For a comprehensive (and perhaps exhaustive) look at canine hip dysplasia, don’t miss this article from Clinician’s Brief. It’s written for veterinarians but there’s a lot of great information in there for those of us on the other end of the leash!
Archive for the ‘Veterinary Orthopedics’ Category
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!
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:
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.
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.
Great article (albeit a little technical for us lay people!) in Veterinary Practice News by veterinarian Dr. Narda Robinson on the use of low level laser therapy in dogs. One finding cited: “Studies in dogs suggest that LLLT improves neurologic function after IVDD.” For dogs with disk disease, that’s exciting news! Read more:
Cats are stoic creatures, which means they’re often very good at hiding pain. Â 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. Â 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. Â From Veterinary Focus, courtesy of IVIS:
For more information about Scout’s House, go to scoutshouse.com
Ever wonder how your veterinarian decides which joint supplement to recommend for your pet’s arthritis? Here’s an excellent article from Clinician’s Brief that helps veterinarians choose the right neutraceutical for a pet’s joint health. (Don’t be put off by the medical-speak; there are some really interesting facts in here.)
If you’re not sure about the effectiveness of rehab therapy for animals, just check this video out!
Ever wonder what causes a pet to get weak rear legs? Â Learn more about Rear Limb Weakness in our latest newsletter:
A great case study from Deborah Gross Saunders at Wizard of Paws on using hydrotherapy to get an agility dog in shape: