A veterinary physiotherapist’s five-year-old border collie has become a hit with clients as the star of demonstrations during video consults.
Nell, pet of Kentdale Referrals’ veterinary physiotherapist Eugenie Wilcocks, has helped provide the perfect solution for the centre in providing video consults in lieu of clients and their patients not being able to enter the Cumbria hospital during lockdown.
Ms Wilcocks, a member of the National Association of Veterinary Physiotherapists and Register of Animal Musculoskeletal Practitioners, said: “We introduced video consultations to ensure we could continue to provide a physiotherapeutic service to our patients during lockdown.
“I quickly realised the ‘hands on’ massage and exercise demonstrations I would normally perform on patients, to help owners fully understand how to perform these on their pets at home, would be difficult to achieve during virtual consultations.
“As Nell was used to being massaged and loves any extra fuss, the idea of bringing her into our Kentdale team as my ‘demonstration dog’ was the perfect solution through which to provide virtual demonstrations to our pet owners.
“It worked really well. Nell enjoyed the massage demonstrations and loved partaking in the exercises, as they are all treat-based to encourage accurate movement and reward correct execution.”
Asleep on job
Ms Wilcocks added: “Having Nell as part of the virtual consultation has been a lovely ice-breaker and provided a fantastic visual aid, although there were a few teething problems with clients occasionally struggling to see exactly where I was placing my hands as her black coat looked very 2D on screen.
“Perfecting the laptop camera angles was tricky in the beginning and sometimes owners could only see a dangling back leg or half of both our heads.
“While a very cooperative ‘colleague’, every now and then after a long day at work Nell would sometimes lose interest and go ‘on strike’ or, worst of all, fall asleep on her back with her legs in the air behind me.”
The videos have been such a hit with Kentdale clients that Nell’s career is likely to continue in video demonstrations beyond lockdown.