Archive for the ‘Dog Osteoarthritis’ Category

Jan 7, 2022

January is Walk Your Dog Month: Benefits of Regular Exercise

Welcome back! We hope everyone had a happy and healthy holiday season. It is officially January- one of our favorite months! Did you know that January is recognized as Walk Your Dog Month? This is a great time to discuss the importance of regular, low-impact exercise for our four-legged companions.

Health Benefits of Walking

Walking is a relatively easy, low-impact exercise that comes with several health benefits. Some of the benefits of walking include stopping the loss of bone mass, losing weight, strengthening muscles, and supporting joints by improving joint fluid circulation. Though this is not a comprehensive list of the many benefits of walking, these specific benefits can potentially improve joint health.

Exercising Your Dog

It is safe to assume that these benefits are not only true for people, but for our pets as well. And given that 1 in 5 dogs is diagnosed with osteoarthritis in their lifetime, it is extra important to do everything we can to support their joint health. Fortunately, regular, low-impact exercise, such as walking, has been found to delay the onset of and/or reduce the symptoms of OA in dogs.

When it comes to exercise, each dog has unique needs and capabilities. It is best to speak with your veterinarian, who can help tailor an exercise regimen specific to your dog. That being said, it is generally true that regular, moderate exercise is favored over intermittent, intense exercise. According to Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine, “Regular physical activity is paramount in the treatment of osteoarthritis both in humans and animals. A lifestyle of regular activity that is moderated away from intermittent extremes of exercise (such as long hikes on the weekends) and activities to which the pet is not conditioned is essential. Ideally, multiple shorter walks are better than one long one. The same activity every day (or slightly increasing if tolerated) is ideal.” 

Now that you know the scoop, let’s all take our dogs for a walk this January for Walk Your Dog Month!

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Oct 1, 2021

Take a Walk to Improve Your Dog’s Osteoarthritis

Posted by Bob under Dog Arthritis, Dog Osteoarthritis

Today, October 1st, kicks off National Walk Your Dog Week! The idea of this week is to raise awareness about the health benefits of regular exercise for your dog. Low impact exercise, such as walking, comes with several potential health benefits.

Walking to Reduce Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

According to the Arthritis Foundation, regular walking comes with several benefits which may lead to healthier joints such as muscle strengthening, joint fluid circulation, and weight loss. Increasing muscle mass allows the pressure and weight to shift from your joints to your muscles. While an increase in joint fluid circulation is beneficial to maintaining healthy joint cartilage.

Additionally, weight loss is an important factor when it comes to managing pain and lameness associated with osteoarthritis. Excess weight leads to increased wear and tear on a dog’s joints and can therefore lead to the onset or worsening of osteoarthritis. Walking can help to reduce your dog’s weight and/or maintain a healthy weight. Multiple studies have shown that regular exercise can benefit arthritic joints and one study found that weight loss significantly decreased lameness in obese dogs with OA.

How to Exercise Your Dog

Experts agree that regular, short-interval exercise is key, as opposed to doing one big activity on the weekends, such as a long hike. Regular exercise may be something as simple as taking a walk daily or on most days. But it is important to note that different pets require different exercise regimens. One of your best resources is your veterinarian. He/She can help you build an exercise plan tailored specifically to your pet.

And the best news is, these same principles apply to people! So, if you suffer from osteoarthritis or are just looking for a low-impact exercise to stay active, taking your dog on routine walks can be beneficial to you both! Happy National Walk Your Dog Week!

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Jul 30, 2021

Arthritic Dog has First Canine Total Ankle Replacement in Florida

Posted by Bob under Dog Arthritis, Dog Osteoarthritis

Most of you are probably aware of joint replacement procedures in humans as well as in dogs. You may have heard of total hip replacement in dogs, a surgical procedure used to improve the quality of life in dogs with hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis. A much less common procedure in dogs is ankle replacement. Recently, a dog underwent total ankle replacement at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine’s Small Animal Hospital and became the first canine to have the procedure in Florida.

Small Animal Veterinary Surgery

Leo Gets a New Ankle

The patient was Leo, a seven-year-old Lab, who was experiencing lameness as a result of severe hock (ankle) arthritis. His surgeon, Dr. Stanley Kim, is one of only twelve veterinary surgeons worldwide who are trained in the surgical technique. According to UF, “The procedure involved replacing the damaged surfaces of his joint with a prosthetic implant known as the TATE Ankle, developed by BioMedtrix. The procedure is currently in clinical evaluation at a limited number of centers around the world.”

After the procedure, Leo went through a lengthy recovery period. It was about three months before he was cleared to work towards his preoperative lifestyle. Fortunately, he had a smooth recovery. And approximately five months after the procedure, Leo is back to hiking and playing fetch! You can watch a little video about Leo and his procedure here.

Stem Cell Therapy with Joint Replacement

You may be wondering, “What does this have to do with stem cell therapy?!” While joint replacement is both extensive and expensive, sometimes it is the best course of treatment for dogs with severe arthritis. At VetStem, one of our goals is to encourage veterinarians and their clients to consider stem cell therapy for arthritic dogs before the need for joint replacement arises. Of course, that is not always easy, and some cases are so bad, joint replacement may be their only option to live a normal life.

When joint replacement is deemed the best treatment option, we like to remind dog owners that stem cell therapy can be a great addition to surgery. Using stem cell therapy in conjunction with surgery may lead to reduced healing time, less pain, and less scar tissue formation. To learn more, read this previous blog about using stem cell therapy in conjunction with surgery.

If you are interested in VetStem Cell Therapy for your pet, click here to find a provider near you.

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Apr 2, 2021

Walking to Reduce Your Dog’s Osteoarthritis Symptoms

Posted by Bob under Dog Osteoarthritis

Next Wednesday, April 7th, is National Walking Day! Did you know walking can help reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis in dogs? Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis in dogs (and people!) and affects approximately one quarter of the canine population. It is a degenerative disease in which the cartilage within a joint breaks down, causing changes in the surrounding bone. Common symptoms of OA include pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion. In dogs, the majority of OA cases stem from a developmental orthopedic disease such as joint dysplasia. It can also develop as a result of an injury such as a cruciate ligament tear.

And older woman walking a beagle dog on a leash in a grassy pasture

Exercise Reduces Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

While some may believe that reduced usage of the affected joint will lead to improvement of symptoms, it appears the opposite is true. Studies have found that regular physical activity can actually benefit dogs with OA and lead to an improvement in symptoms.

The type of exercise is very important, however. For instance, high impact exercises such as running and jumping may lead to increased inflammation and pain and therefore should be limited. On the other hand, regular joint-friendly exercises are ideal for dogs with OA. These are low-impact and put less stress on the body, thereby reducing the risk of injury. Some joint-friendly exercises include swimming and leash walks.

Benefits of Walking for Dogs with Osteoarthritis

Walking can be a great way to keep dogs physically active. It is easy on their joints and comes with a number of benefits that can lead to healthier, less painful joints. Walking regularly can help dogs lose weight, thereby causing less stress on the joints. It can also help strengthen the muscles and supporting soft tissue structures around the joints, promoting increased joint stability. In addition, it increases joint fluid circulation which is beneficial to maintaining healthy joint cartilage.

Of course, every dog is different. So as always, it is best to check with your veterinarian to determine the best exercise routine for your dog.

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