From the desk of docsef- Rehab Bloopers!


So we recently updated our Foster Animal Hospital, P.A. website. I hope you have the time to peruse it!

Foster Animal Hospital Website

In addition to our redone site we created a tab for our Canine Rehabilitation arm, Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center.

 Paws In Motion

Furthermore on the PIM page, we included several videos of which one is “What is Rehab”.

The “What is Rehab” video is a particular favorite of mine. Why you ask? Well, I don’t think I have laughed that hard in a long time.

Do you remember the old Carol Burnett Show? Much of the humor came from the live production. Carol Burnett, and Harvey Korman, and Tim Conway are comic geniuses. However, with the live production, many times they would crack each other up but try their best not to laugh on live TV.

Well our efforts were on video and not live TV, but we do have some bloopers to show for it! (we deleted some bloopers to protect the innocent!)

Follow the link and enjoy!


All the best,

Stephen E Foster, DVM, CCRT

Foster Animal Hospital, P.A.

Foster Animal Clinic at Parkway Commons

Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center

730 Concord Parkway North

Concord, NC 28027


“He Doesn’t Act Like He’s In Pain”


“He doesn’t act like he’s in pain”.

That’s a common phrase we hear in our exam rooms or in conversations with clients that have older pets. We also hear, “she sleeps more because she’s old”, “he doesn’t go on walks as much because he’s old”, or “he’s gotten grumpier in his old age”.

While some of that may be true, reality is dogs and cats are masters at hiding chronic pain. Whether that goes back generations when there habitat was more outside and they needed more of a  survival instinct is up for debate. We do see different pain tolerances among different patients. But the average pet doesn’t show signs of chronic pain that we as humans feel would be typical signs.

So, sleeping more, walking less, being grumpy may well be “normal” signs of chronic pain for our pets.

Let’s look at what may be driving chronic pain and what we can do about it.

Arthritis is the most common cause of chronic pain in older pets. Arthritis can involve any joint, as well as, the spine. Arthritis is defined as the painful inflammation and stiffness of joints. Some pets develop arthritis from wear and tear over the years. Some pets will have arthritic joints from disease, such as, hip dysplasia. Some will have arthritis from injuries, for example, a torn cranial cruciate ligament. And there are other causes as well.

Chronic pain may result from other physical ailments: intervertebral disc disease, fibrotic muscle disease, or neuropathic pain.

The good news is, we have many ways to deal with chronic pain in your pet.

There are many different prescription medications that are available. The majority of the medicines are approved for dogs. There are some for cats but not as many. This is because cats are unable to tolerate many of these medications. Some of these drugs deal with inflammation and pain and some are for pain only. Sometimes, we will safely use a combination of these to help our patients feel and function better.

Neutraceuticals, supplements, and Chinese herbs are another way to relieve chronic pain. In fact, this is oftentimes the first line of defense. These supplements help nourish the joints and some have natural anti-inflammatory ability as well. There are a ton of these available but not all are reliable or effective. We suggest asking us for guidelines before starting any supplement.

Rehabilitation Therapy is a new and up-and-coming option for pets with chronic pain, injuries, and for post-op recovery. Rehab utilizes many of the same techniques that physical therapy does in humans. Manual therapy, massage, passive range of motion, and therapeutic exercises are often employed. We also use different modalities: underwater treadmill, LASER, land treadmill, and more. The response to therapy is remarkable and helps pets regain pain-free function. While many degenerative issues are not curable, Rehabilitation Therapy can decrease chronic pain, improve strength, improve neurological function, and promote healing. We even have access to acupuncture, platelet rich plasma, and stem cell therapy!

If any of this reminds you of your pet, contact us today!

Foster Animal Hospital and Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center: 704-786-0104

Foster Animal Clinic at Parkway Commons: 704-262-7387.


All the best,

Stephen E Foster, DVM, CCRT

Foster Animal Hospital, P.A.

Foster Animal Clinic at Parkway Commons

Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center

730 Concord Parkway North

Concord, NC 28027






I’m Back!!

Well I haven’t really been “gone”. I just haven’t blogged in a while. Thus, I’m Back!

Through this forum, I hope to share news and happenings from Foster Animal Hospital, Foster Animal Clinic at Parkway Commons, and Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center. If there are topics you are interested in, please feel free to email me at:

Just like the world we live in, Veterinary Medicine is rapidly changing. I began practicing in 1985 and much has changed over the last 31 years! Here at Foster Animal Hospital, we were once a Mixed Animal practice that helped all species of animals but now we are a Small Animal practice that only helps cats and dogs. We used to have a full service boarding and grooming facility, but 24 months ago converted that space to full time Canine Rehabilitation and Conditioning. For 50 years we operated solely from our main hospital at 730 Concord Parkway North. In 2008, we opened an Out-Patient Clinic at 3805 Concord Parkway South. We now offer specialty services such as Canine Rehabilitation and even have a Board Certified Surgeon and a Board Certified Radiologist that come and provide specialized surgeries and specialized diagnostics at our main hospital. What the future holds is exciting!

So please join me on this “journey” as I share information and topics about and from Foster Animal Hospital, Foster Animal Clinic at Parkway Commons, and Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center.

And lastly, all of us here wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year!

All the best,

Stephen E Foster, DVM, CCRT

Foster Animal Hospital, P.A.

Foster Animal Clinic at Parkway Commons

Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center

730 Concord Parkway North

Concord, NC 28027




PIM Logo

Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center

PIM Logo

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.
  • Gulick
    • A measuring tape with a spring tension device used to measure limb circumference. Measures muscle mass around thigh.
  • Goniometer
    • 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
  • Massage
    • 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
  • Stretching
    • 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


Obesity and Canine Rehabilitation Part 1

Pets that are at an ideal body condition helps promote a leaner, longer, healthier life. It also reduces potential for developing weight-related health conditions. Helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels, healthy blood pressure and heart rate. The ideal body weight is considered where the ribs are palpable, but not visible, slight waist observed behind ribs when viewed from above, and abdomen tucked up, flank fold present. Obese is defined as being 30% above normal weight.

Below are some reasons why pets are obese/ overweight. One of the reasons, which I am guilty of, is leaving out full bowls of food for pets to graze. By doing this just ten extra kibbles of a typical dry cat food could add up to one pound of weight gain annually. When measuring the amount of food being given be sure to use an actual measuring cup not a coffee cup. This can lead to over feeding or under feeding if not sure of the amounts given. The graph on the side of the food bag is just a guideline. You want to be sure you are feeding the amount for the weight the pet should be at not the weight they are at unless it is their ideal weight. A couple of basic reasons that carry a role in pet obesity is children at home sharing their food, genetics (obese prone breeds), and not taking into account the calorie amount when it comes to treat giving. The last reason is possibly slow metabolism which could be genetic as mentioned earlier or it might be the result of a disease such as hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease.

There are some health problems that can occur from patients being obese/ overweight also. With arthritis the over-weight animal has extra unneeded stress on joints, including the discs of the vertebrae. This extra stress leads to the progression of joint degeneration and creates more pain. The problem is compounded as joint pain leads to poorer mobility, which in turn leads to greater obesity. Respiratory compromise is a large problem because the obese pet has a good inch or two of fat forming a constricting jacket around the chest. This makes the pet less able to take deep breaths as more work is required to move the respiratory muscles. Areas of the lung cannot fully inflate, so coughing results. The pet also overheats more easily. Many cases of tracheal collapse can be managed with only weight loss. Diabetes Mellitus is caused by extra body fat leading to insulin resistance in cats just as it does in humans. Hepatic Lipidosis is when an overweight cat goes off food or partially off food because of illness or psychological stress, body fat is mobilized to provide calories. Unfortunately, the cat’s liver was not designed to process a large amount of body fat. The liver becomes infiltrated with fat and then fails. A study of age-matched Labrador retrievers found that dogs kept on the slender side of normal lived an average of 2.5 years longer than their overweight counterparts. If a pet should develop a condition where a therapeutic diet is of great benefit, the pet that has been maintained primarily on a diet of table scraps may be unwilling to accept commercial pet food of any kind, much less a food modified to be beneficial for a specific disease process. Obesity poses an extra anesthetic risk because the drug dosing becomes less accurate. Furthermore, anesthesia is inherently suppressive to respiration and adding a constrictive jacket of fat only serves to make proper air exchange more challenging. Also, surgery in the abdomen is hampered by the slippery nature of the extra fat as well as difficulty visualizing all the normal structures through the copious fat deposit. Overweight cats can even develop skin problems from not being able to groom themselves properly.

With these four steps we can solve the problem with obese/ overweight pets. Step 1: Veterinarian Visit – you’ll want to make sure your pet doesn’t have any problems that might make lifestyle changes difficult or dangerous. Step 2: Carve some time out of your schedule to walk your dog or play with your cat 3 times a week at least. Be sure to work in some aerobic exercise, anything that gets a cat or dog running. For dogs, 20-30 minute brisk walking or play time is recommended. With cats, try several short bursts 5-15 minutes of activity chasing toys or a laser pointer. Hiding food will trigger a cat’s natural hunting instinct. Also Canine Rehabilitation is an option for those that have those busy schedules and need a personal trainer for their canine companion (will be discussed further in Part 3). Step 3: Calculate calories – check with your vet for proper amount, any food given extra from meal time adds in as well, including treats. Step 4: Measure meals – don’t just fill the bowl. Try small high-protein, low carbohydrate meals 2-3 times daily. Look for low-calorie, no sugar treats or substitute vegetables and fruits, such as sliced carrots and apples for dogs, or salmon flakes for cats.


“When Man’s Best Friend Is Obese”, by Gwendolyn Bounds, the Wall Street Journal, February 22, 2011


Watch Me Rehab!

Hello Friends!

I’m excited to show you my newest Canine Rehabilitation Therapy video!

Have you ever wondered what I do during my rehab sessions at Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center? Well, Candace (my Certified Canine Rehabilitation Assistant) doesn’t just massage knots out of my muscles, she makes me work hard! But it’s ok, because that’s what makes my knees strong.

Here’s a video of one of the exercises I do called ‘Sit to Stand’. I have to balance on an inflated ball called a ‘peanut’ while I repeatedly sit and stand (for treats, of course).

This exercise helps strengthen the muscles in my legs, especially the ones around my knees. My knees sometimes pop in and out of place which hurts and makes me skip a few steps. Once my muscles get stronger, they will hold my knee joint in place better and they won’t pop out of place anymore.

That’s good news because if I can make my joints stronger now, I won’t have lots of joint issues when I get to be a lot older. Well, I better go now, I hear Candace calling me for my next canine rehab session.

Until Next Time,


To Flex or Not to Flex?

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!

Yoga 3


I have to say that it does feel really good! It helps take away all my tension.

Yoga 2

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!

Yoga 1


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,


Hey Friends!

Sleep 2

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!


Underwater Treadmill?!?


It’s me again, Amadeus! I’ve got to tell you about my week at Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitiation. It was so weird! But, in a good way!

I went to my canine rehab appointment like usual on Friday but when I got there, my Certified Canine Rehabilitation Assistant, Candace told me that I was going to use the Underwater Treadmill today. The WHAT?!?!? Underwater Treadmill? What does that even mean?


I have to admit, I was pretty suspicious the rest of the morning. Luckily, I was able to see one of my rehab buddies, Shepp, in the Underwater Treadmill first.  He did a lot better than I did though. I kept trying to stop walking but that didn’t help. Here’s a video of my buddy Shepp during his rehab session (Click the link):   Shepp Underwater Treadmill

When it was my turn, it took me a while to get used to the water moving all around me, but I started to get the hang of it. I walk on the land treadmill twice a week, so I started to realize that it’s the same kind of thing. I just keep walking.

I could feel the movement of the water and it made me focus on my balance better so it didn’t push me from side to side. I also felt the resistance from walking in the water. It definitely gave me a good workout!

I can’t wait until my next visit! I am going to have mom take a video of me so I can show you all how good I’m doing in rehab!


Mya’s Chronicles Part 2


Hey, it’s me again. The wounds on my left rear leg were beginning to heal very well. My right hip, on the other hand, did not want to stay in place. Dr. Robin Moser tried several times to make it stay , but it wasn’t going to. What I needed was surgery and it was not going to be easy, but it had to be done. With the help of PaymentBanc my mom and dad were able to approve the surgery. The surgery involves the surgeon removing the head and neck of the femur (thigh bone). By doing this surgery it prevents bone on bone friction and the scar tissue that develops after surgery forms a false hip joint. The name of this surgery is a Femoral Head Ostectomy (FHO). The interesting part of having this surgery is that Canine Rehabilitation sessions are included. The Canine Rehabilitation sessions are provided by Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center. So, the veterinarian technicians drew my preoperative blood work and scheduled my surgery for Friday that same week. See you next time for Part 3.