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Now that the colder months are upon us we may be noticing our older dogs and cats having more and more trouble getting around. We may start to see subtle signs of osteoarthritic pain such as our pet being slower to get up or lay down and being stiffer while walking. The symptoms may be more severe such as vocalizing, anxiousness or panting. There can be a variety of symptoms that we see when a pet is experiencing pain or discomfort. These symptoms may include: stiffness, reluctance to jump or climb stairs, changes in mood/behavior, appetite issues, panting, anxiousness, vocalizing, limping etc. Once we have identified that there is an issue based upon clinical symptoms we are seeing at home and a thorough physical exam in the office, we can come up with a diagnostic and treatment plan to help out your loved one. There are many things we can do to help our aged pets feel better and live a more comfortable life.
Oftentimes a multi modal approach is necessary for the treatment and management of osteoarthritis. A combination of life style changes, supplementation, medication, and therapeutic modalities are often necessary to help ease the pain of osteoarthritis and help with avoiding further musculoskeletal changes. One of the most important components of arthritis management is making sure our dogs and cats are at an ideal body condition score. Carrying excess body weight only increases the wear and tear that we put on our joints. Calorie restriction and controlled/routine exercise are key in maintaining a healthy body weight. At examination we will determine if your pet is overweight and how much weight loss is indicated. It may also be necessary to discuss the need for pain management to allow for routine light exercise. Joint supplementation, pain medication, regenerative medicine and therapeutic options such as therapeutic laser, physical therapy and acupuncture may also be discussed.
In this newsletter we want to discuss and further explain the concept and benefits of therapeutic laser. We are happy to be able to offer such a progressive and non-invasive approach to pain management that can complement our other treatment strategies. Therapeutic laser has been proven to be very beneficial when treating a number of conditions such as acute pain, chronic pain and wound healing. We have seen benefits in treating acute and chronic pain due to arthritis/degenerative joint disease, back injury, muscle, ligament or tendon injuries. Post-surgical recovery, soft tissue trauma, open wounds and neuromuscular diseases are other instances where therapeutic laser can aid in healing and comfort.
Here at Cedar Mill Veterinary Hospital we offer a class IV therapeutic laser for our patients. Therapeutic lasers work at a cellular level using a process called photobiostimulation. Deep penetrating photons from the laser focus on soft tissue to influence cell chemistry in a positive and beneficial way. We are increasing the amounts of ATP, which is the substance responsible for cellular energy production. This mechanism causes: decreased inflammation, analgesia (pain relief), accelerated tissue repair, improved vascular activity, improved nerve functions, reduced scarring and faster wound healing. All of our routine surgeries automatically get laser treatment before surgery. Why? Therapeutic lasers aid in healing, decreasing inflammation and decreasing pain and we want your pet’s healing faster and receiving optimal pain control. Also, patients need minimal to no restraint for laser therapy and no sedation is needed. There is no discomfort with the treatment. Please call us if you have any questions or schedule an appointment to see if your pet would benefit from therapeutic laser.
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