Case File

Bobbie, 5 year old black Labrador - a Case Story

by Viv Ridley Veterinary Physiotherapist and Fran Horton Hydrotherapist/Veterinary Nursing Assistant

Bobbie is a 5 year old female black Labrador. In January 2022, Bobbie ruptured the cranial cruciate ligament in her right knee. This causes the knee joint to be unstable and very painful to walk on. Bobbie underwent surgery at Watkins & Tasker Vets to stabilise the joint and then had to go on 2-4 weeks of rest to allow healing to take place. Bobbie also incurred the same injury in her left knee as a 2 year old and so this complicated her recovery.

Bobbie came into in March 2022 for physiotherapy and hydrotherapy to help rehabilitate her from her injury. After her initial physiotherapy assessment, it was clear that Bobbie still suffered with some pain in her right knee, severe muscle wastage and also had sore muscles elsewhere in her body from compensating.

We started her on a physiotherapy plan that included massage to release tension from her muscles, laser therapy to reduce the pain in her knee, and remedial physio exercises to target muscle building in her back right leg. We saw Bobbie in practice for weekly treatments and sent her home with a remedial exercise plan for her owner to complete daily with her so she could continue her progress between sessions. Bobbie’s owner was extremely dedicated to complete her prescribed exercises which greatly helped Bobbie along her road to recovery.


After 4 weeks of her physiotherapy plan, Bobbie was much more comfortable in her right knee and had started to build the muscle up to allow her to use her leg. However, she was still placing her back right leg out to the side and we were concerned that she would continue to suffer with sore muscles due to her abnormal gait.

At the end of April 2022, Bobbie started hydrotherapy in our underwater treadmill. Our aim for her hydrotherapy treatment was to continue building muscle strength, and to re-pattern Bobbie’s gait so she could walk normally on land and reduce the risk of her sustaining another injury.

After a further 6 weeks of hydrotherapy, Bobbie now has even muscle mass in her back legs, and is using her back right leg normally, preventing her from muscle soreness and further injuries. She has now been signed off from rehabilitation and is back to enjoying playing and walking with her family – something she would be too sore and weak to do if she hadn’t done the appropriate rehabilitation following her surgery.

Although we miss seeing Bobbie’s smiley face each week we are happy that she is back enjoying life as she was before her injury.