We’re pleased to make Bear May’s Patient of the Month!

Bear is big and bouncy Labradoodle with a deep, playful bark and sweet nature. At only six years old, Bear is very much in his prime and has always been an extremely active dog, loving his life in Norfolk with his owner, and his fellow Labradoodle playmate, Kitty. Bear never seemed to be obviously lame; however he suddenly became incredibly distressed, needy and just wouldn’t settle. Something was wrong, so his owner, Steve, made an appointment with his vet to get Bear checked out the next day.

An x-ray showed that the top of Bear’s left femur was considerably damaged and no longer sitting normally within the hip joint; something which must have been very painful for Bear but that he was very good at hiding. Bear was immediately referred to the Animal Health Trust to explore the option of a left hip replacement and our surgeons went ahead with the operation to fit a prosthetic femur and cup to fix the damaged hip.


In order to get back on his feet, Bear needed two months of limited exercise and rest and a course of physiotherapy. Matthew Scott, our in-house physiotherapist, started to work on Bear soon after the operation with a combination of ice packing and massage to help reduce the swelling. At his follow-up physio appointments Matthew was able to help Bear use the leg more and more by using weight shifting techniques and progressing onto do a series of sit to stands “doggie squats!”, low pole work (to get Bear moving his feet more) and various other physio techniques to gradually improve range of motion in the joint.

Once Bear had progressed enough with the physio and our vets were satisfied with his post-op x-rays, Bear was able to finish his rehabilitation with hydrotherapy to build up his strength and muscle mass. Bear had five sessions on the water treadmill, where Matthew was able to help improve Bear’s hip extension and overall movement, then three sessions in the hydrotherapy pool. Six months after his surgery, we’re pleased to report that Bear is back to being his big cheeky self again!

Bear’s owner, Steven, commented: “The quality of Bear’s care at the AHT has been nothing short of awesome. His consultant, the nurses, and the physio and hydro teams have all been incredible. When we’ve been coming in for his hydrotherapy, we’re often lucky enough to see many of the staff who looked after Bear during his surgery in the corridor and they always stop and give Bear a big dose of fuss.

“When Bear sees them,  he acts like he does if I’ve been away from home for a while and is so happy to see me. The reception team always know Bear’s name without even checking the computer and greet Bear with tons of enthusiasm. Everyone always says what a special dog Bear is…I agree, but we all think they’re special, don’t we?

“It’s been fantastic to know that Bear has been in such great hands throughout his treatment and rehabilitation, and the difference in him just a few months after major surgery is incredible, thanks to the careful aftercare, physio and hydrotherapy Bear received. Huge thanks to everyone involved in looking after our boy and getting back on his feet.”

Bear with surgery nurse Michelle, after his last swim