Professor Noel has a serious case of puppy love when he meets a 6-week-old Miniature Dachshund puppy with a problem foot.

Wendy and Bertie have brought their Miniature Dachshund Binkie and her litter of three puppies to Fitzpatrick Referrals to see what can be done for one of their pups, Peggy, who is not walking as well as her brother and sister.

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Noel examines Peggy and informs Wendy and Bertie that the flexor tendons in Peggy’s left forelimb are too tight relative to the growth of the bone, and while Peggy is growing so rapidly this problem could get increasingly worse and cause the foot to grow in a deformed and knuckled over fashion. This could cause pressure sores and significant disability.

Noel does not think surgery is necessary and is glad they have brought her in when they did – just in time to make a rapid difference to the outcome using intensive physiotherapy. Peggy will stay at the practice to be treated by the specialist physiotherapists at Fitzpatrick Referrals.

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Chartered Physiotherapist Sam Gates and other members of the team treat Peggy by gradually extending her toes and stretching the contracted tendons frequently, supported during rest inside an extension splint. Hydrotherapy in the underwater treadmill supervised by the hydrotherapists, allows Peggy to actively move her digits and continue to stretch the tight tendons. The water provides buoyancy which removes the effect of Peggy’s body weight on the leg and because the belt moves against the water, the little tendons and ligaments in Peggy’s foot are gradually strengthened. After a couple of weeks of intensive rehab, Peggy has turned the corner and begins to walk more and more normally on her paw until she can return home.

Peggy is now walking normally and her wriggly bottom is back at home alongside her Mum Binkie. High (and newly stretched) fives all round!