Hey guys! It is getting time for Halloween and even though it is a great time to pull pranks, dress up and celebrate we need to make sure that our pets are protected.

Our pets get scared by masks and there are so many people who don’t look normal so they become very anxious.

With the kids coming around knocking on the doors we also need to make sure that our pets are secure in the house — a nice quiet bedroom would be ideal away from the scary people.

Dressing our pets up has become a fad also which is fine as long as the outfit isn’t constricting to your pet. You must also make sure that your pet is very safe around pumpkins, candles or anything that may be knocked over.

Candy is available at every turn during this time of year and pets are very susceptible to vomiting and diarrhea. Chocolate can be toxic for your pet and a lot of the newer “sugar free” candy has xylitol which is deadly for your pet.

Have fun with your pet during the holiday but keep them safe and secure. I went to Bark in the Park this weekend and took some pictures of pets dressed for halloween — enjoy!

Buddy the Boxer

Buddy the Boxer

We did the mash -- we did the monster mash....

We did the mash — we did the monster mash….

Working on the chain gaangg ....

Working on the chain gaangg ….

Doctor, doctor, give me the news!

Doctor, doctor, give me the news!

Ilio Whatsus?!

This is my rendition of the ilio psoas

This is my rendition of the ilio psoas

We have a lot of pets in the area competing in agility, obedience, hunt, field, along with a ton of other athletic events as well as older pets who suddenly come up lame and we can’t figure out why.

Ilio Psoas is a combination of two muscles – the Psoas Major and the Iliacus. The muscles begin under the lumbar (lower back) spine and from the underside of the pelvis; they come together on the femur or thigh bone. This muscle helps with flexing the hip, extending the lower back and with hip/pelvic movement.

Why is this muscle so important? This muscle helps with propulsion and activities such as running, jumping, turning and working rely on this combination of muscles working properly. The Ilio Psoas is one of those pesky core muscles we keep harping about to you.

Proper maintenance of this muscle includes core strengthening, warm ups and cool downs.

How does your dog hurt his Ilio Psoas? He can injure the muscle by just playing and carrying on but we tend to see it injured by over extending when jumping, repetitive activities such as fetch or Frisbee, slipping on the flooring, etc. general ways in which we all can pull a groin muscle.

A lot of dogs will pull up lame at an event and then once they get home appear normal – this can happen with small injuries but then the body begins its amazing ability to compensate and before you know it, you have a full blown problem.

Your dog can give a lot of subtle hints that something may be wrong such as a curved back, avoiding weave poles, not wanting to jump, turning just one way instead of both ways – things that most of us think are training issues may be actually compensation for pain.

Your pet does not have to be an athlete to hurt his ilio – he can be older and slip, a weekend warrior, or just constant wear and tear.

Your veterinarian will diagnose ilio psoas by doing an examination, palpating the area, a gait analysis and possibly range of motion or stretching. Soft tissue diagnosis are difficult to find so they may also want to take radiographs (x-rays) to make sure there is a fracture, arthritis or a tumor. Your veterinarian may also want to run a tick panel especially if you live in areas that have a lot of ticks.

Your pet can be predisposed to ilio psoas if they have any of the following conditions:

  • Hip dysplasia or arthritis of the hips
  • Cruciate problems (even if it is in the past)
  • Long backed dogs
  • Dogs with weak cores (especially lower back and pelvic region)
  • Young dogs training too early
  • Repetitive motion in dogs (too many jumps)

Once your veterinarian diagnoses ilio psoas he may prescribe pain meds such as NSAIDs along with rest. Other treatments would include laser therapy, cryotherapy (ice in the first 3-4 days), thermotherapy (heat after 72 hours), therapeutic ultrasound and slow increases in exercise.

If you are treating your pet for ilio psoas it is vital that in the first few weeks that he avoids any explosive or powerful movements such as running or jumping; they should be leash walked on a short leash and a flat surface. Three ten minute walks a day would be okay but you must comply with the rest portion.

Weight shifting is one of the exercises that your rehabilitation veterinarian would recommend along with hydrotherapy. Hydrotherapy is recommended because it allows the hip to extend and decreases the stress on the joints plus the heat of the water is helpful.

Swimming should be avoided until the area is almost completely healed along with diving or jumping into the water.

Balance and ball work are essential to the healing process so you should speak with your rehabilitation veterinarian for their recommendations on exercises.

Your pet is going to take at least 4-6 weeks for them to recover but most take almost 12-16 weeks for full recovery so the key is to be slow and steady. It is difficult to wait patiently that long but unfortunately if you return your pet too quickly then you may end up with a bigger injury that could take much longer to heal, if ever.

The key to any recovery is slow and steady. Make sure that you are doing your range of motion exercises, good warm up and a good cool down to keep any problems from developing.

Be Unique!

I couldn't get a picture of the goose so I gave you one of my "unique" baby!

I couldn’t get a picture of the goose so I gave you one of my “unique” baby!

I saw a white goose by the side of the road a few years ago and could not understand why a domestic goose was walking along 385N in Simpsonville. I got closer and realized that it was not a domestic goose but had some gray coloring to it. I watched this young goose, just barely adult size, make her way into the resident Canadian Geese and become a part of the flock.

Over the years I have watched for her to return and each year she comes back with them. She has found a mate and has raised her own babies. Now I don’t know for sure that she is a Canadian goose, maybe she is a Snow Goose or a subspecies of Canadian Geese, but the point is that she took control and was herself.

This goose has continued with her flock for years and each year it becomes a contest to see how early I can spot her — she amazes me and I love to see her. This year has almost gone and I did not see her until last Friday driving home. I looked over in the field at the flock and there she was; I got excited and called my husband immediately to let him know she was still alive and kicking.

This goose has lived her whole life in a flock that looks totally different, has made herself a valued part of the society in which she lives, and has raised her babies. The flock took a few days to get use to her in the beginning but eventually they no longer saw her differences and made her part of their family.

As pet owners we all know that our “fur” children are very different; we may want to compare them to a pet in the past but they will never be that pet – they are unique. Our pets have different personalities, different habits, and respond to us differently but in the end we accept them for who they are and they become a part of our “flock”.

Get out there — find your uniqueness and live it to its fullest.

Weight Loss Wins!

BJ in the underwater treadmill

BJ in the underwater treadmill

Hey everybody! It has been a week — I don’t know about you but I was glad for the weekend.

I wanted to give a big shout out to a pet who is working hard along with his mother, grandmother and rehab vet! BJ started coming in to ARCC because he could not walk in the rear — he was 31.1 pounds and he had a cruciate problem which hurt so he just kind of gave up. He was scooting himself around and when you did stand him up he would collapse so we started him on some home exercise, a diet that his referring vet recommended and underwater treadmill (uwtm) sessions.

BJ wasn’t overly fond of the underwater treadmill but it was a way to safely work on his strength in his legs, help him to lose weight and not hurt the already injured knee joint.

BJ’s mom bought a kiddy pool and the days he wasn’t here with us at ARCC he was home walking in the pool. BJ was on a strict diet and we began to see the weight loss; he still wouldn’t walk but could support himself when he was placed in the standing position.

Over the next few visits the owners reported that he stood up on his own, then he took a couple of steps, and he has steadily increased his walking along with his weight loss.

Last week BJ came in and there was a story of running from grandma and walking all over; I was ecstatic. We weighed BJ and he is now 24.8 pounds! That is astounding and he feels so much better; he still has his mother wrapped around his finger but he is improving daily.

I wanted to let people know that diet, exercise and diligence has led to this pet getting a second chance on life. It’s hard to not overfeed and it is easy to just say that they are old and this is normal for aging pets but it isn’t. We can all be vibrant and lively even to an advanced age.

BJ proves this everyday he comes into the clinic — thanks BJ for reminding us that age is not a disease!

Core Conditioning for Your Pet

Icee sitting up and begging -- ain't she the cutest?

Icee sitting up and begging — ain’t she the cutest?

I know that you all hear me harp on core conditioning but I don’t know that we ever took a few minutes to explain why I get on my soap box about it. Core conditioning is the strengthening of the abdominal and back muscles.

  • The core transfers energy to the extremities (legs) in our pets so it affects the speed, endurance and strength of what your pet is doing. The abdominal and back muscles also help a pet to jump and turn; most injuries occur due to poor core strength.

Let’s repeat that — Most injuries occur due to poor core strength.

  • The core muscles include such muscles as: abdominal, obliques, rhombodius, trapezius, latissimus dorsi, multifidus, and pectoral muscles. These muscles are so very important to a good and safe life of exercise.

One of the most intense sports for humans is the triathlon. These competitors have to be able to run, swim and bike huge distances and all of these events depend on very strong back and abdominal muscles.

Michael Phelps may be one of the premier athletes of our time but he is not a long distance runner and the same can be said of other athletes — they cross train in everything but they specialize their training for their event. Michael Phelps exercise routine includes swimming, lifting weights and stretching (hmm — wonder how many times you have heard this?). He has a balanced routine that strengthens not only his legs and arms but also his core muscles.

Core conditioning can be done on a FitPAWS peanut easily and it does not take very long to help increase those muscles. There are also some basic exercises that work the back and abdominal muscles without equipment such as crawling, sit up and beg, and rolling over.

I am helping a search and rescue dog — he runs on average 8 miles while trying to find someone but he cannot sit up and beg but my 3-legged cat can sit and beg for hours; she is phenomenal (and not just because she is mine — lol!). I saw another cat this weekend with malformed front legs and her core strength was amazing — she rotated herself around on the table while sitting up.

Try doing some easy exercises such as crawling or teaching the sit up and beg for a few minutes each day. You can also do just balance work on the peanut for the same strengthening of the abdominal and back muscles but also only do a few minutes each day. 10-15 minutes a day is good for core conditioning and then see how well your dog competes at the next event — does he seem more “collected”, better able to turn, and is he improving with his speed and endurance? Give me a holler and tell me how it goes for you and your dog.


What About Senior Pets?

Senior pet, arthritis, aging, gray face,What exactly is a senior pet? Is my pet a senior pet? These are common questions that we hear in the veterinary profession on a daily basis. Most people know the old rule: 1 dog year is equal to 7 human years. This is mostly true but you do need to take into account the breed of the dog.

Most dogs go through puberty in the first year of life and that technically equals about 13 for most humans. Large breed dogs don’t tend to live as long as small breeds and so they reach seniority at an “earlier” age.

Large breed pets such as Great Danes, Wolfhounds, etc. tend to reach senior status at about 6 years of age while small breeds such as Yorkies, Jack Russells, etc. tend to be more along the ages of 8-10 years of age.

Senior pets tend to exhibit signs that can be attributed to the aging process. These signs are such things as:

  • Less energy
  • Stiffness
  • Cloudiness in the eyes (aka nuclear sclerosis)
  • Hearing loss
  • More lumps/bumps
  • Increase in water consumption

Even though these signs may be part of aging, you should never take it for granted that it is “normal”. Always have your pet checked by your local veterinarian because there are things that can be done to help your pet.

Things like increase water consumption could be due to diabetes, liver or kidney disease and could be a hormonal problem. Any lump or bump should be seen because cancer is found in our pets and we wouldn’t want to miss something for not looking.

Plus a decrease in energy or an increase in stiffness could be due to pain so adding in medication along with exercise could make a world of difference to your pet.

Exercise is needed no matter what your age – make sure the exercise is within your pet’s ability and be reasonable about it. Talk with your veterinarian about how much and how often your pet should exercise.

Dental disease is a big problem in our older pets because it can lead to such things as heart and kidney disease. Your pet should have his teeth examined and cleaned by a professional on a regular basis to help avoid those issues.

Best case scenario for your senior pet would be twice a year examinations along with blood work. This allows your veterinarian to track changes and monitor any progress of problems.

Pain should always be dealt with in our senior pets especially since they have correlated longevity of life with pain. Pain can be subtle as not wanting to go on their walks or not spending as much time with the family so be very aware of how your pet acts. Make it a point to discuss pain with your veterinarian at every appointment.

Diet in our senior pets needs to change also because their metabolism is not as fast as previously so fewer calories are needed to maintain health. The amount of food on the market is overwhelming but talk with your veterinarian about which diet should your pet be fed.

Senior pets are a joy but they have some issues that need to be addressed as they age. Age is not a disease but unfortunately, we do see more diseases as we age – keeping a close watch on our pets and having an open dialogue with your veterinarian is the best way to help them through their senior years.

Another Exciting Week!

Cassidy will be modeling Haute Doggie fashions with studs, skulls, and tutus!

Cassidy will be modeling Haute Doggie fashions with studs, skulls, and tutus!

Hello all — I have had another jam packed week and it has been exciting so I thought I would share it with you.

I gave a talk last Tuesday to the local veterinarian group about rehabilitation and what they can do in their clinics. It was frightening but it went well and I was asked some very good questions, complimented by quite a few and hopefully taught them a thing or two about pain management in their hospitals.

My dance group went to Greenville Glen, an assisted living facility, to entertain the residents. Most of them appeared sleepy and they were a very quiet group, but there were a couple of wild women who danced with us. These women were a hoot! I loved it!

I then gave another talk to the Cherokee Foothills Norwegian Elkhound Club about conditioning their pets. It was another lively discussion and I enjoyed speaking with them. Hopefully, they learned something to take home and use for their pets.

Lauren, a friend of mine, who is starting a Pet Fashion Association this weekend called to say that she had an interview scheduled with a TV station. Lauren lives in Chicago and the station wanted her to bring a few pets and put on a fashion show while promoting her association; of course she says yes! Well it turns out the TV station is in Charlotte!

Lauren calls frantic looking for dogs to be models — I tried to help but had a hard time finding pets for her. Long story short — I am taking a client’s dog Lenox, my two girls and Rocket to Charlotte tomorrow to do a fashion show!

Now when I was growing up, I just knew that I would be a world famous veterinarian (James Herriot’s fault) and I would be on TV saving the animals. Well be careful what you wish for because it could come true — maybe not quite the way you thought but it could come true. So now my two dogs, along with Rocket and Lenox, are going to be famous and on TV while I just become the handler and chauffeur — lol! Not only that but they will be better dressed than I and in more expensive clothes!

I will be at Waggin’ in the Water Park this weekend in Greer — come by and see me. Til then, have a great week!

Wild women at Greenville Glen -- what a hoot!

Wild women at Greenville Glen — what a hoot!



Saying Goodbye to Summer

There's no place like home!

There’s no place like home!

Well, the summer is coming to an end and fall is just around the corner. I am finally back from Kansas with a successful completion and certification of the chiropractic course. There are a lot of events coming up over the next few weeks. Just when I thought I would get to rest a little, I have to get started full force again but it is all in fun.

I spent the weekend at the Waggin’ in the Water Park event at Discovery Island and I must say those dogs were having crazy fun! There were games of chase, ball, swimming, wrestling, lots of cookies from all the vendors and that was just the owners — lol! I must admit that I predict there were a lot of sore dogs and sore owners the next day. I could not tell who was getting the most exercise.

One of my favorite pets was a little Boston Terrier — he kept going to the other booths and getting large bone treats which he would bring to me, drop gently in front of me and then beg for my treats which he would eat. I had a little row of bones where he kept going and coming back; at one point, he even walked up to a cute little girl and dropped the bone in front of her before coming to me for the “good treat”. He was the cutest thing ever!

Another favorite was a small poodle who obviously really didn’t like the swimming part but was a ball fanatic! The tennis ball was about as big as his whole body but he would tear down the sidewalk to get the ball, bring it back to his owner, and then gently nudge it until the owner threw it again.

So this coming week I am giving 2 different talks — one to the local veterinarians and the other to the local Norwegian Elkhound club along with work, life, and the pursuit of the last days of summer. I enjoy when the weather begins to cool off a little. Then on the 21st we get to do the other Waggin’ in the Water Park only this one is in Greer — hope to have as much fun at this next one as I had this weekend.

Enjoy these days of summer and take some time out to just play. Here are some pictures of the weekend for all of us to enjoy —

Gotta ball!

Gotta ball!

Family affair -- everybody swims!

Family affair — everybody swims!

Chillin' at the water park!

Chillin’ at the water park!

Dachshund swimming his heart out!

Dachshund swimming his heart out!

waiting patiently to go back in -- right!

waiting patiently to go back in — right!

Exciting Things Happening

Traveling to class

Traveling to class

Hey all! I have had a busy week — yay! We are  growing and it is thanks to you all for supporting us.

We have had some exciting happenings this week:

Rocket wagged his tail just to be wagging — this doesn’t usually happen so we were tickled with it and he acts like we are being stupid.

I got my picture taken and will be one of the features in the Natural Awakenings magazine.

I am heading to Kansas for the last chiropractic class with lots of tests involved in this week but I am glad this is almost over!

I have been invited to speak to a couple of organizations — makes me nervous but is exciting also.

I have signed ARCC up as a vendor at the local “Bark in the Park” event and both “Waggin’ at the Water Park” events.

And best of all, one of my favorite patients — Kick — got her UDX this weekend. It has been a long road but we brought her back from her injury and she is “kickin'” butt!

This is just a quick note because I have got to go home and pack so I can leave this afternoon. Have a safe and fun holiday weekend and I will see you next week!

Why Rehabilitation for My Dog?

Rocket sitting up on his own without support -- wasn't possible a few months ago

Rocket sitting up on his own without support — wasn’t possible a few months ago

Rehabilitation for your pet is a lot like physical therapy for you; we are trying to achieve goals that allow your pet to function.

The goals could be anything from: 1) recovering quicker from surgery or injury, 2) make the quality of life better for your pet, 3) improve athletic ability through endurance and/or agility, 4) increase their flexibility and mobility through exercise, and 5) decrease pain.

Not only does rehabilitation increase the comfort, improve your pet’s quality of life but it also stimulates the body to increase blood flow to injured areas, reduce pain, swelling and complications, prevents other injuries, decreases the chance of muscle loss, and makes movement easier and less painful.

Almost all animals can benefit from rehabilitation because we all have some sort of nagging injury; pain, obesity, or just want to make ourselves stronger, healthier and happier (doesn’t hurt that it can make us faster and more responsive either).

Aging makes us weaker just due to normal muscle loss along with wear and tear on our body so rehabilitation can make us live stronger, longer and healthier lives without having to lose the vital function we need for living.

All sorts of conditions can be improved with rehabilitation – common conditions include such things as:

  • Surgeries (orthopedic or neurologic)
  • Chronic pain
  • Aging
  • Arthritis
  • Obesity/weight reduction
  • Fractures
  • Sports injuries
  • Tendon/ligament/muscle repairs
  • Dysplasia
  • Strength and fitness training

Canine rehabilitation centers can offer all types of modalities to help your pet recover or improve. These modalities include:

  • Cryotherapy – used to decrease inflammation to an area and decrease pain associated with the trauma.
  • Thermotherapy – typically used after 72 hours to help increase blood flow and decrease pain, it also increases muscle contraction and stretching capability along with helping to speed healing.
  • Massage – increases blood flow, oxygen delivery to the tissues and helps remove waste from the area. It also helps by accelerating muscle recovery, breaking down adhesions, relaxes the patient and relieves pain.
  • Therapeutic Laser Therapy – can help improve nerve injuries, help with chronic pain, help maintain cartilage health, and they are great to help accelerate tissue repair in skin, muscle, tendons, and ligaments.
  • Therapeutic Ultrasound – can locally increase the heat to deep tissues which helps to bring blood into the area, allow stretching to be performed, and help with wound healing.
  • Electrical Stimulation (E-stim) – is used to control pain, prevent atrophy through disuse of the muscle, retain the muscle how to move, and increase strength in a muscle.
  • Hydrotherapy (underwater treadmill) – is used to allow the body to bear less weight on the joints making exercise much more comfortable. It is great for reducing swelling, muscle strengthening, and cardiovascular training. It can help improve strength, range of motion, decrease pain, and increase endurance.
  • Ground treadmill – is used for non-painful patients or patients that are adequately pain managed.
  • Therapeutic exercise – whether passive or active are used to increase range of motion, muscle mass and to help with healing during recovery.

Rehabilitation is good for all of us and we at ARCC — Animal Rehab & Conditioning Center are here for your needs. Give us a call and take a tour!  HAVE A GREAT WEEK!