Archive for the ‘Cancer’ Category

Rehabilitation & the “C” Word (Canine Cancer)

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

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It has happened. Your dear companion has been diagnosed with cancer. Now what? For a lot of patients with cancer- human and furry alike- surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments may be recommended. The question is- how can I keep them going during this difficult time?

In human literature, it has been found that mild to moderate rehabilitation is beneficial during recovery and treatments for neoplasia. By moving, a person can experience improved motion and strength, increased quality of life, decreased pain and fatigue, and improved lymphatic flow. Even if movement is just walking around the kitchen or the yard, it is stimulating the body and can have prolific dividends.

So the question is-Is this possible with my furry companion? At this time, there are studies underway to determine that very thing.  But if you think about it, why wouldn’t it help? Moving is a way to allow your companion to engage and actively be a family participant. Rehabilitation can help keep a member of the family going, whether it is a walk around the block, or around the yard.  Through a controlled and focused rehabilitation program, animals can stay as functional as possible during treatment and allow them to thrive on the road to recovery.

Take Sammy for example. A 10-year-old Lab, he had a past history of progressive arthritis as he got older, and has had issues with his rear limbs. He was presented to us for pain management and strengthening, which was successful. During one of his appointments, a swelling was noted on the rear limb that was painful. Further investigation revealed a tumor in his hind limb and lungs. At that time, recommendations for handling his neoplasia was discussed, and the owner’s chose not to treat. We continued his therapy, but decreased his exercise to stretches, walks, and gentle weight bearing and strengthening exercises. Modalities and manual therapy was used for pain management and to maintain muscle flexibility. So far, he has been doing well and though the mass on his limb has gotten bigger, Sammy is still a happy dog with a good quality of life.

Sammy is one of many dogs that benefited from massage, exercise, and pain management when faced with a progressive and invasive foe. Others can reap the benefits of remaining mobile as well, with an appropriate rehabilitation program.