Samson is a Golden Retriever and is almost 12 years old.
When he was 7, the cruciate ligaments in both his hind legs were damaged.
To help him recover from his operations, he started swimming every week. As he’s grown older, problems have developed with his hips as well. This was making him quite unsteady on his feet, especially when trying to turn corners, when he would often stumble. Early in 2009 we visited Donaldsons as they were just opening their pet hydrotherapy facility. We explained Samson’s history and he was fully examined. Although the swimming had worked wonders on his knees, Rhona explained that the underwater treadmill would be better for his hip problems as it would make him extend his legs further than the swimming was doing and therefore strengthen his muscles.
He started on the treadmill twice per week initially, with the water level quite high to provide stability and walking at a steady pace. Over the past 9 months, we have seen Samson improve significantly. He can now walk much faster on the treadmill, with the water level lower. This shows he’s much more stable on his legs. Before going on the treadmill, the muscles on his hips on his hind legs were very poor, this has developed dramatically and he feels more solid again.
When he’s out walking with us, you can tell that he’s more confident in the new found strength he has
He finds it much easier to negotiate the furniture and wooden floors around the house (where he used to be cautious before) and he’s started playing with our younger dogs more.
He loves going on the treadmill and gets quite impatient if he has to wait for someone else to come off it (especially if it’s our other Golden Retriever Daisy who also goes on the treadmill)! Our vets had suggested early in 2009 that Samson may lose the use of his back legs completely in the next 12-18months. It’s now 12 months on and Samson is more mobile than he was a year ago, so I’m sure the treatment that Donaldsons have provided have extended Samson’s walking days significantly.