An adorable rescue dog who is the longest-staying resident at the East Lancashire branch of the RSPCA has undergone life-changing hydrotherapy treatment to help him walk pain-free.

Two-year-old Ronnie, a golden retriever cross, has been receiving water therapy since he was diagnosed with hip dysplasia, a painful condition that causes one or both hip joints to develop abnormally while a puppy is growing.

He came into the care of the RSPCA Lancashire East Branch’s rehoming centre near Accrington last June after his owner died.

Staff became concerned after noticing Ronnie was wobbly when they took him for a walk, and he would often bunny hop on his back legs.

Subsequent X-rays revealed both hip joints were partially dislocated.

Lancashire Telegraph: RonnieRonnie (Image: RSPCA)

Centre manager, Jeanette Ainscough, said: “Ronnie was sore and in a fair amount of discomfort at first.

“He was noticeably wobbly on his rear end during walks and would bunny hop with both back legs moving together.

“Because of the pain and swelling, he was overcompensating in other areas of his body, his shoulders were stiff and he’d spasm through his back.”

A free treatment plan to help Ronnie was generously set up by local rehabilitation and fitness expert Amy Taylor, from Taylored Pet Therapies, who is a long-time supporter of the centre.

This has included weekly hydrotherapy sessions as well as a specialist massage.

“When I first saw Ronnie he was really struggling,” said Amy.

“He couldn’t use his hips properly and could only walk comfortably for five to 10 minutes; it was a case of helping him to learn to walk again.

“The underwater treadmill he’s been using is especially helpful for strengthening specific muscles and improving gait.

“The buoyancy of the water supports his body, which reduces the weight on his affected joints whilst exercising the necessary muscles and helping to build them back up.

“Ronnie is such a lovely dog and has made incredible progress.

"As long as he continues to receive the right support and is well taken care of in his new home there’s no reason why he shouldn’t go on to lead a full and active life."

Ronnie is now looking for a new home and will ideally need an owner who can continue his hydrotherapy and other treatments.

Although he’s currently on mild pain medication it’s hoped this can be reduced and potentially even stopped on veterinary advice once he’s in a home environment.

Lancashire Telegraph: Ronnie undergoing water therapy Ronnie undergoing water therapy (Image: RSPCA)

Jeanette added: “Ronnie’s quality of life has improved tremendously.

"He’s now enjoying three 20 minute walks a day and is gradually able to go further and further.

"He loves playing in our off-lead pen with his tennis balls and spending time with his favourite people in our social rooms.

“He’s already dealt with a fair amount of adversity in his short life and coped with it remarkably well.

"With the right care, he’s shown he can live life to the full and we’d urge people to look beyond his medical condition and see him for the amazing young dog that he is who is so deserving of his own home.”

Ronnie’s perfect home would be somewhere away from other dogs and ideally with children aged 16 and above, as he can be very enthusiastic when it comes to giving affection.

He loves people but can be nervous of some men due to his past, so introductions will need to be made slowly.

He would be happiest with a family where someone will be around most of the day, although short periods of time on his own could be built up gradually.

More details about how to adopt him are on the centre’s website.