Reggie the wobbly dog

20/11/2023 by in Case Studies, All, Dog, News

Reggie is a 6 year old male Doberman owned by Jess Woodrow and is a client of Claire Lawrence, a McTimoney Animal Chiropractor. Initially Reggie was seen for maintenance treatments every three months as he was competing at agility. It is important to ensure that competition animals have regular check-ups and agility is a high-speed and demanding sport, albeit very good fun for the dogs. However, about two years ago Reggie developed a swaying gait of his hindlimbs and had lost his enthusiasm for agility. Reggie was holding his head down low and swinging his hind limbs to the side in a circular motion, (also sometimes called circumduction.) His range of motion in his neck was limited to the right and Reggie also demonstrated a pain response on palpation of the lumbosacral junction in his lower back. There was asymmetry in the lower back lumbar vertebrae and a significant rotation of the pelvis down on one side was noted. Reggie was also found to have proprioceptive deficits of his left hind limb, meaning that he couldn’t easily tell where his left hind limb was positioned. These findings were all new for Reggie and were a cause for concern as they indicated that he was in some pain with a potential underlying condition that was affecting him.

PhotoCredit: Zooming Pixels

McTimoney Animal Chiropractors are highly trained to recognise symptoms suggestive of underlying pathology or disease so having noted these new symptoms Claire referred Reggie back to his vet. Reggie was then referred on to a specialist vet to investigate the cause of his neck pain and altered gait. An MRI, (a special machine that provides very detailed pictures of the anatomy of the body,) revealed that Reggie had a neural disease called ‘wobblers’ and it was causing compression of the spinal cord at C6-7 which is at the base of neck. Compression of the spinal cord interrupts the signals sent from the brain to the body and back again along the nerves, causing a range of symptoms including pain, loss of sensation in other areas of the body and difficulty controlling the body hence the way Reggie was now swinging his hindlimbs. Reggie underwent surgery to resolve the issue in the base of the neck but unfortunately the pins used in Reggie’s surgery failed several months later and the decision was made to manage his condition more conservatively.

Since then Reggie has been receiving regular McTimoney treatment which has proved very beneficial in managing the compensatory issues that arise from his altered gait. Reggie often has a rotation and tilt of his pelvis so rather than standing with his hindquarters level he is asymmetrical before treatment, but after using McTimoney adjustments he is much more comfortable and the circumduction of his hind limbs is visibly reduced. The McTimoney chiropractic technique is extremely gentle and can be applied to cases where there is an underlying pathology where appropriate veterinary intervention has been carried out first. Claire says, “Reggie loves his treatment and there is always a visible improvement in Reggie’s gait and posture after a treatment. The circumduction of his hind legs is reduced and he has a straighter top line and improved proprioception. As Reggie’s condition needs lifelong management he is seen by myself every 2-4 weeks.” Reggie also goes for regular underwater treadmill hydrotherapy to help maintain his muscle mass and to help with proprioception.

McTimoney chiropractic has helped Reggie with the effects on his musculoskeletal system and it also improves his neurological function too. This has helped to manage Reggie’s pain and means that he is still able to lead a relatively normal life despite the fact that he has wobblers. Reggie is doing well and although his agility career had to stop he has found a second career participating in hoopers, (a new sport where dogs run a course of hoops rather than jumps,) which he thoroughly enjoys. Owner Jess Woodrow says, ”Having Claire as part of Reggie’s lifelong care has helped us really understand and meet his canine needs while living with a degenerative disease. She is extremely knowledgeable in her area of speciality as a McTimoney Chiropractor, she is compassionate towards owners as well as the dogs ensuring that we are all comfortable during our sessions. Claire takes the time to explain what is going on with Reggie and how we can help manage his condition at home by teaching us exercises to help manage his pain and maintain good musculoskeletal health. If I have been concerned about Reggie between appointments she will always take the time to review video footage and will reassure us that everything is okay between our appointments or add in an additional session if she felt it was needed. I do believe having his McTimoney treatment caught the wobblers diagnosis early as we were able to notice and pick up subtle changes in his behaviour, posture, gait and musculoskeletal system, having written reports and findings to back up my comments to the vets did help and push for him to be investigated. Without regular McTimoney treatment Reggie would not be able to take part in hoopers once per week and live a happy comfortable life. During each treatment you can see Reggie’s response and behaviour change, he becomes more relaxed, less tense and generally more happy. After the treatment, it’s like having our little puppy back again, he’s so happy, able to move more freely, he has more energy and is less tired but he still needs lots of rest. Claire has helped us come to terms with Reggie’s diagnosis, with him being diagnosed at the young age of 3, we felt that we’d lost our young dog, Claire helped us to adapt Reggie’s lifestyle to ensure he is still getting the fulfilment he needed physically and mentally. I often recommend Claire daily to a range of dog owners and training clients for treatment’.

Claire is based near Attleborough in Norfolk,