Archive for the ‘Veterinary Orthopedics’ Category

Dangers of Using Metacam (meloxicam) in Cats

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

If your cat is using Metacam (meloxicam) for arthritis or other issues, please read this:

Extra-Label Use of Meloxicam | Clinician’s Brief.

Prepare to Be Amazed

Friday, November 5th, 2010

by Lisa Stahr

Almost on a daily basis, I am awed by the quality of rehab therapy at Scout’s House.  The difference our therapists make in our patients’ lives can be downright job-dropping–and I think you’ll agree after watching these new Before & After videos of some of our patients:
Two of them are dogs (one big, one small) who had difficult recoveries from hemilaminectomy surgery, another dog who refused to use her rear leg after a successful extracapsular repair of a torn CCL, and an older dog with weak rear legs who walks like a youngster now!
All are wonderful testaments to the benefits of rehab therapy–and to the incredible knowledge and dedication of Krista Niebaum (the head of our rehab program), Andrea Mocabee, Debbie Eldredge, and Misa Tsuchikawa.  Prepare to be amazed!

Beds, Arms, and Broken Bones: The Dangers of Being A Small Dog

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

     Every year, Veterinary Pet Insurance releases some of the data that it garners about pets and their owners, and one tidbit worth repeating is the most common reasons dogs and cats break their bones.  Not surprisingly, getting hit by a car tops the list.  Yep, that’ll definitely break a bone—or worse—so it’s a good reminder to keep dogs on leash at all times when they’re outdoors and to keep your cats inside.  And while being hit by a car accounted for 40% of all VPI’s claims for broken bones, the next 40% was attributed to pets jumping or falling from furniture or other high places. 
     At Scout’s House, we can attest to how dangerous it is for pets, particularly small dogs, to jump or fall from a height.  Some of the dogs we’ve seen have fractured their front legs by suddenly jumping out of their owners’ arms or by launching themselves off beds (usually to “answer the doorbell”).  It happens most with small dogs, especially the teacup and toy breeds, but we’ve also had patients as big as Lhasa Apsos, Shih Tzus, and Shelties.  And overweight pets are at even greater risk, for obvious reasons.
     Granted, they’re just being themselves and jumping off things is what dogs and cats do, but you can lower your pet’s chances of breaking a bone by putting ramps and stairs in strategic spots around the house—leading up to sofas and beds—and then training your dog to actually use them.  And never, ever let a dog or cat  jump from your arms or your lap, no matter how often that doorbell rings.  Hang on tight until you can put Fluffy down on the ground and you just might save your pet the pain of a needless injury–and save yourself the $1500-$2600 it costs to surgically repair a broken bone.

Fish Oil and Your Pet: How Useful? How Safe?

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

by Lisa Stahr

I was so excited by the paper in the March issue of  JAVMA (the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association) about the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids for dogs with osteoarthritis.  How wonderful that something as simple as omega-3 fatty acids can help pets with arthritis move better and live with less pain.
But then I saw the article in the San Francisco Chronicle on March 22nd (“Wading into fish oil supplement safety“) that said that ten popular fish oil supplements taken by people were found to contain PCBs (which can cause cancer and reproductive problems in humans), even though the manufacturers didn’t list PCBs in their products as mandated by California’s Proposition 65 disclosure rules.  Tested by the Mateel Environmental Justice Foundation of Eureka, all ten fish oil supplements showed levels of PCBs and three of those ten exceeded California’s standard for “no significant risk” from carcinogens.
Not great news, but I don’t take fish oil supplements—however, my dog does.  On the advice of our veterinary oncologist, I’ve been giving Rerun omega-3 fatty acid capsules everyday for the last two years because omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help fend off Rerun’s particular form of cancer: T-cell lymphoma.  And that’s why the article alarmed me, because it made me realize that if the supplements tested—supplements that are over-the-counter fish oil products made for humanscontain PCBs, what do you suppose is in the fish oil supplements made for pets?  There’s  no regulation regarding the purity of pet supplements, which means we really don’t know what’s in the stuff we’re giving our dogs and cats, do we?
Now I’m freaked.
So I called the manufacturer of Omega-3 Pet, which are the fish oil supplements we sell at Scout’s House.  Our pet nutritionist at Scout’s House, Sandy Gregory, insisted that we buy these supplements from Nordic Naturals because Sandy had faith in the purity of their pet products.
And, it turns out, for good reason.
Bonnie Johnson of Nordic Naturals explained that third-party tests show that their Omega-3 Pet soft gel capsules have no detectable levels at one part per trillion of Non-Ortho and Mono-Ortho PCBs.  And, she added, the Pet capsules use the same oil as is used in the Omega-3 product for humans, so its held to the same standards.  Although this doesn’t guarantee that there are no PCBs in my dog’s omega-3 supplements, it does tell me that the numbers are very low.
And thanks to Bonnie, I understand a little more why that’s true.  Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Pet oil is derived from anchovies and sardines, which are smaller fish, and that’s important because PCB concentrations in fish depend, in part, on what kind of fish is used to make the oil (older, bigger fish build up more PCBs in their fatty tissues than smaller fish), as well as on where the fish live.  Nordic Naturals, I was glad to hear, harvests anchovies and sardines from the Norwegian Sea and the Southern Pacific Ocean, which are some of the world’s healthiest waters.
I can’t completely protect my dog from cancer, I know that.  She got T-cell lymphoma despite all my best efforts.  But I can maintain a healthy skepticism about the supplements I give her.  And so can you about the supplements you give your pet.  Don’t just assume a pet product is good for your dog or cat just because it says so–or worse, because your friend says so.  Read the labels, call the company for more information, and—above all—ask your veterinarian.  Until there are regulations regarding the food, treats, and supplements we give our pets, it’s up to you to determine the purity of what goes in your pet’s mouth.

Will Your Dog Get Arthritis?

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Find out Tuesday when veterinary orthopedic surgeon Dr. Gail Smith, the Founder and Director of the Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program (PennHIP), talks about the PennHIP radiographic technique–and how it can predict the likelihood of your dog getting osteoarthritis.  1pm Pacific time at or download it later from iTunes (just search “Scout’s House”).

Conservative Management: An Alternative to Surgery for Your Pet

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Does your dog or cat need surgery but isn’t a good surgical candidate because of age or health issues?  Or would you just prefer not to do put your pet through another surgery?  Join us tomorrow at 1pm Pacific when Scout’s House Director of Rehab Therapy Krista Niebaum, MPT, CCRT, talks with us about conservative management, what it is, and how it might keep your pet from going under the knife.  That’s at on PDX.FM.

Why Do Pets Need Rehab Therapy?

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009


by Lisa Stahr of Scout’s House


     At Scout’s House, we get asked all the time why should pets get physical rehabilitation therapy*.  And the answer is simple:  Because it can improve your pet’s quality of life.

     If you’ve ever had physical therapy for an injury, you can understand the benefits of rehab therapy for dogs and cats.  But let me give you three quick reasons your pet could benefit from physical rehabilitation therapy:


1)  Rehab therapy improves outcomes and speeds recovery, particularly for post-operative, neurological, and trauma patients

     Animals recovering from trauma or surgery will generally have a more rapid and more complete recovery with physical rehabilitation therapy.  In fact, studies have shown that dogs recover more quickly and more effectively from certain surgeries—TPLOs, for example—with rehab therapy than without.  And physical therapy is especially well-documented in improving outcomes in humans affected by many of the same conditions dogs suffer from, such as ACL rupture repair, spinal surgery, and neurological injury.

     So, how can rehab make a difference?

     In the case of a tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO) recovery, at Scout’s House we’d take the animal through a series of activities and exercises designed to:

            • strengthen specific muscles around the joint to increase its dynamic stability;

            • regain functional range of motion at that specific joint, as well as in those joints further up the kinetic chain;

            • and, while following all the appropriate weight-bearing restrictions, we promote “reuse” of the limb, often earlier than the animal would choose to resume weight bearing on its own.


2)  Rehab therapy helps animals live more comfortable and more functional lives

     It’s especially helpful with ill and aging patients, as well as those with chronic or progressive conditions.  Just as with a human who’s suffered a stroke or a spinal cord injury, rehab won’t “fix” the source of some problems (such as permanent injury to the brain or spinal cord), but it can help to improve the quality of life by strengthening and re-educating the abilities the patient still has. 


3)  Rehab therapy helps to prevent future problems

     Through the exercises and activities that rehab therapy introduces, we can reduce—or even prevent—compensations that could cause stress up the kinetic chain and lead to future injuries.  Active exercise, particularly, is critical because it keeps muscles loose and functioning correctly.   


* In California, where Scout’s House is located, “physical therapy” is a protected term, meaning it can only be used to describe the work done with humans.  So we use the term “physical rehabilitation therapy”or “rehab therapy” when talking about the work we do with animals.