Archive for the ‘Physical Rehabilitation Therapy’ Category

The Unfortunate Results of Unbridled Dog Enthusiasm

Monday, June 6th, 2011

     One of the things I love about dogs is their enthusiasm, but sometimes that eagerness needs to be tempered with a little caution.  Here’s a list of some of the traumatic events that have landed our dog friends in physical rehab therapy at Scout’s House–all the result of “unbridled dog enthusiam.”

1)  Falling off a cliff
2)  Falling off bleachers
3)  Running into a tree
4)  Running into a telephone pole
5)  Jumping off a bed
6)  Jumping off a deck
7)  Jumping out of a moving car
8)  Jumping out of owner’s arms
9)  Getting kicked by a cow
10)  Getting attacked by coyotes

The Most Common Reasons Dogs Get Rehab Therapy at Scout’s House

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Our post on how to keep your dog out of rehab sparked a conversation here at Scout’s House about some of the most common conditions we see.  We were sure we knew what we saw the most, but after running a few statistical reports, even we were surprised at the results.

Number One complaint?  Osteoarthritis–by a landslide.  Not surprising when you think about it–most animals coming in for physical rehab therapy are bound to have arthritis, along with other ailments, but we thought we saw more dogs with neurological issues.  We were wrong.

We were wrong, too, about the second most common complaint: knee problems related to the cranial cruciate ligament, or CCL.  Many of the dogs we’ve seen were recovering from one of the various surgeries used to fix a CCL rupture–TPLO, TTA, tightrope, or extracapsular–although a handful were hoping to avoid surgery with conservative management.  Of course, some of them had had surgery years before and were having problems with that knee (or stifle) now.  Can you say arthritis?

And while we would have guessed stifle problems were the third most common complaint amongst our patients, disk issues win there.  Intervertebral disk disease, disk ruptures, laminectomy surgeries–we see them all.

Wrapping up our Top 6: unidentified “rear limb weakness,” hip dysplasia, and degenerative myelopathy.

Coming up next:  Some of the unbelievable predicaments our patients have gotten into–and ended up in rehab because of!

Science Confirms: Fat Dogs with Arthritis Feel Better When They Lose Weight and Exercise A Lot

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

I’m always amazed by the scientific rigor that goes into clinical studies, but sometimes the results just confirm what seems like plain old common sense.

In this study, researchers found that overweight dogs with osteoarthritis who went on a diet and received intensive physical therapy lost more weight and moved better after 30 days than did dogs who just went on a diet or who dieted and received moderate physical therapy.  If your dog has arthritis and you’re wondering whether rehab therapy can help, read on:

http://www.avma.org/avmacollections/obesity_dogs/javma_229_11_1756.pdf

5 Best Ways to Keep Your Dog Out of Rehab Therapy

Friday, May 20th, 2011

1)  Keep Your Dog on A Leash—You wouldn’t believe how many dogs we’ve seen at Scout’s House who suddenly bolted away from their owners and got hit by cars (HBCs, in vet med lingo).  Use a leash and you’ll spare yourself the expense of rehab—and surgery.

Daily controlled exercise will help keep your dog on the outside looking in at your local animal rehab therapy center

2)  Don’t Let Your Dog Jump Off Furniture—Little dogs especially but big dogs too can do a lot of front limb damage jumping off of beds, sofas, out of the car or SUV.  Train your dog to use stairs or a ramp or even to wait for you to put them on the ground.  (Or don’t let them on the furniture in the first place.  Yeah, right!)

3)  Put The Kibosh on Squirrel-Chasing—A veterinary orthopedic surgeon we know gives a slide show on knee surgery for dogs (CCL repair, as it’s known) and always asks the audience what’s the number one cause of CCL tears.  The answer:  squirrels.  Not hard to believe if you’ve ever seen a squirrel-crazed dog take off after her favorite fluffy prey!  Unfortunately, ball-chasing isn’t much better for dog knees.

4)  Keep Her Lean—Fat dogs are more prone to a whole host of medical problems, including arthritis, disk ruptures, and those nasty CCL tears we just talked about.  Keep your girl (or boy) lean and you’ll improve the odds for a healthy dog life.

5)  Keep Him Fit—Making sure your dog gets daily, controlled exercise is the best thing you can do for his musculoskeletal health.  Brisk walks, boisterous play sessions, any controlled exercise can help keep your dog on the outside looking in at your local rehab center.  (The key here is “controlled”—chasing squirrels or balls does not qualify!)

Want to know how physical rehabilitation therapy can help your dog? Click here.

Rehab Therapy: An Opportunity to Practice Patience

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

I am not known for my patience.  In fact, when I was a kid, my father used to joke that when the good Lord passed out patience, I didn’t bother to wait in line.

But I’ve learned a few things since opening Scout’s House and one of them is that you have to have patience with rehab therapy.  It doesn’t happen overnight.

As many readers of this blog know, I started Scout’s House because I saw what an incredible difference it made in the life of my own dog.  But when I started rehab with Scout, I had no expectations that it would help her.  To be honest, she was such a neurological mess, I didn’t think anything could fix her.  But rehab did.  Not overnight but over months, slowly and steadily.  And I’m so glad I was patient enough to give it time to work.

So if there’s one bit of advice I’d give to anyone considering rehab therapy for her or his pet, it’s this:  have patience. Too many people come to Scout’s House expecting overnight miracles, but that’s not how rehab therapy—or physical therapy for humans—works.  It takes time to regain lost muscle strength, particularly when a leg hasn’t been used for a month or two.  And it takes even more time to retrain a brain to move limbs properly again after, say, a disk rupture or an FCE.

We often tell our new clients to start by bringing their pets in twice a week for two to three weeks and by then they should see at least a little improvement.  And we say twice a week because often the more therapy a pet gets each week, the more quickly you’ll see gains.  It’s just like going to the gym:  go once a week and you won’t see much change over the course of several weeks.  But go twice a week—or even three times a week—and you’ll improve far more rapidly.

So, if you’re headed to rehab with your pet, have patience and give it time to work.  I can’t promise it will–rehab doesn’t help every animal just as physical therapy doesn’t help every human–but if you commit to at least twice a week for two or three weeks, you’ll know if rehab is right for your pet.  And you’ll have the peace of mind, knowing you tried.

9 Great Ways to Keep A Dog from Slipping on Floors

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

1)  Get non-slip dog boots (we have a couple of good ones to recommend)
2)  Put down area rugs or carpet runners (yoga mats work really well, too)
3)  Use stick-on paw pads
4)  Strengthen your dog’s legs with rehab therapy (had to put that in!)
5)  Use baby gates to block off the rooms with hardwood or tile
6)  Carry your dog everywhere (not really an option for those of us with big dogs)
7)  Put a RuffWear harness on him and hold on to the handle (labor intensive but it works)
8)  Use an anti-slip spray (created for show dogs to keep them from slipping in the ring)
9)  Carpet the house, bathrooms included (because dogs always follow you to the bathroom)

What would your #10 be?  Post ideas by clicking Leave a Comment above or in the box below

Feline Arthritis: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment Options

Monday, January 31st, 2011

Cats are stoic creatures, which means they’re often very good at hiding pain.  But as this article points out, the things our cats do that we think are just normal signs of aging–becoming less active, finding new sleeping spots that don’t require jumping up, even pooping alongside, and not in, the litter box–may be signs of arthritis instead.  Although this was written for veterinarians, it’s a good overview of feline arthritis, including symptoms, how it’s diagnosed, and what treatment options are available.  From Veterinary Focus, courtesy of IVIS:

https://www.scoutshouse.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/Feline-Arthritis.pdf

For more information about Scout’s House, go to scoutshouse.com

Explaining A Veterinary Neuro Exam

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

We’ve had more than one client ask us to explain the neurological exam that their pets have undergone, both at the veterinary neurologist’s office and at the initial exam at Scout’s House.  Although this article was written for veterinarians, it’s a pretty clear explanation of what your vet is looking for during your pet’s neuro exam:

Making Sense of the Neuro Exam from Veterinary Practice News.

Before & After at Scout’s House: Spinal Cord Trauma [HQ]

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

If you’re not sure about the effectiveness of rehab therapy for animals, just check this video out!

Videos Posted by Scout’s House: Before & After at Scout’s House: Spinal Cord Trauma [HQ].

Vote for Scout’s House!

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

We just found out we’ve been nominated for Best Rehab Center in the San Francisco Bay Area in Bay Woof’s Beast of the Bay 2011 contest.  And while we’re honored just to be nominated, we wouldn’t mind winning, either!  If you’d like to vote for Scout’s House, please go to  http://baywoof.com/11.BeastoftheBay.shtml

Thanks from all of us at Scout’s House!