Posts Tagged ‘soft laser therapy’

Arthritis in Cats and Dogs: An Alternative Holistic Therapy for Lameness

Arthritis is probably the most common of the chronic diseases that progressively steels quality life from our senior dogs. Osteoarthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease that can effect any size dog or cat but is seen much more often in larger breed dogs. Arthritis often starts with stiffness and is first noticed when the older dog has a hard time rising in the morning. In time the owner may noticed that their dog is getting more lame, slower going up the stairs and may be reluctant to jump into the car.. A dog with hip displasia or hip arthritis tends to run like a rabbit using both back legs at once. As the arthritis progresses the dog will usually become more lame and betining kjl to hold up or favor one limb. He or she may walk with short stiff steps and the dog’s gait may show a hind end instability (swaying). At the end stages of arthritis the pet may not be able to rise without the owners help. It is a sad thing to see otherwise healthy animals euthanized because their caregiver is undable to lift them up in order to get them outside when they need to eliminate.

It is my opinion much of the arthritis our dogs experience could be eliminated by changing their diets from a grain based food to a more meat based recipe. Just because the first ingredient on the ingredient list is meat does not make the diet meat based. The only way to distinguish if a food is meat based is to asked the company’s nutritionist (not customer support person) “what percent of their food is meat when measured on a dry matter basis ?” Judged on this basis, most pet foods are no more than 20% meat. Grain based diets are hard for carnivores to digest and the poorly digested large grain protein molecules act as allergens which damage the intestinal lining and result in a “leaky gut syndrome”. This leaky gut allows grain protein molecules to get into the blood stream where they can migrate to the pet’s joints and set up an inflammatory reaction. Feeding a meat based diet helps to prevent the above sequence of events. Supplementing the diet with digestive enzymes, fish oil, and antioxidants will help reduce the likelihood of arthritis.

If your dog has already developed arthritis there are a number of ways to help slow the progression and reduce the discomfort from the disease. Injections of “chondroprotective” substances which increase joint fluid production and encourage cartilage repair can be very effective arthritis remedies. Personally I am not a big proponent of using non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) to reduce inflammation and pain because their long term use may result in gastro intestinal, liver, and kidney disease. It has also been shown that long term use of NSAIDs in humans actually results in cartilage degeneration. Providing glucosamine, chondroitin , MSM, Gerizyme, Adequin, Legend, Zeel , Trameell,systemic enzymes, hyaluronic acid, Comfort Zone and antioxidants in place of NSAIDs can help restore joint integrity and, in my opinion, is a much preferred approach.

Other ways to treat advanced arthritis include physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, “infra-sonic therapy”, “pulsed magnetic therapy”, prolotherapy, gold bead implants, cold laser therapy, Electro Crystal Rebalancing and massage therapy. Teaching pet owners how to massage their pet and provide passive range of motion can be very helpful in extending and enhancing their pets quality of life.

Finally, I want let my readers know about a very exciting advance in arthritis therapy. Adult stem cell technology is now available to help treat advanced arthritis. The stem cells are harvested from the patients own fat. These stem cells can be injected intravenously or directly into joints. These injected primitive cells will develop into connective tissue and cartilaginous cells which will help to rejuvenate the damaged joint. This technology is has already been used successfully in hundreds of dogs and horses and although still on the expensive side is now available to the family pet. Presently I am one of the few veterinarians certified to provide such therapy.

Detecting the early signs of arthritis and instituting early treatment can make a huge difference in the success of therapy. Providing a high quality meat based diet, with omega 3 fatty acids, digestive and systemic enzymes and antioxidants along with weight management can help prevent the onset of arthritis and help extend both the quality and quantity of the pet’s life.

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Woodside Animal Clinic is a unique, very personal, one doctor practice where, for over 35 years, Dr. Simon has been healing dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, ferrets rodents, and reptiles with both conventional andalternative medicine. Dr. Simon is certified in Acupuncture, Chiropractic and Stem cell therapy. He is the author of 4 pet care books, a past president of the Oakland County Veterinary Medical Association and past board member of the  American Holistic Veterinary Association.   Visit us at  www.doc4pets.com

Woodside Animal Clinic sees pets from all over Michigan but primarily from the greater Detroit area including Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston and Washtenaw counties. Cities in these counties including Royal Oak, Berkley, Huntington Woods, Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge, Detroit, Redford, Livonia, Hazel Park, Madison Heights, Warren, Centerline, Clawson, Troy, Sterling Heights, Southfield, Birmingham, Lathrup Village, Bingham Farms,  Franklin, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Novi, Northville,Wixom, Brighton, Livonia, Plymouth, Commerce, Ann Arbor, Ortonville, Clarkston, Waterford, Union Lake, Rochester, Rochester Hills, Auburn Hills, Utica, White Lake, Grosse Pointe, Romeo, Swartz Creek,  Shelby township, Washington,  Flint, Hartland, Lansing, Okemos, Howell, Brighton, White Lake, Romeo, Saline, South Lyon, Battle Creek, Saginaw, Windsor Canada, Toledo Ohio

Prolotherapy in Dogs: Non Surgical Joint Repair of Cruciate Ligament Tears & Arthritis

You have probably heard of athletes rupturing their “ACL” but didn’t really know what that meant. The abbreviation ACL stands for “anterior cruciate ligament”. This ligament is found inside the knee joint and helps to maintain its overall stability. When this cruciate ligament is stretched or torn as a result of a sudden traumatic movement the knee joint is no longer stable and begins to move in abnormal ways. This abnormal movement called “drawer movement results in pain, cartilage degeneration and eventually in arthritis. Conventional medical advice for a cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture would be to have the knee repaired surgically. There are several surgical techniques which are all quite effective in returning the knee joint to normal function, however, they are all quite expensive and have a 3 to 6 month re-cooperative period where the dog is significantly favoring the leg and placing additional stress on the opposite leg.

In a large breed young animal cruciate ligament surgery may be the smartest thing to do but in an older animal the surgery may not be the best route to follow. Consider first that neither anesthetic nor surgery is easy on an older animal. Secondly, understand that the surgery will cause the animal to bare weight entirely on the opposite limb for a good 3 months. This added stress can lead to both arthritis and occassionaly a cruciate ligament tear in the opposite hind leg. The two most recommended cruciate surgeries are the “ lateral suture technique” and the “TPLO”. Both are equally effective in the long run and both have inherent problems. The suture technique surgery uses a heavy duty suture to stabilize the joint. Although rare, this suture can slip, break or even get caught up on arthritic spurs already present. The TPLO is a more aggressive surgery where a portion of the tibial bone is purposely broken in order to change its alignment with the femur. The TPLO knee surgery has more risk of bone infection and could even result in a non union fracture. It is a significantly more expensive surgery and produces no better long term outcome than the less aggressive less expensive suture technique. The TPLO surgery may fail to produce the hoped for stability and is more likely to result in arthritis than the lateral suture technique.

For all of the above reasons, do not jump into surgery without first considering other options. If you search the internet you may discover articles on “prolotherapy” as a method for rehabilitating damaged joints. Prolotherapy has been used for over 30 years to repair hyper-mobile, unstable joints in humans. It however is just starting to take its rightful place in veterinary medicine, although it is still considered to be in the realm of alternative medicine. Prolotherapy, proliferative, or sclerosing therapy are simply different names for the same thing. Prolotherapy is a way of tightening up loose unstable, hyper-mobile joints by injecting a “sclerosing” agent in and around the joint. The sclerosing agent produces a thickening of the joint capsule and of the external ligaments of the joint. This thickening of the ligaments act like scar tissue and eventually contract with time. The thickening and contraction of the ligaments and joint capsule increase joint stability and relieves joint pain. Prolotherapy commonly takes place in 5 to 6 sessions spaced approximately 3 weeks apart. During each session the joint is shaved and disinfected with a surgical scrub. Then multiple injections are carefully placed in the ligaments and joint capsule and even into the joint space. Because of the number of injections most dogs will need to sedated but usually not anesthetized. Although I tell caregivers not to expect any positive results until at least the third treatment I am occasionally surprised to see improvement after just one treatment. Although side effects from prolotherapy are rare, a joint infection is possible and consequently I surgically scrub the knee before each prolo session and give antibiotics to go home. In very rare occasions it is possible for prolotherapy to injure a nerve passing by the knee however this has never happen to me and should not happen if care is taken to apply the sclerosing agents only to those areas of the knee where nerves are abscent.

In order to encourage more rapid fibrosis and joint thickening I often apply soft laser therapy to the knee with a non cutting therapeutic laser device that employs 5 lasers of various frequencies . Soft lasers are therapeutic devices that should not be confused with surgical lasers. The soft laser is painless, quick and has next to no adverse side effects. Soft laser therapy supports the prolotherapy by further encouraging fibrosis of the joint capsule and external ligaments. I also recommend that oral doses of “Orthoflex” and vitamin C be given at home throughout the prolotherapy process. Another modality I often recommend be used in conjunction with prolotherapy is pulsed magnetic therapy. The pulsed magnetic waves reduce pain and help the joint recuperate. Finally, to further support the prolotherapy, injections of “Adequan” and “Legend” can be given to encourage cartilage health, joint fluid production and overall joint rehabilitation.

Prolotherapy for torn cruciate ligaments may not be successful if there is a torn meniscal cartilage in the joint. It is also possible that in spite of multiple injections the thickening of the external ligaments may not be adequate to stabilize the joint and consequently the dog’s lameness remain. That being said, when the choice is between joint surgery or prolotherapy, prolotherapy being safer, less invasive and less expensive makes more sense especially in the senior patient.

Prolotherapy can be performed on almost any joint of the body. Personally I have performed prolo on knee joints, elbow joints, hip joints, the sacro illiacs joints and the lumbo sacral joints.  It is a good choice of therapy for hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia,  shoulder dysplasia or for any joint problem where there  is arthritis resulting from stretched ligaments.

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Woodside Animal Clinic is a unique, very personal, one doctor practice where, for over 35 years, Dr. Simon has been healing dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, ferrets rodents, and reptiles with both traditional and alternative medicine. Dr. Simon is certified in Acupuncture, Chiropractic and Stem cell therapy. He is the author of 4 pet care books, a past president of the Oakland County Veterinary Medical Association and past board member of the  American Holistic Veterinary Association.   Visit us at  www.doc4pets.com

Woodside Animal Clinic sees pets from all over Michigan but primarily from the greater Detroit area including Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston and Washtenaw counties. Cities in these counties include:  Royal Oak, Berkley, Huntington Woods, Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge, Detroit, Redford,  Allen Park, Romulus, Trenton, Livonia, Hazel Park, Madison Heights, Warren, Centerline, Clawson, Troy, Sterling Heights, Southfield, Birmingham, Lathrup Village, Bingham Farms,  Franklin, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Novi, Northville,Wixom, Brighton, Livonia, Plymouth, Commerce, Ann Arbor, Ortonville, Clarkston, Waterford, Union Lake, Rochester, Rochester Hills, Auburn Hills, Utica, White Lake, Grosse Pointe, Romeo, Swartz Creek,  Shelby township, Washington,  Flint, Hartland, Lansing, Okemos, Howell, Brighton, White Lake, Romeo, Saline, South Lyon, Battle Creek, Saginaw, Windsor Canada, Toledo Ohio

Physical Rehabilitation for Pets

Physical therapy is something that people who are injured or who have undergone surgery expect to go through as part of their recuperation. Unfortunately it has only been within the last 8 years that physical therapy has been readily available for injured animals.  Orthopedic injuries, neurological problems, trauma, and arthritis are all maladies that can benefit from  physical therapy.

There are number of therapies that can be utilized to help rehabilitate injured or painful pets.  Among them are acupuncture, chiropractic, nutritional and herbal support,  intravenous and transcutaneous lasers therapy  , pulsed magnetic therapy,  infrasonic and ultrasonic therapy,  microcurrent stimulation, underwater treadmill, hydrotherapy,  prolotherapy, range of motion and therapeutic exercise, massage therapy, balance and proprioception equipment.  Other supportive measures we use are systemic enzyme therapy, antioxidant therapy, DMSO, homeopathy, and herbal therapy

The following conditions are just a few we have successfully treated with rehabilitation therapy: Wobblers and intervertebral disk disease,  arthritis, cruciate ligament tears, post surgical cruciate ligament repairs, lumbo-sacral stenosis,  hip dysplasia,  degenerative myelopathy and any soft tissue injury involving post surgical wounds, damaged tendons, ligaments, and muscles.

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Woodside Animal Clinic is a unique, very personal,  one doctor practice where, for over 35 years, Dr. Simon has been healing dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, rodents, and reptiles with both conventional and alternative medicine.  Dr.  Simon is the author  of 4 pet care books and he writes a monthly pet care column in the Mirror newspaper.   He is a past president of the Oakland County Veterinary Medical Association and has served on the board of both the South Eastern Veterinary Medical Association and the American HolisticVeterinary Medical Association.

Woodside Animal Clinic  sees pets from all over the greater Detroit Michigan area including Royal Oak, Berkley, Huntington Woods, Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge, Detroit, Hazel Park, Madison Heights, Warren, Centerline, Clawson,  Troy, Sterling Heights, Southfield, Birmingham, Bingham Farms, Franklin, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Novi, Wixom, Brighton, Livonia, Plymouth, Commerce, Ann Arbor, Ortonville, Waterford, Union Lake,  Rochester,  Rochester Hills, Auburn Hills, Utica,   Romeo,  Windsor, and Toledo.