My 10 year old dog was recently diagnosed with arthritis. I have heard of canine physical rehabilitation. Would this help her?
Yes, physical rehabilitation can help dogs with arthritis. Arthritis is usually managed utilizing a multimodal approach consisting of daily low impact exercise, such as walking or swimming, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pain medications, and maintaining an ideal body weight. Canine physical rehabilitation, like human physical therapy, uses techniques such as stretching, therapeutic exercises, aquatic therapy, low level lasers, therapeutic ultrasound, and electrical stimulation. A certified canine rehabilitation practitioner is trained to evaluate each patient and create an individualized treatment plan. In the case of arthritis, a rehabilitation program can aid in increasing or maintaining muscle mass, increasing joint mobility, reducing pain, and can help with weight management. At Oradell Animal Hospital, we are fortunate to have an underwater treadmill that is a mainstay in canine physical rehabilitation. Water’s buoyancy eases the pain of exercise by decreasing the load placed on joints. Walking in water improves strength, range of motion, and cardiovascular fitness. Canine physical rehabilitation is also used for animals recovering from orthopedic surgeries or injuries and neurologic conditions.
[doctor name = “June Hacker-Traiger”]
Posted by d2030476
on June 20, 2011 / Posted in Questions and Answers
I was told by my neighbor that acupuncture is useful for arthritis. I had always thought it was hocus-pocus. Is acupuncture an effective treatment for dogs and cats?
Acupuncture is an ancient form of Traditional Chinese Medicine and has been used in domesticated animals for over 2000 years. The first acupuncturists used it primarily to treat horses for the Emperors of China. More intense interest in the use of acupuncture in dogs and cats has existed over the past 40 years. Many scientific studies have been performed around the world to support the Chinese principles of treatment, but there is much about acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine that is still not fully understood in the context of conventional medicine.
Acupuncture is used to treat a variety of medical conditions, but one of the most instantly gratifying and useful applications of acupuncture is to treat pain. In particular, it is common for older dogs to need multiple oral medications for arthritis, and acupuncture fits well as a non-pharmaceutical adjunct that has little to no side effects. A patient with liver disease or kidney disease may not be able to take some medicines for long periods of time without potential consequences, and can really benefit from acupuncture. The needles are placed at local and general points that help soothe the patient and generate biochemical substances that provide calming and pain relief effects.
The first step in getting acupuncture for your pet is to see a practitioner that specializes in this form of practice. The education and skills that are required to perform this treatment accurately require specialized training and the consultation on the pet is usually a bit longer than a consultation than a typical “western” consultation.
[doctor name = “Heather Troyer”]