Therapies for dogs suffering from arthritis.
It happens to humans and it happens to animals. Sometimes through an injury but mostly just from old age. In this article, I won't explain the illness itself, please follow the links for more information.
Arthritis is what's happening now to our dog Perroow, a 13 year old Labrador, and in this blog I'd like to share with you the different types of physiotherapy we have been applying in the last 3 months.
1. Aquatic Therapy.
The dog will be placed inside a treadmill system which will then be filled with water. The treadmill obviously provides the necessary muscle workout, but the water, with its resistance, hydrostatic pressure and buoyancy, serves to reduce the impact and stress on the joints.
As you can see, Perroow is constantly stimulated to keep on walking by giving him delicious (and low calorie) treats ;-
Don't freak out, it sounds worse than it is! Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) has been used on humans for years, and it first entered the animal medical world when it was used on horses. The equipment and knowledge for this kind of therapy don't come cheap, so the horses got to go first. Nowadays, there are quite a lot of vets that can offer this service.
A pad, covered in an electricity conducting gel, will be placed on the floor. The muscle or joint to be treated will be moistened, for a better conducting of the current. The dog will laid down on the pad with the muscle to be treated pointing upward. The vet will then slowly massage the muscle or joint with the electrical equipment, while pulses go through the dog's body to the pad.
The treated part will actually get nice and warm, it's a very relaxing type of therapy.
3. Laser Therapy.
This is definitely the one with the coolest name.
Laser therapy, also called Cold Laser, Low-Level Laser or Class IV Laser Therapy, all refer to the same therapy, using the same equipment to stimulate cell regeneration and increase blood circulation. Laser treatment for dogs employs deep-penetrating light to promote a chain of chemical reactions known as photobiostimulation. This process helps relieve pain through the release of endorphins, and it stimulates injured cells to heal at an accelerated pace.
Everybody in the room needs to wear special glasses to avoid any damage to the eyes. The dog's head is partially covered with a bandana to help him not to look in the direction of the laser. The vet will then slowly massage the affected parts of your dog's body with the laser. Although improvement is often seen after the first visit, your dog's condition will influence how often and long laser therapy is necessary. Treatments vary in length, but most sites require 3 to 8 minutes. Laser treatments for dogs are cumulative, so each additional treatment facilitates a greater improvement in your dog's condition.
In this video, you'll see laser therapy on the front legs and a nice massage on the rear legs, this can be done simultaneously.
Remember: there's no magical one-size-fits-all solution for arthritis. We have followed these 3 therapies simultaneously to obtain the best results, and there are many other therapies available. Food and drug optimization is another very important and integral part of a holistic approach to arthritis.
Wanna go in-depth? Read this great article by Dr. Laura Andersson, PhD.
Do you have any question or comment? Contact Perroow!