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Physical Therapy for Pets!
Juno is a 7 year old boxer who has been insanely active her entire life. She loves nothing more than to run and play with other dogs, chase after tennis balls, and jump for frisbees. She one day spent an entire afternoon doing all 3 of those things, and the next morning came up sore and limping. She improved after being rested for a couple weeks, but would begin limping again any time jumping or playing with toys was introduced. A life without being able to play fetch or frisbee is not the life for Juno! After x-rays were taken that looked normal and revealed no other cause for the limping, Juno's next step was to visit a rehab/physical therapy veterinarian. Her first physical therapy visit was aimed at finding the exact source of her discomfort. They took measurements of her muscle mass, did many range of motion exercises, watched her gait at multiple paces, and palpated her muscles. This revealed that her shoulder was bothering her. From this point, we were given physical therapy exercises to do at home, she received therapeutic ultrasound treatments followed by diagnostic ultrasounds to ensure her muscles/tendons were healing, was on strict exercise restrictions, and put on fish oil and a glucosamine supplement called Dasuquin. It was a long 4 months of Juno only being allowed to go for leashed walks while she healed, but the end result is that she is now able to run and play with no pain or limping. And even better is that they don't usually see this type of injury recur!
Physical Therapy for Pets!
Sawyer is a 1 year old Australian cattle dog and essentially a little canine athlete. He does disc dog competitions, agility classes, and is an all around hiking/fetch/walking companion. In short, he is very active and puts a lot of stress on his body. Due to all his activity, in an effort to make sure his body can continue to tolerate the wear and tear, I chose to have a “baseline visit” done with a sports medicine veterinarian to make sure everything felt good and to get some exercises we could do at home to keep him conditioned for all his activities. A wellness exam for his muscles and joints! Sawyer has never acted painful, has never limped on any legs, is never hesitant to do any activities, and gave me no reason to believe there would be any issues detected at his exam. But surprise! All the palpating and range of motion exercises were leading us to notice that he had definite spots of discomfort. Nothing was truly “injured” quite yet, but our wellness plan now was turning into a treatment plan so that things didn't progress and cause him more issues. After a few weeks of laser therapy and some physical therapy exercises at home, Sawyer does not have the soreness/discomfort that he had beforehand – not even after being examined after a competition. By being proactive, we were able to treat this issue before it became problematic for Sawyer and were able to avoid any strict exercise restrictions. We now have a plan in place to prevent further problems, and just another example of how easily pets can hide problems and why wellness visits are important.
Buddy is our Technician Tarek’s dog and here is his story!
In the spring of 2011 Buddy was here for his annual Heartworm and tick test. The next day the results came back and Buddy was positive for Anaplasmosis! This was surprising because Buddy has Frontline applied every month, except the colder months of course. I now know ticks can be present in temperatures above 30 degrees. I guess I should have been applying the Frontline year round as suggested!
Anaplasmosis is an infection of the blood and is transmitted by the brown dog tick or the deer tick. The deer tick also can transmit Lyme disease so coinfection can be quite common. Thankfully Buddy previously has had his Lyme vaccine and did not transmit that disease as well.
Buddy did not show any symptoms of Anaplasmosis which can be common in positive dogs. Some common symptoms to watch for would include loss of appetite, lethargy, lameness or bruising or nose bleeds. We continued monitoring Buddy for symptoms and checking his Anaplasmosis status regularly and he is now negative for tick born diseases.
My name is Wrigley and I am a spunky little puppy that goes to Pilot Knob! I am a Labrador retriever mix and, as you can see, I am adorable. This cute breed has a crazy disposition about wanting to eat EVERYTHING, and, for a lot of puppies, it’s true!
Let’s start from the beginning. I first came to Pilot Knob in December to show off my cuteness and to have my first puppy exam with my new parents. We had a full check-up and I received my vaccines. I was only 12-weeks-old at the time! My technician talked to my parents about something called Trupanion. It is an insurance company that helps with unexpected medical issues. Pilot Knob gave me a certificate for 30 days of coverage. Boy, did that certificate pay off!
About a week after my first appointment I did not feel very well. My tummy hurt and I was vomiting. Mom and Dad brought me in to the clinic right away! Dr. Handley examined me and suspected I had a foreign body. That means I ate something I wasn’t supposed to, and it was stuck in my tummy. (But hey, I’m a puppy! I couldn’t help it!)
That day I went into emergency surgery. You would never guess what they found: a monkey toy! I was wondering where that went! I had been chewing it and it just vanished. Something even more amazing than my toy’s disappearing act happened: Trupanion covered 57.5% of the cost of surgery! They saved my family over $350, all thanks to a free 30 day trial!
I finally got back to my normal puppy self! I am thankful that my family had started Trupanion. They are continuing my coverage in case I get sick in the future. It’s not easy being this cute and spunky, but pet insurance helped me stay this way! If anyone has any questions about Trupanion, tell them to stop by the clinic and tell them “Wiggly” Wrigley sent you!
Whiskers is our Technician Bretton’s kitty and here is her story.
Whiskers started life in a barn in Iowa, her mom was named Fanbelt, and she was destined to be a farm cat. A visiting relative met Whiskers and her sister Spooky and brought them back to Michigan. This is where our story begins. She immediately chose me over other people in the house and ever since we have basically been inseparable. Over the past 16 ½ years she has been my best friend. She’s been with me through the end of high school, helped me learn in collage and tech school, and continues to help me be a better technician every day.
Whiskers has been having wellness bloodwork run most of her life. When she was 13 yrs we started noticing a trend that her kidney values were increasing so we took action. Since we were able to detect changes early, we started her on a Kidney-friendly diet (k/d) that can slow the progression of the Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). We also check her bloodwork often, every 3-6 months, and take blood pressure readings to track the progression of the disease. Adding a water fountain and feeding more canned food also help flush the kidneys.
With the early detection of the Kidney disease we were able to slow the disease, monitor the progression of the disease, make changes to her health plan with information provided by regular blood checks, and help keep her happy longer for many more years.
There are several different types of prescription kidney diets out there. When our pets eat food the body breaks down the food to gain nutrients. During this process there are waste products created that need to be filtered out by the body. One of the major filtering organs in the body is the kidneys. So the goal of these diets is to help lessen the filtration work the kidneys have to do when filtering waste products. They are formulated by doctors who balance the specific needs of patients with kidney disease.
Kate & Boomer’s Story
Boomer is my “heart dog.” My family adopted him as a puppy when I was in Jr. High. We grew up together and continue to learn from each other every day. His outgoing, yet stubborn personality inspires my thirst for knowledge, my passion for training, and my goal to “be the person your dog thinks you are.” He’s truly the definition of “man’s best friend.”
Every year at his wellness exam we complete routine bloodwork. This baseline helped us immensely last spring when Boomer suddenly became sick. Over the course of a month, Boomer gradually lost interest in food. He had always been a very energetic, active dog, and he had slowly become subdued. He suddenly was no longer the bouncing, playful 9-year-old he had been. At his exam we ran bloodwork to check his organ function and blood cell count. This panel showed extremely elevated liver levels. After supportive care and an ultrasound we decided to take Boomer to see an internal medicine specialist at Blue Pearl.
There are many tough decisions to make when dealing with a sick pet. Boomer’s ultrasound hadn’t provided a diagnosis. It had helped rule out any obvious masses or tumors that could cause the elevation in his bloodwork. I was optimistic knowing the risk of cancer had lowered. The best option for a diagnosis was to take surgical biopsies of the liver. This would help determine the cause of Boomer’s illness and lead us in the right direction for treatment.
When the doctor presented our options there were so many thoughts going through my head. Obviously, I wanted to do what was best for Boomer. Surgery seemed liked the best option, as our previous treatments hadn’t been able to help him. He was becoming weaker every day and I didn’t want him to suffer. But surgery was terrifying, especially for an older dog that was so sick. What if we did surgery and found out he had something we couldn’t treat? I didn’t want to put him through something so invasive if there was no hope for recovery.
Thankfully, I had a key piece of information available to me: a history of wellness bloodwork. By looking at his routine bloodwork over the years we were able to see trends and develop a timeline of when this disease had started. His most recent bloodwork was completed just four months prior to him falling ill and was relatively normal. Knowing this disease began within the last few months was my ray of hope during this journey. I clung to the fact that I knew this disease had not been steadily brewing for years. This disease had suddenly appeared and I had hoped it could disappear just as quickly.
Boomer had his surgery at Blue Pearl. He recovered well and was diagnosed with inflammatory hepatitis. With the correct treatment on board, I noticed a huge improvement in his energy and appetite within the first week after surgery! I cannot express how grateful I am to have had baseline bloodwork to reference during this difficult time. This knowledge gave me more than information. It gave me hope.
Heartworm preventatives work retroactively. This means they work backwards to protect your pet from disease they may have been exposed to in the previous months. Because of this, the American Heartworm Society recommends giving heartworm preventative 3 months after the first frost. By that time in Minnesota we start warming up again. Therefore, we recommend giving heartworm preventative year-round. Pledge to protect your pet's heart every 30 days!
We've been enjoying some wonderful warm weather lately and with this weather comes ticks! Ticks are known to be active in temperatures as low as 30 degrees! If you haven't yet started your monthly flea and tick preventative, now is the time! Visit the following for monthly email reminders or download the Frontline reminder app on your smartphone today! http://www.frontline.com/Pages/PetHealthServices.aspx