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Archie with IVDD and a Ruptured Disc

Meet sweet Archie. He is a senior dachshund that lost the use of his back legs thanks to a disc injury for the second time this past winter. The first time this occurred was one year ago, and with cage rest and medication, Archie was able to re-gain function in his back end. We suspect the first injury was a disc bulge secondary to IVDD. This year when it happened, his mom was worried because it appeared much worse and was likely a ruptured disc as opposed to just a bulging one. It was worse than last time and she didn’t see much change with just medication. She contacted us right away and decided to do chiropractic with him.
At his first visit Archie had only a mild deep pain response in his back legs and had no movement at all. His muscle tone was like jello, he had no bowel and bladder control, and his back was incredibly hunched up. His mom had to bring Archie in using a laundry basket. It was heartbreaking to watch, especially as this little guy did everything he could to try and get around. He wasn’t showing any signs of pain, just confusion as to why he couldn’t move!
Archie was patient as was his mom. She followed our instructions to a T, she used all the tools we gave her and did so religiously. It was 7 adjustments later when Archie came in on his own accord, without a laundry basket, and on a leash. We nearly cried. It had been two and a half months since Archie’s first visit and each time he showed slight bits of progress. His mom never gave up and she entrusted us with the care of her beautiful boy. While Archie may have IVDD, he is moving beautifully, he has tons of energy, and he has never let his ruptured disc bring him down. Check out his before and after videos below!

 

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Arthritis in dogs

Geriatric Dogs and Animal Chiropractic

I find myself writing this blog today because our practice has seen an uptick in geriatric dogs recently.  What is their biggest complaint?  Typically, the issue is rear end shaking and an inability to support their weight.  The good news is that we are getting great results with this population.  In fact, our patients frequently claim to see significant improvement within 24 hours.  Why is this and what are some other strategies we can use to help them through their twilight years?  Read on to find out.

What is a geriatric dog?Geriatric Dogs

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, a geriatric dog is any small breed 7 years and older or any large breed 6 years and older.  There are many issues that affect this population, but one big one is a decrease in mobility.  The body naturally breaks down over time.  However, if the joints of the spine or limbs are in poor alignment they will wear down faster.  Think of it like a car forced out of alignment.  The tires and other parts will wear unevenly and quickly.  A similar thing happens in the body.

Why do geriatric dogs benefit from animal chiropractic care?

Geriatric pets benefit from animal chiropractic because chiropractic restores normal function and alignment to a joint.  When a joint is out of alignment, it places uneven stress along it.  In addition, it initiates an inflammatory response.  Inflammation is known for contributing to joint degeneration.  Therefore, animal chiropractic is an important intervention because it keeps the joints of the body in normal alignment which helps prevent premature wear and inflammation.

What else can we do to help geriatric dogs?

In addition to animal chiropractic care, there are a number of things we can do to help our pets.  These include:

  • Controlling your pets weight – Overweight pets are subject to extra forces on their joints.
  • Keep exercising – You may need to modify their routine, but movement is important for joint health.
  • Supplementation – There are quite a few joint supplements on the market.  The goal is to give a high quality supplement that includes glucosamine and chondroitin.

These tips combined with chiropractic care will benefit your pet’s quality of life.

Unfortunately, arthritis and decreased mobility area conditions that will affect many geriatric pets.  However, there are ways to slow the progression.  This includes adding animal chiropractic care, weight control, exercise, and supplementation.  With these additions your pet will enjoy an improved quality of life during their twilight years.

 

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Annie’s Partial Paralysis Reversal

Annie the sweet weim was always a healthy girl. She was active, happy, and never had any real health problems until she hit about nine years old. Suddenly she lost function in her back legs and things were looking quite bleak. Her fur dad sees a chiropractor himself and when he made mention of the issues his sweet girl was having, his chiropractor recommended a visit for Annie as well. Because of that referral, Annie has a new lease at life.

 

Annie came to see us one night and she had very little control of her hind end. She had to be helped up and supported underneath her backside in order to move forward. It was as if her back end and her brain were not communicating, or more accurately it was like her brain was speaking English when her back end only spoke German. Though Annie did have feeling in her back paws, once again her conventional options were limited.

 

Annie was probably one of the closest things to a miracle dog we have ever seen. Larger dogs struggling with paralysis often have a much harder time regaining function than small dogs simply because of size. Carrying around a much larger load makes it difficult to exercise without causing too much damage. Annie, however, defied the odds and within one week of her first adjustment was back up and walking with no added support. After two adjustments Annie was back to her normal self. It’s hard to believe she went from paralyzed to walking in less than one week without any medications or surgery. Check out her before and after video to watch Annie’s progress.

Annie’s Before and After

luxatingpatella

Luxating Patella and Conservative Treatment Options

Luxating Patella – What’s the Cause and How to Treat Conservatively

 

Luxating patella is a common orthopedic condition in a small animal practice, but what causes it? There are a few theories out there, but many cases appear related to genetics, trauma, or developmental issues. Don’t stress if your pet suffers from it, though. There are conservative options out there to help those afflicted. However, we need to first understand who struggles with the condition and why. Then, we can discuss natural treatments.

luxatingpatellaWhat breeds suffer from luxating patella and why?

As mentioned previously, many cases appear to be inherited – or related to genetics in some capacity. This evidence is so strong that some sources state dogs diagnosed with patellar luxation should not be bred. However, there are a couple of other possible factors that may contribute to the disease as well. For one, trauma may injure the knee leading to a misalignment of the patella. Another potential cause is developmental in nature. Developmental luxating patella may be a result of complex skeletal abnormalities affecting the entire limb, including:

  • Abnormal hip joints
  • Abnormal femur head conformation
  • Abnormal tibia conformation
  • Tightness or atrophy of the quadriceps muscle
  • A long patellar ligament

As you can see, there are many biomechanical issues that may be a factor in the progression of the disease.

Who suffers the most from luxating patella then? The condition appears to affect primarily small breeds including Boston terriers, Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, miniature Poodles, and many more. However, the disease continues to rise in large breeds. Akitas, Great Pyrenees, Flat-Coated retrievers, and the Chinese Shar Pei are now considered predisposed to the disorder. While it is progressively becoming a disease of all breeds, it still predominantly affects the little ones.

luxatingpatella2Conservative chiropractic care to treat luxating patella

As mentioned previously, many cases are genetic, developmental, or a combination of both. This means an animal is either born with poor structure, or progressively develops it. Since this is the case, a potential solution should involve a profession that works with the structure of an animal conservatively. This is where animal chiropractors come into play, particularly those that focus on structural correction.

Animal chiropractors perform examinations where they assess the quality of motion in the spine and limbs looking for biomechanical issues. When they find any abnormalities, such as a structural shift, they utilize a gentle adjustment to correct it. When this is done it helps the joint move the way it was intended to. This can alleviate many genetic or developmental components that contribute to a luxating patella.

Think about it like this, if the foundation of your house was off would you expect walls to crack and floor boards to pop up? I imagine you would see many problems that develop secondary to a structural shift in the foundation of a house. What might you expect if the foundation of your animal is off? There would be the potential for many secondary conditions such as luxating patella.

To sum things up, luxating patella is a relatively common disease in dogs. It predominantly affects small breeds, but is growing in larger breeds. Most causes appear to be genetic, but there are other factors such as trauma and developmental considerations. The causes all appear related to structure and many cases are suitable for conservative treatment such as chiropractic care. Interested in learning more? Contact a certified animal chiropractor near you today!

The Benefits of Titer Testing

Vaccine Titers and Your Pets

 

There’s a growing trend toward treating diseases naturally throughout the world – for both people and their pets. One of these natural health treatments involves vaccination. One school of thought states that vaccines confer total immunity to many conditions with minimal side effects. The opposition believes that many of the materials used to create vaccines, such as heavy metals, etc. lead to a laundry list of secondary problems. The purpose of this article isn’t to discuss the merits or disadvantages of vaccination. Rather, we will examine the potential benefits of blood tests that can measure your pet’s blood levels for anti-bodies – known as titer testing – to determine if a booster vaccination is necessary.

What does a titer measure?

When a pathogen enters your body, such as bacteria, your immune system recognizes that it is an invader and creates anti-bodies and many other cellular defenses to attack and eliminate it. This is the premise by which vaccinations work. The goal is to introduce weak forms of a pathogen to your body so that it stimulates an immune response without causing the disease. Therefore, after a vaccination we should be able to measure blood levels for certain anti-bodies and see if they are adequate. This is what titer testing does. For example, if your pet gets a rabies vaccine we should be able to test it in 6 months and see if there is still a high level of antibodies in circulation. Pretty cool, right?

The controversy of vaccination

             At first glance, it seems like vaccines are a genius way of getting ahead of diseases before they have a chance to attack. However, it is thought that the extra preservatives and other chemicals in a vaccine may trigger side effects. That is not necessarily unreasonable since many heavy metals are toxic for the body. Therefore, it would be great if there was a way to determine if an animal has sufficient anti-body levels without having to possibly inject a vaccination. This is where blood titers come in.

The potential benefit of blood titers

                  Early in a pet’s life they will receive a number of vaccines such as rabies, distemper, etc. This will boost their immune system and prepare them for these diseases. Usually, a booster will be required a year or so later to keep the anti-body level up. This is where the potential for a titer comes in. Rather than injecting your pet unnecessarily with potentially harmful chemicals, we can run a titer test. If the blood levels come back sufficient, then in theory we do not need a booster. This reduces the risk of any possible side effects of a vaccine while also determining that our pet is still resistant to these diseases. There is one downfall, however, and that is the price. A titer can run $40 to $200 – significantly more than the typical cost of a vaccine.

The debate is still raging when it comes to the efficacy and potential side effects of vaccines. However titers serve as a way to minimize any potential risk while also reaping the purported benefits. Anti-body titers appear to be a middle ground solution that both ideologies can agree with. Want to learn more? Ask your veterinarian about titers during your pet’s next regular check-up.

Why Puppy Sitting is only Acceptable in Puppies!

Is puppy sitting a bad thing? Well for starters YOU should NEVER sit on a puppy. But that’s not what we’re talking about! No we are talking about the way your little pooch pie sits!

puppy sitting

Is there anything more adorable than a puppy? Sure, they may eat your shoes and stain your carpet yellow – but they are still cute. Even the way they sit captivates you and your friends. However, puppy sitting (also known as sloppy sitting or the lazy sit) can indicate a problem for dogs after one- two years of age. Why is this? Find out below.

Normal sitting vs puppy sitting

Dogs after the first two years should sit up straight with their body directly over their hips. This is considered normal sitting. If a dog is sitting with their hind legs sideways, rather than under the hips, it is considered puppy sitting or sloppy sitting. This isn’t as big of a problem when dogs are young because their ligaments are very lax. However, older dogs should be more stable and sitting this way can indicate numerous problems.

What problems might be related?

There are numerous potential conditions that may be related to abnormal sitting posture. They are:

  • Hip problems – This includes potential items such as hip dysplasia, hip arthritis, or anything else that causes an inflammatory response in the joint.
  • Knee pain – This could be the result of something as serious as a torn cruciate ligament or something more chronic in nature as a luxating patella.
  • Back pain – Back pain may be the result of altered biomechanics, which would affect the joints involved in sitting.

Problems with the anal glands and other inflammatory issues related to the hind end may also contribute.

Buddies Pet Canine Pugs Sitting Dog Bench

What can we do?

If the issue is biomechanical, such as hip, knee, or back issues than a good treatment option includes animal chiropractic. The goal of chiropractic care is to restore normal alignment to abnormal joints using very gentle, specific corrections known as adjustments. These adjustments will help restore normal motion and help your pet sit comfortably. There are other potential causes though, and it may be worth a visit to your primary care vet.

So, is puppy sitting a bad thing? The answer to that is no – if your dog is still a puppy. However, abnormal sitting can indicate multiple other issues such as hip, knee, or back problems. There are options, however. Animal chiropractic via a certified veterinarian or chiropractor will help the biomechanical problems. A routine visit to your primary care vet can help rule out other issues. To sum things up, your puppy is cute but the way he sits isn’t after the first 2 years of development!

Looking for advice for products that may help your puppy as they age, visit our favorite products page or visit a reputable website like Chewy!

heat exhaustion

Heat Exhaustion and YOUR Pet

Caring for Your Pets During the Summer

 

heatexhaustionThe summer sun sits high in the sky during a scorching July day. Heat radiates off asphalt roads as temperatures soar into the 90’s. In the backyard, a dog lays in yellow stained grass panting rapidly. The summer is here, and it isn’t always a friendly place for our pets. What can we do to help our furry friends during the dog days of summer? Read on to find out.

Never leave your dog in a parked car

Certainly, you have heard this tip before. However, it is important to understand that you should not leave your pet in a car for even one minute. On a warm day, temperatures can rise rapidly in a vehicle even with cracked windows. If you need video proof, check out NFL player Tyrann Mathieu attempt to sit in a parked car on a warm day.

Limit exercise on a hot day

                  Hot days affect all breeds, not just long-haired breeds. Unfortunately, your pet still needs exercise – just like you – so you need to adjust the duration and intensity based on the temperature. The best times to take your pet on a walk is early morning or in the evening when the sun isn’t at its strongest. Also, avoid asphalt if you can and walk your pets on the grass. Asphalt can heat up and burn a dog’s paws. Also, always bring water with you.

overheatedProvide ample shade and water

Any time your pet is outside, make sure there is protection from the sun. Tree shade and tarps are a great choice because they don’t obstruct air flow. A doghouse, on the other hand, can make the heat worse as a breeze won’t circulate inside. In addition, make sure there is plenty of cold, fresh water. The addition of ice to the water is a useful idea as well.

Watch for signs of heatstroke

Extreme temperatures can cause a heatstroke. Be sure to watch for symptoms such as:

  • Heavy panting
  • Glazed eyes
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Issues breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of coordination
  • Seizure
  • Unconsciousness
  • Excessive thirst

If your pet shows these symptoms, move them into an air-conditioned area. Then, apply ice pack and cold towels to the head, neck, and chest. You can also run cool water over them. Finally, let them drink small amounts of water and take your pet directly to a veterinarian.

hot       In conclusion, summer is a great time to get outside and enjoy ourselves. However, we need to take precautions for our pets on hot, summer days. These include never leaving your pet in a parked car, limiting or modifying exercise times, providing ample shade and water, and knowing what to do if your suspect your pet is suffering from a heatstroke. Utilizing these tips will lead to a fun, safe summer for everyone!

Hemp Oil for Our Pets?

CBD Hemp Oil For Your Dog?

 

Does your pet suffer from arthritis, immune issues, stress, aggression, seizures, anxiety, or digestive problems? If so, your pet may benefit from CBD hemp oil. According to the online magazine Dog Naturally, many dogs respond well to it. Why is this? Read on to find out.

Is hemp the same as marijuana?

                  There are similarities between hemp and marijuana, but they are not the same. They are both derived from the cannabis plant, Cannabis Sativa. These plants feature over 60 chemicals known as cannabinoids. The two major chemicals are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD’s are known for their therapeutic effects while THC is associated with feeling “high”. Knowing this will help us understand the difference between hemp and marijuana. Hemp features less than 0.3% THC while marijuana is composed of 10-15%. Therefore, hemp offers many therapeutic benefits without altering a dog’s mind.

How does CBD work?

                  As we mentioned previously, the cannabis plant contains many different chemicals. These chemicals can attach to receptors in the brain, nervous system, and other peripheral organ systems. When this occurs, the cells attached to the receptors begin operating differently. It’s almost like putting a key into your car’s ignition. When you do, the car turns on. The difference is that these receptors activate many effects including changes in:

  • Inflammation
  • Pain
  • Seizures
  • Appetite
  • Aggression
  • Anxiety
  • And more.

Is it safe?

Fortunately, hemp contains low THC content relative to its marijuana counterpart. Therefore, CBD from hemp won’t make your dog high. There are some possible side effects, however. The most common side effect appears to be that it makes dogs drowsy. The effect is similar to what your dog might experience if you gave it Benadryl. On rare occasions your dog may become excessively itchy or mildly vomit. If these issues appear you should stop giving your dog cannabis. However, CBD hemp oil is safe for the majority of dogs.

To sum everything up, cannabis oil derived from hemp is a natural, effective way to treat many conditions. These conditions include anxiety, stress, digestive problems and much more. Also, it won’t make your pet “high” due to its low THC content and it is safe. Does your dog suffer from any conditions we discussed and isn’t responding to traditional methods? It might be time to try CBD hemp oil.

 

                 

fleas

Fleas, Fleas, and more FLEAS!

Does Your Dog Have Fleas?

 

fleas                  Does your dog love being outside? When he hears the word “walk”, does he bounce around in pure joy? If so, there’s a chance your dog is making new friends during his outdoor adventures. These friends are tiny and annoying – and commonly referred to as fleas. Fleas can cause numerous problems for a dog. Therefore, it is important that we recognize signs of fleas and understand treatment options when our fur pets are affected.

What are the signs of fleas?

When there is a major infestation of fleas, signs are obvious. You can actually spot them moving on and off your pet’s body. When the infestation of fleas is smaller, the signs can be more subtle. You may notice your dog acting restless. For example, they may constantly scratch, lick, and chew more than normal in certain areas of the body. Another potential symptom is excessive shaking of the head or scratching of the ears. This scratching can progressively lead to hot spots and hair loss in areas where fleas are nesting.

What can you do?

                 The first step would be to give your dog a flea bath. Be careful to choose a shampoo carefully, some contain insecticides. Start shampooing at your dog’s neck and work throughout the entire body. Let the solution stand for 5-10 minutes before rinsing. Next, go through with a flea comb and remove any fleas present. Kill any flea you find as fast as you can. Finally, quarantine your infected pet. If you have other pets, you are going to want to keep them separated for the time being.

You will then want to treat your home. Begin by throwing all your pet’s bedding into the laundry. Next, you may want to consider an insect growth regulator spray. This product can get deep into the carpet to target any flea larvae that may be growing. Finally, be sure to vacuum thoroughly. A reasonable accessory to consider is a flea collar for your vacuum. This will make sure fleas die quickly upon being sucked up by your vacuum. Treating your home should help prevent another flea attack from occurring quickly.

Fleas are tiny, but present a large problem for dogs. They live outdoors where your pets love to play and strike when they get the chance. An infestation can lead to days filled with endless scratching and chewing – sometimes until hot spots form. If you see some of the telltale signs of fleas, be sure to check your pet’s body. If you do find some, a flea bath and combing can help resolve your pet’s problems. Afterwards, be sure to treat your house to prevent a relapse!

Barley and Sam, senior dogs with young hearts!

Barley and Sam…two of my all-time favorite wheatons. They are furry, friendly, and full blown adorable. You’d never know it but these two are both seniors, 12 and 14 to be exact. Mentally, they are sharp as tacks, and physically they aren’t so bad anymore either. When we first met these two fur babies, however, they were both struggling with structural instability. As the saying goes, age before beauty, so we shall start with Sam’s story first.

 

Sam was having a horrible time getting around. He walked like he was drunk, his back legs were crossing over, he was sideways and falling, and frankly his fur parents were very worried. His symptoms didn’t look good at all and after doing all the standard testing and procedures, they still didn’t have any definitive issues. At that they were referred to us and decided to give chiropractic a try.

 

Sam was definitely having a very hard time. His mental state was all there, he was happy as a clam and would run up to greet you, yet half the time he flopped over and lost his back end on the way. What looked very serious, ended up being a result of unstable structure. Sam had a great deal of arthritis and was very limited in his mobility. He wanted to move faster than his little body could take him. After his first adjustment though, Sam was already moving better. He wasn’t falling over and he was navigating much easier. Within the first few adjustments his fur mom caught him on the stairs, something he hadn’t done in years. Sam continues to surprise us at each step of the way, and he’s improved leaps and bounds both literally and figuratively!

 

Barley, on the other hand, is what his mom might call a drama queen. Whereas many animals are stoic when it comes to injury or discomfort, Barley was one to let you know. He like Sam had a great deal of arthritis, especially in his limbs, making it very tough to walk without pain. Barley feels loads better when he gets adjusted and you can easily tell by the amount of activity he does afterwards. Between the running and the playing, Barley becomes a new sort of pooch after treatments.

 

We love these two sweet faces and couldn’t imagine not knowing them or their fur parents. They bring more joy to our practice and more love to our hearts just knowing how appreciative they are. It never ceases to amaze us how quickly they respond and we only hope they decide to stick around for the next several years!