Dogs go lame for all kinds of reasons. Arthritis, Lyme disease, paw injuries, muscle sprains, bee stings, interdigital dermatitis, and dislocated kneecaps can make any dog limp. But when an active dog suddenly can't put weight on a hind leg, the most common diagnosis for more than a million American dogs every year is a torn cruciate ligament. In 2003, according to the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the cost of treating those injuries exceeded $1.32 billion, and the price tag keeps rising. The most common prescription for canine knee injuries is surgery. Unfortunately, operations don't always work and some patients, because of age or other conditions, are not good candidates. In recent years a nonsurgical approach called conservative management" has helped thousands of dogs recover from ligament injuries
About a decade ago, my then-young Bouvier, Jolie, had surgery to repair a herniated disc. From reading Whole Dog Journal, I was vaguely aware that veterinary physical therapy or rehabilitation existed; these specialties were mentioned in Recovery From a Fetch Injury" in the August 1999 issue
Today's explosion of canine sports has made sports medicine a veterinary specialty. But, says Carol Helfer, DVM, at Canine Peak Performance Sports Medicine & Physical Rehabilitation Center in Portland, Oregon, competing dogs are prone to injury not because their sports are inherently dangerous but because canine athletes seldom receive the conditioning training that keeps them strong, balanced, and coordinated. The whole notion of injury prevention through proper conditioning is one that is just beginning to gather attention,h explains Dr. Helfer. What I love about this work is that a few simple exercises can dramatically change a dog's quality of life. In athletic dogs, the proof is in their continued good health, enhanced performance, and absence of injuries. Elderly and sedentary dogs benefit, too, and they quickly show increased range of motion and a renewed enthusiasm for activities."
We call it the spark of life for good reason. From birth to death, all living creatures generate and transmit energy. Entire healing therapies, some of them thousands of years old, have been built around energy. Once dismissed by Western science as impossible or ridiculous – and still viewed with suspicion by conventional physicians and veterinarians – energy medicine is slowly gaining acceptance in the United States. Several energy therapies are taught in American universities or are used by a growing number of healthcare practitioners. Can energy therapies help your dog? The descriptions and resources provided here may help you decide.
Strained muscles, pulled ligaments, sprains, and bruises . . . these are common canine injuries in the spring, when the weather invites us all outside and even seems to encourage our dogs to overdo it. Enthusiastic, rigorous exercise that follows several months of relative inactivity is a prescription for injury.
When spring is in the air, every dog knows it. Spring is the season when dogs want to run, play, and stretch their bodies, when their eyes brighten, and their natural zest for life flows through their veins. Spring is a time of action. There are so many canine performance sports today that require peak levels of running, twisting, turning, jumping, and pivoting. Anyone watching a canine agility trial or flyball competition can see the adrenaline pumping through every ounce of the dog's being. Adrenaline can override the senses and the animal can unknowingly hurt himself badly, especially early in the season. The risk of injury is very high when a dog is not properly conditioned. Also, dogs need to be given the opportunity to warm up before engaging in the burst of excitement and energy they experience at the moment they are released for coursing, a herding test, or on a sledding trail.
A muscle strain here, a pulled ligament there, a sprain, a bruise pretty soon we're talking about serious problems. Canine sports injuries are increasingly common, but there is much you can do to catch them early, treat them correctly, and reduce the risk of your dog getting badly hurt, needing surgery, or having to retire from competition.
He’s fearless. Reckless. Senseless? Or perhaps my Australian Cattle Dog, Cedar, is just accident-prone. Yesterday he slammed head first into a door jam during rough play with my Shepherd-mix, Willow. Today he did a nose dive off a five-foot embankment in pursuit of his favorite all-natural dog toy: a pine cone. As always, he retrieved the cone, chewed it into a slobbery clump of fibrous goo, and dropped it at my feet. On his trot back I noticed he was limping, holding his front leg off the ground.
The syndrome seems to be caused by muscle injury possibly brought on by overexertion, says Janet Steiss, DVM, PhD, PT. Steiss is an associate professor at Auburn University's College of Veterinary Medicine and coauthor of the 1999 study on limber tail that pinpointed the nature of the muscle damage.
and took four-month-old Gideon home in August 2002.
Seeking an outlet for Gideon's energy
A reluctance to perform may indicate that your dog is injured or ill. The sooner you investigate, the more successful any needed treatment will be. Acute or chronic health problems - from spinal misalignments or torn muscles to the development of disease - are commonly to blame for the onset of performance failures in well-trained and well-conditioned dogs.
first discovered Petey at their local humane society shelter in 1990. Scheduled for euthanasia the next day
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