This year I’m running the Flora London Marathon to raise
money for the ACT; here’s why…
Just like people, many pets recovering from illness or surgery, and those with long standing
conditions such as arthritis can benefit from physiotherapy and rehabilitation programmes.
These are designed to speed up the return to health and mobility, sometimes reducing the
need for medication or avoiding the need for surgery. Having suffered from the after affects
of acute arthritis for several years during my early thirties, I can vouch for the benefits of
physiotherapy in the recovery period. In 2007 my own dog Otto, a German wirehaired
pointer had an unlucky accident in the snow that resulted in a fractured hock. Following
complicated orthopaedic surgery, he made a good recovery, and I am convinced that the
physiotherapy and hydrotherapy he received in the weeks after surgery helped make all the
At the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals we can offer a wide range of rehabilitation
programmes for cats and dogs provided by our team of highly qualified nurses under the
supervision of a qualified veterinary physiotherapist, each tailored to a pet’s individual
needs. Our current facilities include laser, ultrasound and other physical treatment
modalities, as well as a brand new hydrotherapy pool that allows non weight bearing
Hydrotherapy provides a weightless environment allowing muscles and limbs to be
exercised without unnecessary strain, and swimming is often used as part of a planned
programme for pre and post surgical cases, as well as being very effective as a fitness regime
and in weight loss and management. In many cases swimming is effective alongside
physiotherapy and improvements can be seen very quickly.
Our large self-contained swimming pool is fitted with jets can be used to increase the effort
needed to swim when necessary. The hydrotherapy sessions are run by experienced
qualified veterinary nurses, all of whom have attended Hawksmoor training courses.
The rehabilitation team would love to add a water walker/treadmill to our array of
treatment options and have been working hard to raise the necessary funds.
The water walker allows a patient to receive varying degrees of support by altering the
water level in the tank, easing the transition from non-weight bearing exercise in the pool, to
completely land based exercise: for example, many dogs that are able to swim following
spinal surgery, are not able to support their own weight on land: for these patients the water
walker offers a great way of getting them back to mobility. We need £25,000 to buy one.
I am lucky: and made a full recovery from arthritis, and was able to complete the Flora
London Marathon in 2006, and Ironman UK in the same year.
This year I am running the marathon again to raise money for the Animal Care Trust that
will enable dogs and cats seen at the RVC to stand a better chance of full recovery through
improved facilities for physiotherapy and rehabilitation.
If you would like to donate, please visit www.justgiving.com/grahammilligan4act
Anything you can do to help us would be hugely appreciated, thank you!
Director of Clinical Services
Trigger, a 3 year old Greyhound was admitted
to the Queen Mother Hospital because he
suffered sudden paralysis of all four limbs.
Neurological assessment and evaluation with
MRI showed the problem was caused by
damage to the spinal cord caused as a result of
disc disease. Trigger started having
physiotherapy and twice weekly hydrotherapy,
and within four months regained the use of his
legs. Trigger continues with regular hydrotherapy sessions as it helps with his balance and
Norman, an 8 year old French Bulldog, was admitted to
the Queen Mother Hospital with paralysis of his back
caused by intervertebral disc extrusion (a slipped disc).
This is a common condition in dogs and many small
breeds are predisposed to degeneration and hardening
of the intervertebral discs. Severe spinal cord injury can
occur if disc material escapes causing bruising and
compression of the spinal cord.
Norman had emergency surgery to remove the
compression from around his spinal cord. Norman
recovered very slowly post-operatively because of the
degree of damage to the nerves in his spinal cord. An
intensive physiotherapy treatment plan was initiated to help him re-learn how to use his
legs. This incorporated regular hydrotherapy and electromagnetic stimulation in addition to
daily physiotherapy by his owner Heidi Miller. Norman has gradually improved and is
now able to stand and walk, although he is still a little wobbly!