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I recently had the opportunity to treat
a sweet bulldog who was well into her golden years. While she has the heart and mind of a puppy, her body has significantly slowed down over the last several years. She has problems getting up and down on the wood and tile floors at home, and her back legs have become smaller and weaker. She has been on several pain medications and joint supplements, which have become less effective over time. Luckily, her family was able to pursue rehabilitation therapy to help ease her sore joints, lose excess weight, and rebuild muscles in her hind legs! While rehabilitation therapy is commonly associated with post-surgical or injury care, essentially all animals can benefit from some form of rehabilitation to maintain optimal health. One of the most ideal groups for treatment are geriatric animals. Similar to humans, as animals become more affected by arthritis, they are less motivated to walk around on painful joints. In many cases, arthritis is an inevitable disease; however, there are so many things to help prevent the onset and progression of osteoarthritis, including optimum mobility and proper pain management, which are all addressed in the wellrounded approach provided through canine rehabilitation. From range of motion to home exercises to hydrotherapy such as the underwater treadmill, goals of rehabilitation are to maintain and improve movement, range of motion, muscle tone, and strength.
Simultaneously, treatment modalities such as laser therapy and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation function to decrease active inflammation, muscle spasm and pain, and stimulate endorphins and pain-control receptors providing relief naturally. The remarkable thing about rehabilitation is that it actually reverses the cycle of pain, immobility, and injury. You can actively see the change happening—and that, to me, both as a veterinarian and a pet owner, is incredibly exciting!
The remarkable thing about rehabilitation is that it actually
reverses the cycle of pain, immobility, and injury.
Canine rehabilitation works in conjunction with both traditional and alternative veterinary medicine (including acupuncture, chiropractic, nutritional, and herbal therapies) to create the most comprehensive and beneficial treatment plan for your geriatric pet. To learn more information on how a custom rehabilitation program can best support the optimum quality of life for your furry family members during their golden years, please schedule an appointment with me at Veterinary Acupuncture and Wellness! • Dr. Jessie Burgess, DVM, is a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist at Veterinary Acupuncture and Wellness in Jacksonville Beach. Find out more information or schedule your appointment with Dr. Burgess (904) 241-8869 • vetacuwellness.com
26 | Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air…” - Emerson
The Do! Do! issue is all about things to DO with your DOG!