Doggy Dash for Life 2013

Rhona and Corran finish the doggy dashCorran and Rhona joined lots of other excited dogs and their owners to take part in the ‘Doggy Dash for Life 2013’ yesterday and raise money for Cancer Research UK. This is a great event with participating pooches being sponsored to complete a circuit round Hollingworth Lake, Littleborough. After a few anxious weeks for the organisers, the weather was lovely and a great time was had by all! We have some lovely souvenirs with our competitor’s dog bandanna and rosette, as well as our lovely goodie bag, although Corran has polished off most of the edibles already including our tombola prize!

This is an annual event, so keep a look out for details of next year’s entry details- we’ll post them as we hear them!

Murphy has spring in his steps again!

shadesPlaying in the snowPossibly our coolest rehab patient sent us these photos today, and they couldn’t have showcased our recent weather better! Murphy visited ARC with a painful shoulder injury that was making him limp badly and really limiting his ability to move. We’re pleased to say that after his treatment he’s back to his old self and together with his family has been having a whale of a time in the snow. Thanks for the update Murphy!

Did you spot us in the paper?

Weight WatchingThose of our friends who read the Sunday Times might have seen our cameo appearance last Sunday on page 12- Rhona and Martin were interviewed as part of an article regarding overweight pets and exercise! At this time of year when so many people resolve to lose weight and get fit, the focus was on the nation’s pets which are sadly steadily becoming more obese. Carefully controlled exercise under professional guidance is an excellent way to lose weight and get fit, but many people are still unaware of the existence of centres like ours and the benefits that can be offered.

If your pet is one of those struggling to shed excess weight and at increased risk of problems such as painful arthritis, diabetes and heart disease, we can help.

Clair joins the ARC team

We pleased to announce that Clair Batley RVN is joining the Animal Rehabilitation Centre team! Clair is a Registered Veterinary Nurse with a wealth of experience which includes working in a specialist veterinary orthopaedic centre and veterinary nurse training. Her face will soon become familiar to our visitors as she takes up the challenge of veterinary rehab and we’re proud to have her on board. Visit our main website’s ‘About ARC’ page to check out her biography and meet the rest of the team too!

Winter warm up

A day out in the mountains of Snowdonia this past weekend reminded us just how cold lakes and rivers get in winter in this part of the world… good job there was a nice warm inn at the end of the day! For those keen canine swimmers out there though, cold water is a problem. Reduced blood circulation to the limbs and rapid dissipation of body heat in cold water can cause hypothermia, stiff sore muscles and pain in arthritic joints.
Help is at hand however! We are pleased to announce that extended availability of our popular ‘Splash & Dash’ sessions over the winter months means Fido can exercise and have fun in warm clean water in perfect safety for a bargain £16. More slots are available, including mid-week- call us on 01484 450022 to book!

Taboo joins the Animal Rehabilitation Centre Hall of Fame!

Taboo and her team on their recent camping holiday in Wales

This is Taboo (centre) with the other canine members of her family. Taboo has recently recovered from serious spinal injury with the help of ARC, and as a seriously skilled, multi-tasking beagle, she sent us her own report of her experiences. It was too good to keep to ourselves, so we’ve published it. Swing by our hall of fame page to hear Taboo’s story!

Vienna here we come!

With only six weeks to go until the world’s veterinary rehabilitation professionals congregate in Vienna for the biennial International Association of Veterinary Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy symposium, the final program has been published and we’re getting excited. Rhona will be attending with several of the BVRSMA team and is looking forward to attending wet labs on some very interesting topics such as canine biomechanics and monitoring the cardiovascular system during exercise. There will be also be a full day devoted to canine hip dysplasia, a subject very close to our hearts. The last symposium in Alabama was a fantastic event and we can’t wait to enjoy the rare opportunity of the vet rehab world coming to Europe. It promises to be a superb week and we’ll be reporting back on our return!

IAVRPT 2012 Vienna- Program


Spreading the message about Leonberger Polyneuropathy with Nando

Life can be unfair.

Nando’s been visiting us at ARC since he was just six months old. He’s a busy dog; in between his PAT duties and dog club, he has his physio to squeeze in religiously. Nando suffers from an inherited disease called Leonberger Polyneuropathy which means that his nerve control is slowly deteriorating. His owner found out from a voluntary blood test that became newly available when he just months old that sadly the genes he inherited from his parents meant he would succumb to the problem early in life, and they set about doing everything they can to help him cope. At the same time, they’re doing their best to make sure other people know more about polyneuropathy to help other owners, dogs and breeders deal with this devastating disease.


Visit our website to read more about Nando’s story and about this gentle, playful giant works, rests and plays happily despite the difficulties he’s had- his story is an inspiration.



Water palaver!


Water. We’ve got a lot of that at ARC- in fact, at any time, there’s approximately 1600 litres in the underwater treadmill system and 9000 litres (yes, 9 tonnes!) in the swimming pool. The two systems are separate and are managed quite differently- the swimming pool is quite a large body of water with a steady constant filtering system which means sudden changes in the water balance are less common and easier to control with daily monitoring. The underwater treadmill system is more like a spa or jacuzzi because of the warm temperature (both operate at 26-28C) and the constant mass turbulent motion of the water pumping in and out of the treadmill chamber, and it demands very close attention with water sampling and adjustment between every few patients and a total change one or two times per week.

Water balance is a fine art. Our systems employ both coarse and fine net filters, sand filters and ultra-violet to clean the water of hair, debris and microorganisms. We use a photometer to accurately test the pH and total alkalinity of the water to check the acidity balance and buffering capacity so that it lies in the correct range to avoid irritating skin and eyes and to ensure the sanitisers can work efficiently. We also test the level of the bromine sanitiser we use to keep the water safe from pathogens very carefully and make micro-adjustments throughout the day. We also regularly send water samples and swabs to a specialist lab to check for unwelcome bacteria.

One of the bigger challenges with a system used by our furry friends is the oil that coats their hair and makes it waterproof- this sheds into the water making a fine milky emulsion. Long haired dogs can shed a surprising amount in a few minutes, making a little ‘tidemark’ on the chamber. To ensure the filters can effectively deal with natural coat oils, we need to use clarifier- which affects the pH- which affects the sanitiser…… so behind the scenes, we’re constantly beavering away to keep our water perfectly clean, warm and safe for pets and for people.

Conference time

trade stands

Last week Amy and Emma attended the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA, FECAVA and BSAVA) Congress at the ICC in Birmingham. There was a wide ranging lecture programme for both vets and nurses, and Amy and Emma attended all the nursing stream lectures in veterinary physiotherapy and rehabilitation, covering topics including post-operative rehab and pain management, home exercise programmes and rehab nursing goals.

Vets and Vet Nurses are expected to complete a certain amount of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) every year to keep up to date, and staying at the head of the field is important to all of us at ARC, so an event like WSAVA is a great place to discuss new techniques and equipment and current thinking.

It’s also an ideal opportunity to check out new products and supplies at the trade exhibition, and Emma and Amy were both very impressed with a new range of wet-to-dry towel coats in particular which they think our swimmers will love, so watch this space as new stock should be arriving soon!