We have a patient called Lola Norrish who came to the hospital in April 2014. She walked in with an acute onset of generalised muscle weakness and was degenerating fast.
Within weeks she started suffering from tetraplegia where all four limbs had no function and she was unable to even lift her head.
She was then diagnosed with Polyradiculoneuritis, a disease that renders the patient completely helpless, however recovery is usually within weeks to months. The myelin sheath covering nerves become inflamed and communication from the brain to the muscles are disrupted. The exact causes are unknown but it has been linked to racoon bites.
She was hospitalised and required 24 hour care for the next couple of months. We immediately started with basic physical rehabilitation that included frequent turning to prevent pressure wounds.
Passive movements of her joints were performed to prevent stiffness and pain, massage and soft tissue work to keep her comfortable as well as electrical muscle stimulation on her muscles to try and slow down the muscular atrophy. We also introduced supported standing exercises, core strengthening work on the peanut ball, as well as hydrotherapy.
As weak as she got physically, her spirit never wavered. As time went by she was not really showing any remarkable progress as usually expected with these cases.
Approaching the end of June she was able to keep her head up, swallowing and breathing was normal, she was able to move her front limbs and had slight movement in her back toes. We carried on with therapy changing her program as she showed progress.
By the following year in January she was walking with her front limbs, the muscle tone and strength improved nicely. She was able to walk over 20 minutes independently in the underwater treadmill.
At the beginning of March 2015 she walked a short distance independently for the first time! We were overjoyed! We tried putting her in a wheelchair but unfortunately her forelimbs lacked strength for support.
Sadly by October she reached somewhat of a plateau and no longer showed progress.
She had developed unstable hocks (ankles) and her muscular atrophy and weakness was so advanced and prolonged there was no bouncing back from that. Therapy continued, apart from her obvious lack in independent mobility she was otherwise healthy, happy and in good spirits. At the beginning of 2016 the decision was made to reduce her therapy sessions from twice a month to once – due to finances.
Shortly after the decision was made her owner gave us amazing news…
She contacted an organisation called Bailey’s Wellness Foundation in America and managed to get sponsorship for continued physical rehabilitation care for another year!
So Lola will continue with treatment, coming in every two weeks for manual therapy as well as hydrotherapy in the underwater treadmill.
They will also be sponsoring Lola a quadriplegic wheelchair in the near future. Lola has also been fortunate enough to have food sponsorship from Orijen dog food for the past year. Orijen dog food has the highest quality protein (fit for human consumption) on the market. It is no surprise that Lola is still in such impressive condition apart from being immobile.
Our love for this most special canine is immeasurable. She has taught us all such important lessons on acceptance, patience and love. It is an honour to be able to take care of and support this beautiful soul.”
Sr Antoinette Smit