Posts Tagged: quality of life
Have you ever looked at a closed door and wondered what is behind it? Or maybe a cabinet that is very high and said, “If I only had a ladder.”
For years we veterinarians wondered the same thing about dog’s and cat’s mouths! Well specifically, what is going on in there? Guess what, we found the ladder!
So you’re saying, “Dr. Steve, what in the world are you talking about?”. Over the last several years, dental radiographs or x-rays, have become available. And thanks to modern technology, regular and dental x-ray machines are now digital. When we as humans go to the dentist, we often have x-rays made of our teeth. What are the dentists and us vets looking for?
We are looking at the present condition of of the tooth roots and bone that support and anchor our pet’s teeth. And we are also looking at the future of your pet’s mouth.
According to the American Veterinary Dental College, periodontal disease ” is the most common clinical condition occurring in adult dogs and cats, and is entirely preventable.” ( https://www.avdc.org/periodontaldisease.html ) Statistics show that by 3 years of age, most dogs and cats have signs of periodontal disease. Let that sink in: “most common clinical condition” and “3 years of age”. Is that shocking to you?
If you think about it, for the average dog and cat, 1 year of age is equivalent to 7 years for humans. (That is an average. Dogs in particular age at different rates based on size, breed, and sex) At what age do we start brushing our children’s teeth? At what age do our children start going to the dentist? Hopefully not at age 21!
So back to the matter of dental x-rays for dogs and cats. Many of our pets can suffer from hidden tooth root damage and periodontal bone loss. This can result in a tooth that is dying, or severe infection, and pain. And many of our pets never show us the pain. And when they do, the problem is advanced and requires immediate action.
A case in point is Emmy, my own 12 year old Miniature Schnauzer. She had a routine dental performed in June of this year. Dr. Mark Plott and his team performed dental x-rays. Emmy’s right upper canine tooth was basically dead. She had shown no obvious signs of pain and discomfort at home. When they cleaned the tartar from that tooth, there was a slight discoloration near the gum line. Without the x-rays we would have never known about the advanced nature of her problem and her pain. The recommendation was to remove the tooth. Once she healed from the extraction, she was like a new dog. She was playing often and hard with our new puppy. Even acting like the puppy herself!
My point is, we never knew Emmy was in that much pain. And to make matters worse, she was in a position to develop an abscess that would have created more pain and misery and could have potentially seeded her blood stream and body with infection.
All dental cleanings performed at Foster Animal Hospital now receive full mouth x-rays. Yes, this has increased the cost of the procedure. Unfortunately, the digital dental x-ray machines are not cheap. But we feel as the advocates for your precious family members, the benefits and value of this step are definitely worth the cost. And Emmy agrees!
There is probably not a more important procedure to have done for your pet. You never know what is behind that door!
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
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
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? 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 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!
Today my adventures brought me to Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center at Foster Animal Hospital. Dr. Steve Foster evaluated me from head to toe to see if I need rehab. I was shocked that he found some problems. I know I’ve been having knee issues and a bit of pain in my lower back, but I never thought it was something that rehab therapy could help with.
Dr. Foster told my mom what he found during my Rehabilitation Assessment. He told her that I have lower back pain. This is something I’ve been hiding from mom, so I’m glad Dr. Foster finally told her so we can make it go away. He also told her that my knee caps are loose. I can feel my knees popping in and out but I didn’t know rehab could make them better. He found all my muscle knots on the front part of my thighs, too.
Mom was glad that Dr. Foster found these problems that I’ve been hiding from her. She was excited to know that Dr. Foster and Candace Lafond are certified in Canine Rehabilitation and they can help me feel better! I started my rehabilitation therapy today and it felt really good! Candace does massage therapy on my legs to help loosen my muscle knots and I get LASER therapy to reduce inflammation in my knees and lower back. When I get my LASER therapy, I get to wear these cool shades called “Doggles” to protect my eyes. Dr. Foster and Candace wear a pair too. Don’t we look cool?
I’m going to Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center two times a week so I will have updates for you as I go along. I can’t wait to feel the results of my new therapy! Thank you Dr. Foster & Candace for helping me feel great again!
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, firstname.lastname@example.org 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
Pets hold a special place in our hearts, so let’s learn how to take better care of theirs.
Everyone has nervously watched as your veterinarian quietly listens to your pet’s heart. Some of us have even heard the dreaded phase “ Fido has a heart murmur.” When I uncovered a heart murmur in my own kitty Chance last year during his annual checkup, I had a moment of disbelief. I made Dr. Seals verify what I was hearing. When it comes to my own pets all my years of training go out the window and I became the nervous client waiting to hear the news. However, I hadn’t made a mistake and my baby was diagnosed with early heart disease. So what exactly is a heart murmur and what can we do to keep our pets healthy?
While stroke and heart attack are fairly uncommon in our four-legged friends, murmurs are frequently discovered. A heart murmur is an abnormal sound heard with a stethoscope. Instead of the distinct “Lub – Dub”, we hear a ”Lub – whoosh – Dub”. This extra sound indicates turbulent blood flow. Some of the causes include a leaky heart valve, thickened heart muscle, anemia, or an innocent murmur heard in puppies and kittens.
How do we find out the cause of the heart murmur? The three most common tests veterinarians run include a chest x-ray, echocardiogram, and blood pressure screen. The chest x-ray allows the veterinarian to evaluate heart size and the surrounding lung fields for potential fluid accumulation, a sign of congestive heart failure.
The echocardiogram allows us to visualize the inside of the heart including the heart valves, the four chambers and blood flow. All of us know why blood pressure is important.
While some murmurs are silent and will only be detected by your veterinarian, others present with symptoms such as a cough, exercise intolerance, or even collapsing episodes.
So how do we keep our pets heart healthy? The best way to prevent heart disease is by maintaining proper body weight for your pet, exercise your pet regularly, keep up with dental care, and take your pet in for a yearly checkup.
Brittany Novosad, DVM
Foster Animal Hospital
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
Did you over-indulge a bit over the holidays like I did? How about your pet? I imagine a few of us are guilty of eating too much delicious holiday junk food and SOME of us who will remain unnamed also fed a little to our dogs and cats. There’s one table feeder in every family; sometimes it’s the 3-year-old but more often it’s the mother-in-law or the husband, and I see accusing fingers fly when I ask who’s to blame. Then we all laugh about it. No judgment here, I just can’t help if I don’t know what’s going on!
While I admit to problems disciplining myself to eat perfectly, I don’t have any issues with ignoring big brown eyes staring up at me from beneath my dining chair. (Do as I say, not as I do?) Maybe it sounds harsh, but ideally we should feed no table food to our pets. Why shouldn’t we show them we love them by giving tasty leftovers? Because too much of the good stuff or even a little of the wrong stuff is bad for them! Here are some examples of problems caused by table food:
1. Obesity. Did you know that about 50% of dogs and cats in this country are overweight or obese, but only about 25% of those animals’ owners recognize this? Excess body weight contributes to a shorter lifespan due to increased risk of diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, and respiratory disease. You should be able to feel your pet’s ribs easily, but not see them. If there’s a layer of fat padding, well, he’s overweight. Fun facts:
For a 10 pound cat, 1 potato chip is equivalent to a person eating ½ of a hamburger.
For a 20 pound dog, 1 hot dog is like a person eating 3 hamburgers or 2 chocolate bars. Just 1 small oatmeal cookie is equivalent to a person’s hamburger.
What seems like a snack can actually be more like an extra meal! If you really MUST feed table food, consider carrots, green beans, apple chunks.
2. Toxicity/illness. It’s getting to be common knowledge that chocolate, raisins and grapes, onions, and xylitol (in some sugar-free gums and baked goods) are toxic to pets. However, many people don’t know that fatty foods such as bacon, gravy, and sausage can cause pancreatitis, a serious medical condition that requires hospitalization.
3. Gastrointestinal upset. Some pets have sensitive stomachs, and eating table foods can cause vomiting and/or diarrhea. I’ve also seen some awful constipation cases after dogs have eaten bones, both cooked and raw, creating bone splinters in the feces. Ouch!
4. Incomplete nutrition. Treats should make up less than 10% of a pet’s total diet. In some of our client families, table food makes up more like 100% of the diet. My concern with this practice, besides potential for obesity, is that pets are not getting the right balance of nutrients. For example, cats eating only tuna don’t get
needed taurine, and dogs eating only chicken don’t receive enough vitamins and minerals.
If your dog “refuses to eat his food”, you can try adding low-salt broth for flavor or a small amount of oregano. Cats like food that’s been warmed slightly and to eat from a wide, shallow bowl allowing for whisker room.
How will my pet know I love her if I don’t feed her from the table? I recommend small dog or cat treats, breaking them into pieces if they’re large to begin with. People look at me like I’m nuts when I say this, but fill a treat jar with the pet’s regular kibble and offer a piece with lavish attention. Take your dog for a walk. Give your cat five minutes of undivided attention and playtime. Maybe I’ll take my own advice, get my dogs out for a walk, and step away from the cookie jar right now.
Robin Lake, DVM
Foster Animal Hospital
Thanks to Hill’s Science Diet for the statistics, and my research assistant Keisha Medrano