SAAPRA Conference 2018

Cape Town, Western Cape
Friday, 19 October 2018

Venue: Ruslamere Hotel, Spa and Conference Centre
Speaker:  Lowri Davies

12:00  Tea and Registration
13:00  Gait analysis and examination (Lowri Davies)
15:00  How to develop a therapeutic exercise program (Lowri Davies)                              
 AGM (RSVP please)
19:00  Dinner (RSVP please)


Venue: Ruslamere Hotel, Spa and Conference Centre
Speaker:  Lowri Davies

08:00   Registration and tea
09:00   The Patient is lame, the X-rays are clear - where is the pain?
09:45  Common Soft tissue conditions in cats and dogs and how to identify them?
10:30  Break
11:00  The role of secondary undiagnosed soft tissue pathologies in maintaining lameness
11:45  Its not all about the joint - Muscle form and function?
12:30  Lunch
13:30   Muscle pain - a common cause of lameness
14:15   Fascia - does it really matter
15:00  Break
15:30  Rehabilitation of muscle , ligament and tendon injuries

SYNOPSIS of the Topics

Gait Analysis Wetlab

The lab of gait analysis and clinical examination will focus on the difference between assessing movement and straight forward lameness diagnosis. It will look at how video analysis, land treadmill evaluation and pressure mat systems can assist with lameness evaluation and which tools can be useful in providing objective data to quantify progress. It will look at how to correctly challenge a dog to highlight subtle gait issues and following on from this how tools used in therapeutic exercise programmes can also assist with assessing movement patterns.


Therapeutic exercise Wetlab

The therapeutic exercise regime will focus on how to evaluate whether the choice of exercise is actually serving its purpose e.g. how to distinguish whether forelimb stabilization is being correctly achieved or whether it is relying on specific or focal muscle groups which will inevitably lead to overuse and failure to restore soundness long term. It will also focus on how to differentiate between developing a skilled movement pattern in terms of neuromotor recruitment as opposed to using strength as a coping strategy.

The Patient is lame , the X rays are clear - where is the pain?

The lecture will consider the difference between acute and chronic pain. It will look at how pain can persist in the absence of an obvious tissue focus. It will address the relevance of radiographic changes in a clinical context and why radiographic examination as a stand alone diagnostic tool can often be missleading. It will also consider how pain and nociception are two different entities and why there can be a missmatch between pain and lameness scores. It will introduce the concept of a “lameness jigsaw”.

Common soft tissue conditions in cats and dogs and how to diagnose them

The lecture will consider the most common soft tissue injuries encountered in small animal practice to include :

  •  Achilles Tendinopathy
  •  Gracillis contracture
  •  Illiopsoas strain
  •  General Trauma


A logical approach to diagnosis of each condition will be addressed to include  clinical examination, gait characteristics, ancillary diagnostic tools or imaging tools such as Ultrasound, MRI, CT and Thermal imaging.


The role of secondary undiagnosed soft tissue pathologies in maintaining lameness

Lameness can often be persistent despite surgical and rehabilitative intervention. The lecture will consider why clinical outcomes in common conditions such as cruciate ligament injury/disease, Hip replacement surgery, Femoral head and neck excision and elbow arthroscopy are often sub optimal. It will consider alternative soft tissue foci of pain and dysfunction that can be associated with these conditions and how to approach their diagnosis and management.


Its not all about the joint - Muscle form and function?

Traditionally, lameness management in small animal practice has focussed on the joint. This lecture will consider the joint as an organ system both as a stand alone unit and as part of an integrated body system. It will look at the difference between a localised and a systems based approach to lameness diagnosis and management as well as how to be more holistic in our approach. It will consider how muscle form balances the need for both movement and stability and how skilled movement patterns can be executed. Conversely it will look at how muscle properties are affected by injury and the reason why skilled movement patterns are lost and how these changes drive and determine rehabilitation interventions.


Muscle pain - a common cause of lameness

The lecture will consider the unique nature of muscle pain and why it is often largely unresponsive to traditional pharmacological intervention. It will look at the effect of exercise on muscle pain and also consider rare but important disease processes that can confound the rehabilitation therapist.


Fascia - does it really matter

The lecture will consider the nature of fascia and how it provides shape and form to all body tissues. It will look at anatomy from a fascial perspective and how potential restrictions can develop. It will also consider whether fascial release techniques have any relevance to small animal rehabilitation and how such techniques can best be performed.


Rehabilitation of muscle, ligament and tendon injuries

The ultimate aim of any rehabilitative intervention when applied to the musculoskeletal system must be to restore function and manage pain. To achieve this the practitioner must have an understanding not only of the principles of tissue healing but also of how form and function are inherently associated within healthy tissue.

Trauma initiates a chain of events which ultimately results in restoration of normal architecture. It is essential that the rehabilitation practitioner sees the inflammatory process as a positive response to injury and only attempts to modulate it rather than inhibit it. For any chosen intervention, the timing of its application  and the intensity of its use has the ability to both promote and inhibit tissue healing. Effective and positive intervention can only take place when the practitioner is fully versed in the principles of tissue healing and exercise physiology. The practitioner must be able to evaluate the effectiveness of each intervention by employing clinical reasoning e.g. by comparing symptoms before and after treatment.




Contact Details

  • Scientific Programme:
    Chairman SAAPRA: Ané Lloyd
    073 280 6663

    Conference Coordinator:
    Madaleen Schultheiss

Payment Instructions

  • Banking details are as follows:
    Nedbank current account
    Acc number: 1098525116
    Branch: 109014