DANNY the collie cross has a wag back in his tail – and it’s all down to vet Nadine Lightbody.
The 11-year-old family pet was in agony with spinal problems when owner Cindy Walker took him along to a pain clinic at the Beechwood Veterinary Group in Leeds.
Now thanks to regular sessions with Nadine, Danny – a former agility competitor – has a spring back in his step, much to the delight of Cindy who lives in the Belle Isle area of Leeds where she loves to walk him.
Nadine has just set up the Beechwood Veterinary Group’s pain clinics and uses acupuncture to treat Danny on his visits to the surgery every two to three weeks. He also goes for hydrotherapy at a specialist centre in Morley.
Cindy, who with husband Graham and son Ashley adopted Danny from a rescue centre as a pup, is amazed at the changes in him since he started the treatment three months ago.
“Each time I take him along I see a difference,” she said.
“I can tell when he is ready for his treatment because he slows down. Afterwards he is much perkier and even wags his tail which he had stopped doing because he was in so much pain.”
Earlier this year Cindy noticed Danny was slowing down and not so eager to go for walks. She took him to Beechwood Vets where x-rays discovered he had spondylosis in his spine – fusion of the vertebrae in his lower back.
“I was really sad to see him like that. He didn’t want to go for a walk, which wasn’t like him. He used to do agility training and was always keen to get out but he was just getting slower and slower. He kept lying down and just wasn’t himself,” said Cindy.
“Now he is receiving regular treatment for the pain he is a much happier dog. He doesn’t walk as far as he used to because he is getting older but at least he is happy to do some walking. He’s quite happy during the acupuncture and is so relaxed he even falls asleep with the needles in his back.”
Nadine, a vet at Beechwood for three years, launched the pain clinics so she had more time to spend with animals and their owners. They run for around an hour whereas normal consultations last about 10 minutes.
“This extra time allows me to get to know the owner and their pets. I can find out about their lifestyle, their biggest worries and what they are hoping to achieve. Some people want to get back running with their dog or play ball in the garden while others just want them to enjoy a good quality of life without pain.
“In these clinics we discuss a variety of issues from medication to acupuncture and exercise. We talk about where best to put their bed and about putting down runners to stop them slipping on hard floors. I might also recommend physio or hydrotherapy.
“With a young animal it can be difficult to recognise painful long-standing conditions. In older pets, it is easier to spot problems because if they have been fit you can see the change as they start to suffer pain.
“It is important to recognise when an animal is in pain. Sometimes it can be seen in their behaviour. Aggression in dogs can be a sign as can fear and anxiety. Cats struggling to use their litter trays can also be a signal that they are in pain and distress.”
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