Posts Tagged: canine arthritis
Canine Rehab, similar to physical therapy in human medicine, is ideal for dogs that have been injured, undergone surgery or who suffer from arthritis, obesity, or neurological disease. By using Rehabilitation techniques and modalities we can maximize your pet’s ability to recover physically while minimizing his/her pain. Some signs of pain and discomfort are as follows: Sleeps more/ Restlessness, especially at night Lethargic, doesn’t want to walk as much or at all, Cannot jump onto bed or sofa, Pants more, Lameness, Stiffness, Whines or moans for no apparent reason, Irritability or personality changes, any or all of the above but doesn’t seem or act painful. Below is a list of services that we offer.
- Weave Cones
- When walking through vertical weave cones it helps develop coordination and balance while learning to turn and pivot.
- Initial Assessment
- To begin an assessment, the patient is observed at rest and at several gaits. General palpation is performed to determine proper symmetry and muscle atrophy. Postural reflexes, ROM measurements and proprioception testing are performed. Every tendon, ligament, muscle and joint from the tip of the nose to the tail is assessed.
- Cavaletti Rails
- Helps dogs learn how to negotiate obstacles and walk over them by lifting their limbs to the appropriate height.
- Underwater Treadmill
- This is effective for improving strength, muscular endurance, cardio respiratory endurance, ROM, agility, psychological well-being, while minimizing pain; beneficial for post-op fractures, Cranial Cruciate Ligament stabilization, neurological conditions, tendinitis, and conditioning.
- LASER (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation)
- LASER is used to accelerate wound and joint healing, to promote muscle regeneration, acute and chronic pain control, decrease edema (swelling), neurological conditions, and post–op care. It is measured in Joules/cm² (dose of laser energy).
- Dry Needling
- Dry Needling is the use of either solid filiform needles (acupuncture needles) or hollow-core hypodermic needles for muscle pain from trigger points (knots); sometimes known as intramuscular stimulation.
- A measuring tape with a spring tension device used to measure limb circumference. Measures muscle mass around thigh.
- Device measures joint angles of flexion and extension. The measurements are given in degrees.
- ESTIM (Electrical Stimulation)
- Helps to increase muscle strength, muscle re-education, increasing ROM, correction of structural abnormalities, improving muscle tone, accelerating wound healing, edema (swelling) reduction, muscle spasm reduction, and enhancing trans dermal administration of medication.
- TENS (Trans cutaneous Electrical Stimulation Nerve Stimulation)
- TENS works transcutaneously (through the skin) through surface electrodes to excite nerves
- Is the manipulation of the soft tissues of the body, helps to relieve stress, anxiety and discomfort, helps to reduce muscle spasms and soft tissue discomfort, relief from pain, reduce tension, and help to sedate the nervous system
- Techniques: Stroking, Effleurage, Petrissage, Compressions
- Improves flexibility of the joints and extensibility of periarticular tissues (tissues around a joint), muscles and tendons; beneficial with conditions like shortening of tissues, reduced mobility, injury and neurological conditions.
- PROM (Passive Range of Motion)
- Is useful to diminish the effects of disuse and immobilization. There is no muscle contraction performed, helps to decrease pain and improves rate of recovery.
- Balance Board
- Is used to provide balance and proprioceptive training from the forelimbs or side to side
Here is a link to our Rehabilitation website page
To flex or not to flex? That was the question I asked myself during my canine rehabilitation therapy this week. Candace, my certified canine rehabilitation assistant, was making me do all sorts of yoga poses today!
I have to say that it does feel really good! It helps take away all my tension.
It also makes me limber so I can do more exercising on the treadmill to help build up the muscle around my knees. I have to admit, I used to think that canine rehabilitation wouldn’t help me feel better, but wow, was I ever wrong!
All of this therapy is making me feel great! I may be 8 human years old, but you would never know it! I bounce around like a puppy again! I can’t wait for my next canine rehabilitation therapy session!
Until next time,
It’s Amadeus again. I’m so glad to see you! I’ve been doing a lot of relaxing lately. I even missed a week of my rehab therapy because mom had to go out of town for a work seminar & I got to lay around all week.
I didn’t realize how much I needed my rehab therapy twice a week until after mom came back in town. Oh boy! When I went back to Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center to see Candace, I could tell I really needed my therapy!
Candace was doing my soft tissue massage therapy like usual and all of a sudden I could feel my back muscles start to twitch. They were hurting. I didn’t realize how bad my back could feel just by missing a week of therapy. I sure am glad that Candace is working on my muscles to make them feel better and stop them from hurting.
I don’t ever want to miss another Canine Rehabilitation appointment!
It’s funny at times, when we hear certain words and our minds portray something other than what is intended. At times, our staff will tell a client that I am unavailable because I am in rehab. This statement has been met with pause, with a chuckle, with an “Oh my”, and sometimes with an understanding affirmation. Just to be certain here, when I am in rehab, I am performing Canine Rehab on a patient!
We use the term Canine Rehabilitation Therapy because we are not allowed to use the term Physical Therapy. The trained professionals that are Physical Therapists have the legal right, and rightfully so, to the title Physical Therapist. But just because the names are different, the practices have many similarities.
Canine Rehabbers are first and foremost concerned with the well being and functionality of the patient. Can I improve my patient’s ability to function, e.g. walk, run, eliminate, perform life’s daily functions? Can I help to control or eliminate pain? weakness? incoordination?
The answer to these questions is usually yes. I say usually, because there are no guarantees that we can help every patient. But the majority of the time we can. I will also emphasize the word help. Many chronic, degenerative conditions are not curable. BUT, they can be improved upon.
I became a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist two years ago and have loved every minute of it. The vast majority of my cases have seen significant improvement when compared to where we started. I have performed Canine Rehab on geriatric patients, neurological patients, post-op patients, and those with unspecified injuries. It is extremely rewarding to see the gains they have made to normal or mostly normal functionality (depending on the individual’s situation).
Please feel free to browse our website and learn more about Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center: https://www.fosteranimalhospital.com/veterinary-services/canine-rehabilitation.html. I am also a phone call, 704-786-0104 or an email, email@example.com away!
All the best,
Stephen E Foster, DVM, CCRT
Foster Animal Hospital, P.A.
Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center
730 Concord Parkway North
Concord, NC 28027
Canine Rehabilitation Comes To Concord
For Immediate Release
Canine Rehabilitation Comes To Concord
Concord, NC – (February 18, 2013) Foster Animal Hospital has been providing Concord with superior veterinary care for over 50 years and is proud to announce certified canine rehabilitation is now available.
Dr. Steve Foster, son of founder Dr. Tom Foster and current co-owner of Foster Animal Hospital, recently became interested in Canine Rehabilitation at a continuing education lecture. “Canine Rehabilitation is very similar to physical therapy and reading about the successes with dogs, I became fully energized to be a part of this exciting new field. I wanted to bring this service to our hospital and our area,” states Dr. Steve Foster. In March 2012, Dr. Foster completed his required courses and completed an internship for certification.
What is Canine Rehab? Basically it is Canine physical therapy. However, physical therapy is a human term; therefore, the appropriate term in veterinary medicine is Canine Rehabilitation. Just as in physical therapy, Canine Rehab helps to restore appropriate functionality to our patients. Whether the issue is due to trauma, a surgical procedure such as anterior cruciate ligament repair, degenerative arthritis, obesity, a neurological issue such as intervertebral disc disease, or others, Canine Rehab can help restore functionality.
After six months of working with local pets and owners, Dr. Foster shared, “The results I have seen have been nothing short of amazing. Patients’ lives have been extended, patients’ quality of life has been markedly improved, and clients are ecstatic that their ‘babies’ are recovering from surgery faster and completely. Geriatric dogs are active and happy again and have a new lease on life. As a veterinary practitioner of almost 28 years, Canine Rehabilitation Therapy is one of the best career decisions I have made. Seeing my patients do so well is especially rewarding. All post-op dogs, neurological cases, and older patients should experience the wonderful benefits of Canine Rehabilitation Therapy.”
Foster Animal Hospital is launching Paws in Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center which will offer full therapy services custom to the pet’s individual needs. From laser to manual therapy, each case is unique. Dr. Foster evaluates each patient to customize a rehab plan in order to reach the owner’s goals for their pet. To find out more, please visit www.fosteranimalhosptial.com or the FAH blog at https://www.fosteranimalhospital.com/blog/
Foster Animal Hospital www.fosteranimalhospital.com
Foster Animal Hospital offers full-service veterinary care and pet services for dogs and cats. We are proud of our more than 50-year reputation in the community, along with our commitment to providing modern, up-to-date veterinary care. Our progressive methods and the latest thinking in pet care make us the #1 choice in Concord, North Carolina
“I made an appointment with Dr. Steve Foster knowing in my heart that Molly, our 13 year old Lab, only had days to live. Her arthritis had become so bad in her left front elbow and her back legs that I could no longer bear to see her suffer. Through the tears, I explained Molly’s problem. Dr. Steve asked me if I would be willing to try rehabilitation/physical therapy. This was the best thing I have ever done for Molly. After several sessions, her limp is gone and her back legs move independently where before the back legs did the old man shuffle. If you have a dog like Molly it is definitely worth doing therapy. It saved her life. Words cannot express our gratitude.”
“Our walk was longer and very interesting. Jackson does not sit or lay down which indicates he is more comfortable walking. HOWEVER, he is showing his stubborn streak of planting his feet and refusing to move when he sees something interesting. Last night it was a neighbor’s garden. He was totally focused and standing with his feet firmly planted. It was very hot and I got a little lax with the leash. He sensed the lack of tension and bounded in the garden. He jumped a rabbit!!! The energy was amazing. He didn’t go far and returned when I called him but it was a Jackson miracle. Afterwards, he turned towards home and was ready for water and a nap!”
“My family took me to see Dr. Foster and he thought that I either had severe arthritis in my back and hips and perhaps some neurological deficits which made use of my legs very difficult. He suggested arthritis medicine and pain medicine and then a new program to make an effort to strengthen my legs through physical therapy and rehabilitation. On Mondays and Wednesdays my dad would put me in the front seat beside him and take me into the hospital and I was met by the nicest girls. I was treated like a queen and got a lot of attention. I had a funny haircut so Dr. Foster could do laser therapy to my hips. I did a little better at first and then I had a bad spell where I almost could not get around at all. We took a couple of weeks off and started working hard again. My daddy was worried that I would not improve. He thought it was time to call in hospice. Dr. Steve and I proved him wrong. Mother was happy as I continue to make improvements over the last two months. I still have periods of stumbling and I need a little help getting up the front steps in the house. I now spend more time in the house and get so much more attention. When I go for walks in the neighborhood the cats stay away from me. Neighbors are amazed at how well I get around. I got a new hairdo and bath for the summer. My parents and sister Diana love me so much probably because they realize how close they were to losing me. I cannot say enough good things about the people at the hospital. They have loved me as much as my parents. Dr. Steve has pushed me hard and made me work for all of my improvement. I owe all of my improvement in the quality of my life to Dr. Steve and the girls. Without the new expertise of Dr. Steve and the compassion of everyone, I would probably not be here. Rejuvenated and Rehabilitated Pup, Cleopatra”
~ Dr. Robert
As you may recall from my earlier blog about Stewie, he had surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. As part of his recovery, we were doing Canine Rehabilitation Therapy to help him recover quickly and completely from this surgery. Once this process is finished, he will do it all over again, as his left knee has a torn cruciate ligament as well!
When we left off, Stewie was half way through his 8 Rehab sessions. At that point in time, he was doing so well, we were able to progress to strengthening exercises.
REHAB Session 5: Stewie continues to excel in his recovery. We continued with Passive Range of Motion, stretching, compressions, and massage. We also continued with his early strengthening exercises, but added to the number and type of exercises done. We finished this session with more LASER therapy. As mentioned before, LASER speeds recovery, helps relieve pain and inflammation, and can help revitalize worn or damaged cartilage.
REHAB Session 6: Stewie’s session today was very similar to session 5 except today we asked him to start doing exercises unassisted. Up until this point, everything we have done has been by me or assisted by me. At this point, we let Stewie start using the leg un-aided. He did everything as designed. He’s a very energetic and willing patient!
REHAB Session 7: Stewie has had 4 days since session 6 and has done well at home. Today, we doubled the number of reps we started last time. He responded expectantly and didn’t appear to have any issues. His rehab is ahead of pace!
REHAB Session 8: Stewie’s last day! We continued from session 7 but added more strengthening exercises. Stewie’s leg is stronger and more flexible than ever and he is only 22 days post-op. Even as a Certified Rehab Therapist, I am amazed. We humans certainly can learn a lot from our canine friends. So many have the drive and determination to keep going, even in the face of a severe injury. Way to go Stewie!
At this point, we have released Stewie for 4 weeks. His parents have been given several take-home exercises to help Stewie on his road to a full recovery. We are excited about seeing him in 4 weeks and to see the progress he has made!
Steve Foster, DVM, CCRT
Foster Animal Hospital
Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center
Concord, NC 28027
Meet Stewie! This fine young fella came to us for a second opinion. Stewie had been diagnosed with a torn cruciate ligament in both knees. Ouch! The decision was made to repair the right knee first and once fully healed, repair the left knee.
His surgery was done on January 8 by Dr. Mark Plott here at Foster Animal Hospital. The following is a look at Stewie’s progress through Canine Rehabilitation Therapy.
REHAB Session 1: Stewie returned on January 14 for his first rehab session. At that time, much of the post-op swelling had diminished. He was still carrying his right rear leg “high and tight”. He was protective of the leg, although not in an aggressive manner. He basically didn’t want me to touch the leg much. Some of this was due to remembering pain, but also, he hadn’t developed the trust he needed to have the leg rehabilitated. Initial rehab for cruciate surgery begins with Passive Range of Motion, Flexibility, and Pain relief. So basically for Stewie that day, we did various stretches, other motions that simulate joint and leg movement without bearing weight, and joint compressions. We also massaged Stewie’s tight muscles. To help with pain and healing, he received LASER therapy as well. By the end of the session, Stewie was much more relaxed.
REHAB Session 2: Stewie returned 2 days later for his second session. In just the 2 days since his first session, Stewie was walking, albeit with a limp, on his leg! We repeated all of the same measures from session 1.
REHAB Session 3: Stewie returned the next day for his 3rd rehab session. He was walking even better than the day before! Because he was doing so well, we began very minor strengthening exercises. We also repeated all of the Passive Range of Motion, stretches, compressions, and Laser like we had the first 2 sessions. Because many dogs will not fully use their legs with an ACL rupture, muscle atrophy can occur quickly. Therefore, being able to start strengthening exercises put him way ahead of the game.
REHAB Session 4: Our boy Stewie returned 4 days later for his fourth rehab session. Our treatment for him will be over 8 sessions. So we are halfway there. Stewie bounded from his apartment full of energy and walking without a noticeable limp. What a guy! We continued all of the therapy from the first 3 sessions but began to intensify his strengthening exercises. Bear in mind, these exercises are not haphazard or uncontrolled. Everything we do is measured and done with care as to not harm the surgical repair that was done 13 days before. As we finished the session that day, I remarked to myself what an excellent patient Stewie is!
Please stay tuned as I will recap Stewie’s progress and his status following his remaining 4 Rehab sessions.
Steve Foster, DVM, CCRT
Foster Animal Hospital
Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center
Concord, NC 28027
Well, I’ve been certified in Canine Rehabilitation since March of this year. With that certification, I now have extra initials after my name- CCRT. (Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist) I’ve had the opportunity to work with many great patients and clients here at Foster Animal Hospital. To all of us, Canine Rehab has been a new experience. I’ve tried to use these experiences to, first and foremost, benefit my patients but also to learn and hone my technique and to get a better grasp clinically about what I’m doing. It’s been an excellent 8 months and I am more excited than ever about Canine Rehab.
So, let me tell you why I love Canine Rehab after these last 8 months? First of all, with Rehab Therapy we are reducing and in some instances eliminating pain completely. And pain is a reality to dogs. They oftentimes will not show us when they are painful. Or if they do, we don’t interpret it as pain. Some subtle signs include: decreased activity, sleeping more, keeping to themselves with some to the point of hiding, restlessness especially at night, panting, decreased appetite, weight loss, sighing or moaning when getting up or down, and grumpiness towards owners or other pets. Pain management is a hallmark of Canine Rehab.
Initially, we address pain medically. We as vets are very blessed to have access to many safe medications that make a tremendous difference in our patient’s pain levels. Through rehab, we also address pain with LASER therapy, range of motion techniques, manipulation of restricted joint capsules and muscles, massage, and muscle strengthening. I love the fact that pain-free dogs can now be a reality! I am waging a personal battle on eliminating pain for my patients.
I’ve also observed that obesity is a critical factor for all pets. Obesity is even more of a detriment to those with physical issues. Carrying extra weight creates physical limitations for post-op patients, geriatric patients with degenerative arthritis, and acute or chronic neurological patients. Fat cells also produce hormones that create inflammation within joints. Young, overweight dogs are already being set up for arthritis!
I do not love the fact that obesity is a problem for so many dogs (and people). I do love the fact that through Canine Rehab, we are able to help these dogs lose weight and become more physically fit! I have seen first hand through rehab patients that lose weight, what amazing benefits they reap. Remember the rule of thumb for your dog’s weight- you want to be able to feel ribs without a layer of fat and you want to see a waist starting behind the last rib. If you can’t do either of these with your own pet, well you know…
I love the fact that dogs that are pain free and are an appropriate weight, want to be active! I see this everyday as my rehab patients progress. I see this with my own dog Bunker. (You know, the one that likes to blog) I hear it from the moms and dads that tell me their dog is now jumping in the car again, wants to go on walks, and wants to play more. I love it that they wear me out, wanting to do the exercises and work-outs we create for them! They also can’t wait for manual therapy because they love how it makes them feel, which it makes them feel GOOD! And just like Skinner’s or Pavlov’s or whoever’s dog it was, my rehab patients immediately relax when we put their LASER Doggles on because they know the LASER Therapy really makes them feel good.
So, I hope you see why I love Canine Rehab after 8 months. If your dog fits any of the descriptions above and is painful, let’s love him enough to put an end to that pain!
Until next time,
Steve Foster, DVM, CCRT
Foster Animal Hospital, P.A.
Paws in Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center
Hey, yo, well I’ve been gone a while from the blog, but that ain’t kept me from snooping on dad’s computer.
Funny thing is, I’ve been going to jail, I mean my dad’s office for some canine rehab. When I’m there, a bunch of folks are talking about somethin’ called Thanksgiving. What’s even funnier is some of ’em say THANKSgiving and other say ThanksGIVING. What is up with that? Geesh people!
But nonetheless, heretofore, furthermore, and four score, it got me to thinking. I guess I’m thankful for stuff. Let me see: food, oh yeah definitely food. Heck fire, I’m even more thankful for treats. I wish they filled the bowl like the food does. What else, water, yep, water keeps me hydrated, it’s good to swim in, and provides me with the opportunity to mark my spot, iffin you know what I mean! Tehe. I guess I’m thankful for my dad and mom, and my siblings- 2 and 4 legged ones. I’m thankful for cats and the yummy treats they leave behind. I’m thankful for the squirrels and deers I used to be able to chase. (I’m still eyeballin y’all and it’s dirty pool to mock my old arthritic hips. Better look out!) I’m thankful for the back seat of my dad’s truck. It’s 11 years old and he’s hauled so many dogs in that thing, I am in sniffin’ heaven I tell ya. I’m thankful for that stuff in funny bottles they give me everyday and that rehab thing dad does on me. Man do I feel better with it. I really am thankful for that laser. Heck you get to wear funny sun glasses and all the, ahem, female dogs give me the eye when I wear ’em.
So back to snoopin. I found another short story dad had written way back. I think the names were changed or it could be a blend of folks. Who knows with my old man. I thought it was purty good and wanted to share. If nuttin’ else, I guess it’s shows somethin dad was very thankful about. Anyhoo, Happy THANKSgiving, ThanksGIVING, or THANKSGIVING whichever it is for you and yourn! Check ya’ later!
What is the best thing that can happen to a young, aspiring, inexperienced veterinarian? Finding the right practice? Working for an experienced mentor? Having the freedom to make decisions and introduce new methods to improve the practice and benefit the patients? Making a good salary for a good days work? Being completely happy and satisfied with all of the above? I was fortunate to have them all. I was fortunate to be the son of Tom Foster and to reap the rewards of his practice of 27 years. I was fortunate that Dad’s clientele were generally good people that you enjoyed helping. However, as I said they were just that- Dad’s clientele. Don’t get me wrong, they were and are some of the greatest people I know. My professional care for and friendships with them hold true today. What they mean to me is immeasurable. I am truly honored and blessed to know and serve them to this day. I am not, excuse the pun, looking those “gift horses” in the mouth!
But, as wonderful as they are, and as honored as I am, they still weren’t “mine”. Not that it burned in my gut during the night or caused me many hours of unrest and heartburn. In fact, I wasn’t really aware of it until Reid came into my life. For you see, Reid was probably the first client that was “mine”. Oh I’m sure I had seen new clients that didn’t know Dad or had not been to his practice. That goes without saying. I’m talking about the type of client/vet relationship that can only occur with regular contact over a period of time. Reid was my first and Reid was “mine”.
Our practice was, from 1958-1996, a mixed animal practice. If it was alive and was not a human, we would see it. As a new graduate, I enjoyed the variety mixed practice afforded. From the pampered house dog to the 2000 pound charging bull, practice was a pleasure. Graduating from vet school at Auburn, I had a special attraction to large animal work. Don’t misunderstand, small animals were very important too. But, the mystique, and power, and allure of large animals to me were special. Call it a nostalgic attraction of Roy Rogers, John Wayne, or the Cartwright boys, not to mention growing up riding the roads with Dad making large animal calls day and night. Whatever it was, I wanted to be the best dang large animal vet around. Coming home after graduation, I knew I would have a chance to do large animal practice. Dad did most of the specialized work- monthly herd checks or show horse work. I would do a lot of the “fire engine” work of going from farm to farm doing emergencies or urgent cares or routine vaccinations and dewormings. I longed to be able to be the one to do the specialized visits. With time this came to pass. Nonetheless, most of these people were still not “mine”.
One morning, a call came in from Sharon Falls about her horse that was experiencing colic. I took the information, checked to verify that she was a new client, and headed for their farm. Turning onto their drive, I was struck by the beauty of their place. The drive, long and paved, was lined with split rail fence, finely mown grass and beautiful landscaping. To the left was a large horse pasture where two jet black Tennessee Walking Horses frolicked. On the right was another large pasture with many of the finest Santa Gertrudis cattle I had ever seen. The house was a typical ranch style made from beautiful logs and stained dark mahogany. To the left of the house was a large gravel area that had an old restored plank barn at the very end. To the right of the barn was a wood enclosed corral that led to a long chute in which to work the cattle. The barn itself, simple and old, was a thing of beauty. The grounds were perfectly manicured- the grass mown, the gravel raked, and not a plank out of place. Behind the house and corral, was a large pasture that contained a large goose infested pond and more of those beautiful cattle.
As I pulled into the graveled lot, Mrs. Falls was walking a young Tennessee Walker. The bay colored filly looked to be around a year of age. As she walked her, the young equine would drag her rear feet and then stop to kick at her belly. These signs were typical of belly pain or colic. I got out of the Blazer and introduced myself. “It’s very nice to meet you Dr. Foster, I’m Sharon Falls”. Mrs. Falls was an attractive, middle-aged woman. Her eyes had the genuine warmth of the early morning sun. Her smile was radiant and welcoming. “It’s nice to meet you as well. What seems to be the matter?” She continued to walk the filly and stated “ We put her in the barn early this morning and must not have noticed the sweet feed in the trough. I was walking by a few minutes later and saw her eating. It was then I noticed the feed. There was a lot of it. I took the remaining feed out and have been checking her regularly. On my last time out I noticed her starting to colic. I hope she didn’t get too much.” I carefully examined her. All vital signs were good. I placed a stomach tube and relieved some stomach gas. Before removing the stomach tube, I used a stomach pump to deliver a half-gallon of mineral oil in her stomach. I administered pain medication and within minutes she was walking well. She even began to nibble on some grass! “I think she just over did it with the grain. The oil will move it through her. She’ll be good as new in a few hours.”
About that time a blue Ford pickup eased it’s way down the long drive. “Oh that’s my husband Reid. He’s awfully fond of this filly. She’s out of a World Champion mare we own. He has big plans for her!”
The shiny new pickup rolled to a stop next to the Blazer. Reid exited and came over and introduced himself. “It’s a pleasure to meet you Mr. Falls,” I said. “The pleasure is all mine,” he said with a big smile. “How’s my baby here?” He walked over and gently cradled her head with his big arms. Reid looked to be mid to late forties, with a large firm frame. You could tell that in his younger days he was quite a physical specimen. The filly responded with a nuzzle that quickly brought a smile to Reid’s face.
“I think she’s going to be fine. She just overloaded on grain. I gave her a good dose of mineral oil and something for pain. She’ll be kicking up her heels soon!” Looking me squarely in the eyes, Reid said,” You’ll never know how much we appreciate you coming so quick and doing such a great job. We had been using another vet and they were unavailable today. Get me a bill and Sharon will get you a check before you leave. Sharon, it looks like we found us a vet!”
Sharon hurried to the house to write the check. “ If you have a second Steve, come over here and look at these Gerts.” We walked over to a small enclosure adjacent to the barn. Inside the immaculate lot were 10-12 yearling heifers and bulls. A long wooden trough was in the middle with ground corn as a feed. Ample hay was in the corner. “ They just aren’t growing right. We’ve wormed and vaccinated ‘em. They eat better than I do. I just don’t understand.” He was right. These youngsters certainly had the frames to be showpieces. But, their coats were dull and raggedy, and their body condition was thinner than it should be. “What did you worm with?” “That stuff in a tube, TBZ I think.” TBZ had been a good dewormer but had lost effectiveness due to overuse and natural resistance developed by the worms. There were certainly better products available, with no resistance and much better efficacy. “ They look wormy to me. I’d suggest a different dewormer. Send someone by the office and we’ll get you what you need.” Reid looked at me warily. “You think that’s it? I’ve used that TBZ a long time. It’s always worked before.”
“That may be your problem, Reid. With time, resistance may be built up. It has happened with other producers. Just come try it. If it doesn’t work, you owe me nothing.” It’s not general practice to make medical guarantees. In fact, we rarely considered it much less offered it. I had complete confidence in my assessment. “ I’ll just get some of this stool in here and test for worms. You give my medicine a try.”
Two weeks later, I was in the area and stopped by to check on Reid’s yearlings. Approaching the corral I could already see a marked difference. The hair coats will slick and shiny red. Their once thin body-lines were full. “Reid is tickled to death,” Sharon said as she approached the corral. He checks on them every evening when he gets home. He is your biggest fan!”
Our professional relationship would grow into one of deep respect and admiration. Reid insisted that I come to his farm routinely twice a month to check the stock. Some trips were just a walk through. Others were planned herd health. Reid never questioned my advice or diagnoses. I don’t know who was more proud, Reid of his beautiful stock or me for being their vet.
One of the hardest decisions in my life came many years later. Our county was growing at such a rate there were fewer and fewer farms. We had already cut back our large animal clientele due to the immense growth of our small animal practice. Veterinarians for hire that would do mixed or large animal practice were increasingly harder to find, especially with a practice that was now doing as little as we were. At the time we had 7 full time vets in our practice but only two of us were doing the large animal. When my large animal associate announced he was moving back home due to the bad health of his in-laws, the decision was made to stop all large animal services. The decision was extremely tough because Dad had done so much work for so many of them and now I had too. Heck, I grew up going to a lot of those farms. We were practically family. The phone calls to those clients were some of the toughest ever. All were gracious, appreciative, and saddened by the news.
The call to Reid is still as vivid today as it was then.
“Reid this is Steve. How are you?” His typical response always was, “Doin’ great Steve. You?” “Oh, I’m fine. I just have some tough news to deliver” I went into the changes in the practice and the concerns of being able to provide the services needed by myself. I told him of our decision. I iterated that there were 2 large animal only practices that were more than qualified to assist him. “I would trust them with my own,” I reassured him.
“So you’re getting out? Well I tell you what, if you’re getting out, I am too. There’s nobody I want to handle my stuff if you can’t. I think the time is right for me too.”
Stunned I emphasized he shouldn’t do that. “I’d be ashamed to think I caused you to get out.”
“No it’s nothing to be ashamed of, if you can’t do it nobody can.”
We exchanged thank yous and appreciation for each other. We promised to stay in touch. As I hung up the phone, tears streamed down my face.
Reid had truly been “mine”.
(Please do not reproduce this article without permission from the author)
I saw these 2 articles and thought I would share. Many of my last articles have dealt with Canine Arthritis and Obesity. These two articles highlight research that may eventually benefit all. Enjoy!
Article one: https://trends.aahanet.org/VetNewsArticle.aspx?key=c5f85f93-9c78-4cc5-921d-56bc24f6ca70
Part Two: https://trends.aahanet.org/NEWStatArticle.aspx?id=NSV10I39&key=d13bdc42-f2e3-45e1-838b-bffb27b638a4
All the best,
Steve Foster DVM, CCRT