Osteoarthritis is one of the most common chronic conditions affecting dogs. Arthritis simply means ‘joint inflammation’, but in truth the disease is much more complex than this. It is caused by the deterioration of cartilage within the joint. The cartilage acts as a slippery cushion to allow the joint to move smoothly through its full range of motion. When this starts to break down, due to things like age, injury, repetitive stress or disease, it results in pain, inflammation, decreased range of movement and the development of boney lumps called bone spurs.
How do I recognise OA in my dog? Dogs rarely show us obvious signs of pain, but there are some things we can look out for.
- Behavioural changes (slowing down, unwillingness to play, acting unsettled and unable to find a comfortable position)
- Stiffness and lameness (more so after resting, likely on mornings or following exercise)
- Licking or nibbling at their joints
- Struggling to manage daily things that they would used to do e.g climbing the stairs, jumping onto the bed or sofa, long walks.
- Lack of appetite
How we can help here at Butterwick Animal Rehab Clinic
One of our two extremely knowledgeable Veterinary Physiotherapists will examine your dog’s movement and posture and then carefully design a tailored plan to help target your dog’s individual needs and get them back to feeling more like their happier, pain free selves.
This will include a home exercise plan for you to follow and do at home, which is extremely important and will work alongside the plan we will carry out in the clinic.
This plan will be working towards improving joint range of movement, building a particular muscle group, reducing pain and inflammation, preventing any secondary complications and enhancing or maintaining function.
K- LASER Therapy for dogs
Our Veterinary Physiotherapists can carry out K-LASER therapy on your beloved furry friend. This is where we use light at different frequencies, wavelengths and powers to optimise the body’s natural healing process.
The light energy passes through the skin and then into the cells, initiating a process called photobiostimulation. This is similar to the photosynthesis process in plants.
Aswell as optimising the body’s natural regeneration process, it also encourages the body to release endorphins and collagen, improves blood circulation, in turn then increasing mobility and reducing pain and swelling.
Pulse Magnetic Therapy for dogs
You may have already heard us talking about ‘Pulse Mag’ in the clinic. This is another kind of therapy that uses a form of electrotherapy.
This uses pulsed electromagnetic fields at different frequencies, this is because the cells in our bodies all have totally different electrical charges that change when cells are damaged. Pulse Magnetic therapy returns the damaged cells to their ‘healthy’ electrical charge. This then optimises ‘normal’ cellular processes, meaning we can achieve an improved rate of healing bone, nerves and soft tissues (ligaments, tendons, muscles, skin) as well as providing pain relief.
Hydrotherapy is extremely beneficial in helping manage osteoarthritis. We are very lucky at BARC to be able to offer both a hydrotherapy pool and an Underwater Treadmill, both allowing specific benefits to your pooches.
The warmth of the water is soothing for achy, arthritic joints and can help relax tight muscles, which helps relieve pain. The water creates buoyancy which provides support, so it makes it easier for your dog to exercise and create normal movement patterns.
Whilst exercising in the water, your dog is moving against the resistance, which helps build muscle, which most likely will have been lost due to lack of exercise from pain from the arthritis.If you’ve ever waded through the sea, you will probably remember how much hard work it was, this is why we start of with gentle sessions and slowly increase them over time.The water also provides a hydrostatic pressure, so when your dog is submerged in the water this will help reduce swelling; which means this will allow more movement in the joint and decrease pain.
The biggest, most rewarding benefit of what we are able to do in the BARC clinic is seeing your best friends be happier and waggier every time we see them and hearing all about their cheeky selves making a comeback!