At Therapaw Canine Rehabilitation and Pain Management clinic we use integrative modalities such as acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, cold laser therapy, and rehabilitation techniques to help control pain and maintain physical condition. Rehabilitation therapy is especially important for patients who have undergone surgery for orthopedic or neurologic problems.
What To Expect at the Initial Rehabilitation Evaluation:
1. Initial Discussion (approximately 20 minutes) The doctor will ask a series of questions to help clarify your goals for your pet. This might be something simple such as relief of pain or better mobility, but can range from regaining the ability to stand and walk to being able to return to a sport. Additionally, the doctor will also ask questions to get a clear sense of the home environment and what is required for your pet to adequately get around your home. The doctor will review your pet’s history, length of the problem, and any records, radiographs (x-rays), and blood tests with you as they may pertain to the rehabilitation therapy. She will also ask about your pet’s diet and discuss whether it may need to be modified to help your pet to lose or gain weight. If you have been referred by your veterinarian specifically for rehabilitation, we will not be able to take you on as a regular client other than for rehabilitation.
2. Gait and stance analysis (approximately 15 minutes) – The doctor will observe your pet sitting, standing, walking, and sometimes trotting and will analyze their movement. She will make note of any gait or stance abnormalities and discuss with you what they may mean.
3. Physical Examination (approximately 10 minutes) – The doctor will perform a thorough general examination of your pet to ensure that we are not missing something that may be important.
4. Palpation and measurements (approximately 20 minutes) – The doctor will thoroughly palpate your pet’s neck, shoulders, back, tail, and all 4 limbs. Measurements of muscle mass (using a Gulick tape measure) will be recorded. Joint range of motion will be measured using a goniometer and recorded. Flexibility will be assessed and the limbs will be checked for evidence of nerve impingement. These measurements (which will be repeated at the 4 and 8 week re-evaluation) will help us to determine your pet’s progress towards your goals. During this time a neurologic examination will also be performed.
5. Discussion of findings (approximately 10 minutes) The doctor will discuss her findings with you as it relates to your pets physical limitations and/or pain.
6. Formulating a Plan (approximately 10 minutes) The doctor will draw up and document a plan for your pet. This will include a combination of all or most of the following: in clinic manual therapy, acupuncture, laser, massage heat or cold, pulsed electromagnetic therapy, and a home exercise and stretching plan. It may also include medication recommendations in addition to what your pet may already be taking.
7. Going over the plan (approximately 5 minutes) – The doctor or a staff member will review the plan with you and make sure that you are comfortable with how to perform the exercises for your pet.
8. Scheduling treatments
Integrative Therapeutic Nutrition
Targeted nourishment during illness or injury is critical for optimal recovery. Our doctors and staff will help you to choose a species appropriate, biologically correct, naturally anti-inflammatory diet. We will help guide you in choosing appropriate supplements to aid your pets healing and to help him/her maintain fitness and muscle. Enhanced with specific amino acids, fatty acids, phospholipids and protein complexes, our diet recommendations can enhance muscle development, slow compensatory atrophy, speed wound healing and aid in controlling acute, post-surgical or trauma related inflammation.
Geriatric musculoskeletal health revolves around providing specific therapeutic nutritional plans that provide abundant antioxidants to scavenge free radicals, are easy to digest and assimilate and focus on slowing and preventing age related muscle wasting and atrophy. Additional trace minerals and specific vitamins are also necessary to fortify older tendons, ligaments, joints and an aging central nervous system.
Underwater Treadmill Therapy
Underwater Treadmill Therapy utilizes the resistance and supportive properties of water to promote increased range of motion of joints, reduce swelling, and strengthen muscles. Walking on the underwater treadmill is a weight bearing activity that can also be helpful in stimulating balance and bone density. It also provides a safe opportunity to teach animals to walk again without the risks of slips, trips or painful falls. Utilizing the water jets in a deeper pool creates an endless current of resistance that allows dogs to swim weightlessly, which improves coordination, the brain-body connection, muscle mass and strength as well as range of motion and endurance.
Laser Therapy is light energy used to stimulate healing, reduce inflammation and pain, and reduce scar tissue formation. Some of the well known biological effects of laser are cartilage stimulation, immune system stimulation and improved blood flow. Indications for use of laser include reducing post-operative pain and inflammation, degenerative joint disease, neuritis, wound healing, joint swelling, tendonitis, tendonosis, bursitis, tendon/ligament injuries, muscle spasms, osteoarthritis and myositis. Laser therapy can allow newly formed scar tissue to become more pliable for increased range of motion.
Therapeutic exercise using exercise balls, rebounders, ramps and therapy bands to create specific exercises which help your pet improve coordination, proprioception, weight bearing and range of motion.
Range of Motion (ROM) Exercises
Many injured or older animals have reduced range of motion causing compensations, muscle imbalances and over time, reduced mobility and functionality. Regaining full range of motion through specific exercises is critical for normal joint and muscle physiology.
Cryotherapy and Heat Therapy
Cryotherapy (ice) relieves pain and inflammation and decreases bleeding and swelling. Heat therapy improves muscle flexibility and circulation.
Acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, aquapuncture and Moxabustion
Stimulating acupuncture points in a variety of therapeutic ways can reduce pain, improve circulation and integrate the central and peripheral nervous systems. Using traditional needles, warming needles, needles connected via a micro-current of electricity, injections of vitamin B or Laser therapy at acupuncture points are unique and different forms of acupuncture that can be very therapeutic.
We fit patients for ankle, wrist, elbow, hip, paw, full body support systems and carts.
Pain Management and Inflammation Assessment
Evaluating metabolic inflammatory markers to formulate a systemic intensive anti-inflammatory protocol allows us to optimally manage inflammation as well as customize the appropriate pain control for each animal’s condition.