“He Doesn’t Act Like He’s In Pain”

321

“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

704-786-0104

sfoster@fosteranimalhospital.com

 

Bunker1

 

 

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,

~Amadeus

Clarence’s Rehabilitation Journey Part 2

Video: clarence 6-1-15

Clarence came in for his first Rehabilitation session at Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center. The owners were continuing to perform reverse hair brushing on Clarence’s rear legs and back. Candace Lafond, CCRA also performed reverse hair brushing during his rehabilitation session. Simulation walking was performed, while Clarence was in a standing position, on the left rear leg and on both rear legs when he was in a laying position. He had started to show improvement by seeing movement in his left rear leg and some muscle tightness. Clarence still did not have enough strength to walk without assistance. Simulation walking is done by moving the limb(s) in their normal walking range of motion. Reverse hair brushing and simulation walking help in triggering nerve stimulation to promote feeling/ movement. Candace Lafond, CCRA also conducted some weight bearing exercises to strengthen Clarence’s muscles. The other common therapies performed on Clarence were Passive Range Of Motion (PROM), stretching, soft tissue massage, and LASER treatment. The CCRTs and CCRA continued these therapies through the next few sessions. Clarence continued to gain strength/ function in his rear legs from session to session.

Progression Video: Clarence 6-3-15 below

Since Clarence was becoming stronger the exercises became more challenging. The CCRA had him doing sit to stands, foot placing on steps, and going up and down the ramp.

Progression Video: Clarence 6/5/15

 

 

 

Mya’s Chronicles Part 4

photo (2)

Hello everybody! I have missed you guys. Everything has been going very well for me. My mom has been taking me for short walks at home everyday to help in my recovery from surgery. Today was also one of my rehabilitation sessions at Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center located at Foster Animal Hospital. The CCRA (Certified Canine Rehabilitation Assistant), Candace Lafond, has been doing some therapeutic exercises along with manual therapies and LASER treatment during my rehabilitation sessions. These therapeutic exercises help to strengthen my muscles and help to increase my Range of Motion.

Click link below to see video of Mya using the Cavaletti Rails

mya

One of the therapeutic exercises is cavaletti rails which help to increase my hip extension and flexion while also strengthening my thigh muscles. Another one is using a balance board to help with weight shifting. Candace helps me to get up on the board and then moves the board back and forth to help with balancing and shifting weight over to my surgery leg in order to increase strength. She will also have me go up and down the ramp with her to increase muscle strength as well.

Each rehabilitation session continues with manual therapies, therapeutic exercises, and certain modalities(ex. LASER) throughout the treatment/ recovery period. As the sessions continue the therapists and assistant will add in different/ more challenging exercises to increase strength and recovery. They will also increase duration of the previous exercises to make them more challenging as well.

I love to be active all the time so doing the therapeutic exercises keeps me moving. I also enjoy the manual therapies as well because I am getting all the attention and the treats. To be continued….

 

Mya’s Chronicles Part 3

photo

 

Hello again. My hip surgery went well with no complications. One week after my surgery I came for my first rehabilitation appointment at Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center. Candace Lafond, CCRA (Certified Canine Rehabilitation Assistant), performed the therapy for my rehabilition session. My first rehabilitation session consisted of PROM (Passive Range of Motion), STM (Soft Tissue Massage) and LASER (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation).

Passive range of motion is where the certified rehabilitation assistant moves the leg through what should be normal range of motion. This manual therapy is performed to keep the joints and muscles from becoming tight and stiff. Passive range of motion also helps to observe degrees of flexion and extension of the joints. If there are joints and muscles that are tight and stiff the certified rehabilitation assistant will manually perform stretches to loosen the muscles and joints slowly not to cause discomfort. Soft tissue massage is where all the muscles, mainly around specific areas of concern, are massaged to work out trigger points/ muscle knots in order to relieve muscle tightness. LASER therapy is a cold laser that the assistant administers  a certain amount of joules (energy) into the areas of concern or surgery sites. This modality (therapeutic method) helps with controlling pain/ discomfort, to decrease inflammation and to promote blood circulation for healing. My favorite part of my rehabilitation session was the LASER therapy because I got to wear these cool glasses called Doggles. I can’t wait for my next rehabilition session.