Archive for April, 2014

Yukon’s Success Story

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014





Yukon, an 11-year-old husky, first came to CRCG in July of 2013 for elbow and shoulder osteoarthritis and hind limb weakness.  During his visits, he enjoys walking in the underwater treadmill, has laser therapy to decrease pain in his spine and hips, and targets strengthening his core and rear limbs through in-clinic exercises. Yukon’s 5-year-old energetic younger brother, Bandit, likes to join in on the treadmill next to him for conditioning and moral support.

Both Yukon and Bandit love their Saturday excursions to CRCG and are pleasantly tired after their appointments. Today, Yukon has strength and energy when running around at home on his family’s property. Yukon, you are an all-star!! And Bandit, you rock too!







Friday Funny 4.25.14

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Happy Friday!

I just love this. Hope it gives you all a chuckle too 🙂



Canine Neurological Diagnosis & Rehabilitation

Monday, April 21st, 2014

lab_treadProblems in the nervous system can be as variable as our patients. Signs and symptoms range from a mild weakness or dragging of the toes to seizures and behavioral changes. Proper suggestions for rehabilitation in these cases are based on signs and symptoms, neurological evaluation and diagnostics, and realistic goals set by guardians and therapists.

As previously mentioned, neurological signs and symptoms are widely varied. Proper diagnosis of the problem is based on a thorough examination, localization to the proper area of the spinal cord, and diagnostics to confirm. Examination involves a full physical examination and a neurological examination. Based on the patient’s history and the signs observed at home and in the clinic, a picture is created to help localize the most likely problem area(s).  A list of differential diagnoses is then created. Diagnostics to isolate the problem may include blood work, urinalysis, radiographs, advanced imaging (MRI, CT) and cerebral spinal fluid analysis. These help to create a good picture of the problem at hand.

When a diagnosis is found, an analysis of the most proper treatment for the patient is identified. Rehabilitation is an important part of this treatment. Using rehabilitation to help patients with neurologic symptoms can help resolve weakness, improve balance, and reteach proper gait patterning—helping patients to move as well as possible. Weakness is addressed by exercises focusing on muscle contractions. It may start as exercises to maintain a standing or sitting position and can progress to advanced exercises on a fit disc, peanut, or pods. These exercises for strengthening also address balance, which is important because every patient needs balance to perform normal functions such as posturing to go to the bathroom and navigating the house. Regular walks (to the patient’s tolerance) can encourage proper gait patterning. If a patient cannot walk without assistance, other modalities can help to encourage normal movement. These can include carts, treadmills with assistance, and swimming. Each of these modalities engage the central pattern generators, spinal cord and brain to retrain the body to walk again. Even if there is no muscular or spinal issue to address, rehabilitation can help patients that are having trouble with integration of information. Exercise and repetition can increase the input to the brain, and the proper amount of input to a specific part of the brain can help maintain nervous cell health. Nerve cells need stimulation in order to remain healthy and active.

In rehabilitation, realistic goals are necessary to anticipate a return to function. Some problems with the nervous system will not allow for full return to function or may even be slowly degenerative. The goals and expectations of rehabilitation should reflect this so that the goals are reasonable for the patient to achieve.

Success in cases of nervous system involvement is dependent on a collaborative effort from the patient, guardian, regular veterinarian, neurologists, and a rehabilitation therapist. With communication, information, and realistic prognoses, a pet can maintain or recover function to live with a good quality of life.

Friday Funny 4.18.14

Friday, April 18th, 2014

Happy Friday!!  Hope theses funnies start your weekend off right!

explosion4 explosion5 explosion3 explosion2 explosion1

Today’s lesson

It was always 1 of 2 options:  the cat, or an explosion.


5 Simple Ways to Show Your Pet You Love Them

Monday, April 14th, 2014


In honor of National Pet Month, here’s to remembering to honor your pet!

5 Simple Ways to Show Your Pet You Love Them

1. Your Presence is the Best Present:  Spend quality time with your dog every day.  This could mean going on a quick walk in the morning before work, playing ball in the yard, practicing a new trick, or just relaxing on the couch while watching a movie.  Whatever you and your dog enjoy doing together, make sure you set aside time every day to spend with your dog.  Like the quote says: “Your dog may not be your whole world, but to your dog, YOU are his whole world.”  Make your dog feel like they are your whole world as often as possible.  This will truly show your dog your love.


2. A Tired Dog is a Happy Dog:  Give your dog the gift of exercise. Exercise can come in a variety packages.  Figure out which ones your dog enjoys and keep it different: variety is the spice of life!

  • Play fetch in the backyard
  • Go on a walk (even better, go with a friend!)
  • Play tug
  • Go out for a jog
  • Go on a hike
  • Make a trip to the dog park
  • Go for a car ride
  • Make a trip to a pet store
  • Play tug in the house
  • Play hide and seek (hide tennis balls or a high value toy in different places in the house.  Run around with your dog and help them find/get them)
  • Learn a new trick (mental exercises can be just as good as physical exercise!)
  • Go for a swim at your local lake/pool
  • Give puzzle toys (for times when you can’t spend as much time with them as you’d like)
  • Try a new sport or activity with your dog (there are beginning classes for agility, dockdogs, flyball, frisbee and more!)
  • Take a weekly obedience class


3. Compliments Can Go a Long Way:  Reward your dog when she does something good.  Even if it’s something small or seemingly insignificant, saying “good dog” when your dog lays down next to you, or is quiet even though she could bark, these are good times to praise your dog.  If she gets something good every time she does something good, she will be good a lot more often! Praising your dog for doing the ‘right’ things will encourage her to want to be good, and this helps create a happy, (and bonus!) well-behaved dog.


4. Communicate:  Talk to your Dog.  As in all types of relationships, communication is key.  Your dog loves to hear your voice. Even if he may not seem like he is listening, dogs listen.  And he’s not going to tell you to be quiet, give you attitude, or judge your decisions.  So talk to him! Tell him how your day was, what difficulties you faced, what exciting things happened, ask how his day was, tell him how much you appreciate him, and tell him you love him. Every day. Along with making your dog happy, you might just find it was one of the best things you can do for yourself also. Sometimes we just need a quiet loved one to listen.


5. A Healthy Dog is a Happy Dog:  Show your dog your love by making healthy treats, feeding them food with natural and healthy ingredients, and giving them a proper amount of exercise.  As tempting as it is to give treats to that adorable face every time you’re given the puppy-eyes, keep in mind that treats should count towards your dogs daily food intake.  Managing weight is extremely important in keeping your dog healthy. Overweight dogs are more prone to heart disease, arthritis, hip dysplasia and many other health ailments as they get older.


  • Check your dog’s food label for the ingredients list, if you don’t recognize ingredients or there are ‘byproducts,’ consider going to your local natural pet store and talking to them about healthy foods.
  • Give treats less often (replace with pets and praise)
  • Make/give healthy treats (sweet potato chews, carrots)
  • Ask your vet at your next check-up how their weight is, and be active about getting/keeping them at a healthy weight
  • Give them some sort of exercise every day (even if you don’t like exercising, help them to stay healthy and in shape)


Friday Funny 4.11.14

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Happy Friday Funny, friends!

Cat & Dog Relationships














Friday Funny 4.4.14

Friday, April 4th, 2014

Here is our first Friday Funny! Have a great weekend everyone!

(Send me your dog or cat -staches and I’ll post a compilation of our own!



Rehabilitation & the “C” Word (Canine Cancer)

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Screen shot 2014-04-02 at 2.39.20 PM

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.