively, he seemed keener to go for a walk, his tail was up and he was much more affectionate, although still prone to occasional aggression when tired – probably due to real or anticipated pain. After 16 weeks she reported him to be “a different dog”, whilst still not a jumper he is energetic, busy and clearly enjoys being outside.