“He Doesn’t Act Like He’s In Pain”

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“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

 

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The Story of Clarence Part 3

Clarence continued to improve. He became stronger with each rehabilitation session. He is now able to trot up and down the exercise room. Performing sideways and backwards walking. I would also have him trotting in circles and going through weave cones. These exercises improved his ability to balance and improved use of the left rear leg by weight shifting. We still continued manual therapies and LASER treatment along with the therapeutic exercises. Mr. and Mrs. Wines, Clarence’s owners, have exercises they are performing with Clarence at home daily.

 

The Underwater Treadmill was the next challenging exercise for Clarence to begin. His rear legs were finally strong enough to go against the tension of the water. He started out doing underwater treadmill once a week. Clarence really enjoyed the water to the point he would dunk his whole nose under the water before the treadmill feature began. The settings for Clarence were set at 1.3 miles per hour for five minutes. The depth of the water was marked at fifteen inches. By the time of his last underwater treadmill session his settings were 1.3-1.5 miles per hour for eight minutes. The water depth was set at sixteen inches. Sessions in the underwater treadmill helped to improve his strength and gait even more.

The day came for Clarence’s last rehabilitation session. Everyone was so happy to see how well he had progressed in his recovery, but also sad to see him go. We will never forget his wonderful story, and I want to thank Mr. and Mrs. Wines for allowing us to share Clarence’s story. You can check out Clarence’s Rehabilitation Journey video below.

 

 

 

 

Mya’s Chronicles Part 5 The End

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Hello. I’m glad to be able to speak to you all again for the last time. This will be the end of my story. I was discharged today from Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center. The CCRA, Candace Lafond, sent home a therapeutic exercise sheet for my mom and dad in order to continue exercises with me at home.

The therapeutic exercises I will be doing at home are walking/ trotting up and down inclines, going up and down the stairs, cookie stretches and sit to stands. My favorite exercise of all though is ball play because I get to chase after the ball. (Click link below for video)

Mya Chasing Ball

Using the therapeutic exercise sheet is beneficial because it states what exercises I need to do, how many repetitions of each exercise is required and how often to do the exercises. As I become stronger I can increase my therapeutic exercises even more which is exciting news.

Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center gave me and my family hope for a better future since my accident. My family and doctors were worried about my recovery because of how badly my rear legs/ hip had been injured.

This has been a great adventure to share with you all. I hope you all have enjoyed it as much as I have.

With Love,

Mya, the Pitbull

Mya’s Chronicles Part 4

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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

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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….