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Puppy Pool

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Just recently Noddy's back legs have been giving him gyp. For an 11-year-old boxer he's incredibly spritely, but he had a bit of a tumble about a fortnight ago and he's been limping ever since. Not that it slowed him down much, even with the limp he was dragging me to the field and careering around like a lunatic for 20 minutes. But the limp wasn't getting any better.

He was at the vets last week for his annual vaccinations and the vet didn't really sound all that positive. Got the impression his attitude was that Noddy was already about three years older than his predicted lifetime, and most boxers actually get difficulties like this when they're five or six. Sounded like he was saying Noddy's had a good innings and this was just old age and this was the beginning of the end for the little pest-chops.

Well, bollocks to that. We got some anti-inflammatory medicine, and we increased the amount of cod liver oil he was having. We've also started giving him treats with Glucosamine in them, which is very good for dog's joints. Saw an immediate improvement in his walking, it's definitely taking effect.

The vet also told us that Noddy has been putting all his weight on his front legs because of the problem with his back joints, and the muscle has wasted away in his back legs. So we decided the best thing for him would be to give canine hydrotherapy a crack. Noddy's never been a swimmer, he likes a paddle but used to always stop when the water touched his tummy, he never liked going any further in than that. At the puppy pool he was fitted with a life jacket and an inflatable collar so his head wouldn't dip under the water.

He didn't seem to like it all that much, but he was very brave. The therapist was in the pool with him holding on to his life jacket and kind of pushing him up and down the pool whilst he kicks his little legs about swimming along. I had to run alongside the pool shouting encouragement so he would swim towards me and not just try and climb out. I ended up drenched too.

Every lap of the pool was the equivalent of a mile's trot and he did six or seven laps in his first session. He wasn't all that keen on the swimming, but he was enjoying all the attention anyway so I think he had a good time overall. He's booked in for a couple of sessions a week now for the next six weeks, I'll try to get some photos next time he looks a right star in his life preserver.

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