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Pushing back the boundaries in neuro rehab

Neurological problems can be devastating for animals, leaving them weak, paralysed or unable to co-ordinate their movements. Sometimes major surgery is needed for patients with problems such as ruptured intervertebral discs or spinal fractures. It used to be considered that as nerves tend to heal less well than say for example, skin or bone, that the chances of recovery were always poor. We know now that our patients’ nervous systems, like our own, have spare capacity and are far more plastic and adaptable than we realised, and that with the right help early in the course of injury, some patients can make amazing recoveries. However, extreme care is needed, for the wrong activities, no matter how well intentioned, can make things worse instead of better. A couple of weeks ago, Rhona was part of a small group of rehab vets and physiotherapists taking part in a seminar in Cardiff looking at the latest scientific research and techniques in treating patients with neurological injuries and diseases in order to help more animals like Shadow. Shadow suffered a major spinal injury when a herniated disc left him paralysed for several weeks even though emergency specialist surgery went as well as possible, but with his owner’s commitment and ARC’s help he recovered the ability to walk again.