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In-Discussion with Bethany Cliffe BSc

In-Discussion with Bethany Cliffe BSc, Physiotherapist

Our rehabilitation provision plays a vital role in our multi-disciplinary offering at Pride Veterinary Referrals. Located within the hospital means that the rehabilitation team can work closely with various disciplines such as orthopaedics, soft tissue, and neurology. Whether it be the conservative management of a long-term condition or pre and post-operative management of surgical cases, the 4-strong team provide vital physiotherapy and hydrotherapy to patients from across the UK.

We caught up with Bethany Cliffe BSc, Physiotherapist, who provided us with an overview of her role and the wider rehabilitation provision at Pride Veterinary Referrals.

‘Our experienced team is made up of three physiotherapists and one hydrotherapist. For physiotherapy, we offer treatments inclusive of manual therapy, electrotherapy and remedial exercise. Additionally, for hydrotherapy, we have excellent facilities for patients including a hydrotherapy pool and underwater treadmill.

‘Pursuing a career within physiotherapy felt natural. From a young age, I have always had horses that tended to injure themselves therefore, I have always been interested in the rehabilitation side of injury and injury prevention through remedial exercise.

‘A typical day is usually very busy for us as a team in which we can see upwards of 11-13 outpatients and inpatients per day. We have most recently introduced inpatient physiotherapy for dogs and cats post orthopaedic surgery. We see these patients in the hospital, treat them and then discharge them providing their owners with remedial exercise programmes.

‘A particularly memorable patient for me was a dog called Kevin. Kevin came into the hospital at the end of April 2022 at around 5 months old. He was in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (SIRS) and became unable to walk. We saw him after he had been hospitalised for three weeks and then again, once he became comfortable enough to pursue physiotherapy. We saw Kevin for daily physiotherapy to help improve his restricted joint range of motion and to teach him how to walk. He was unable to use the underwater treadmill due to the wounds that covered his body. The team therefore provided purely land based physiotherapy. Kevin now leads a comfortable and happy life – He’s a playful young dog and can happily run and play with other dogs.

‘The most common cases the team tend to see are post orthopaedic surgery and post spinal surgery. We see a wide range of other patients such as working/agility dogs whereby owners want to improve fitness and prevent injury to old arthritic dogs. Many owners aren’t aware that land based physiotherapy is an excellent way to improve and maintain long term conditions. We can help owners to feel confident to perform physiotherapy at home by demonstrating different remedial exercises.

‘The most rewarding part of my role is seeing the positive effect we have on a patients quality of life, regardless of what stage of life they’re in.’