Archive for July, 2014

3 Important Reasons to Warm Up & Cool Down with your Dog

Monday, July 28th, 2014

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Happiness Happens Month

Friday, July 18th, 2014

August is just around the corner! And August is Happiness Happens Month!

To celebrate Happiness Happens Month, we want to share pictures of your happy dogs! Because who doesn’t get happy from seeing happy animals?!

Send us your happy animals photos here to help make more Happiness Happen! 🙂

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Friday Funny 7.18.14

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Happy Friday Funny! Hope your weekend is filled with sticks & other fun things! 🙂


Lucille’s Success Story

Friday, July 11th, 2014

LucillesSuccessStory_coverLUCILLE’S SUCCESS STORY

Lucille, an 8 year old pit bull mix, first came to see us in October of 2013. She had fallen out of a 2nd story window while her owners were out of town and was diagnosed with a Carpal Medial Collateral Ligament tear. She was not bearing weight on her right front leg and would vocalize when in pain. She received laser therapy treatment to help with the pain and to decrease inflammation around the affected joint. Lucille’s treatment plan also included walking in the underwater treadmill, range of motion exercises and working on carpal stabilizer muscles. Lucille’s family has since moved, but they contacted us and let us know that she is doing well, running around and playing with her siblings.  These videos show Lucille is a happy dog! We love happy success stories! Yay Lucille!

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Ellie’s Success Story

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014



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Ellie, a 13.5 year-old FS English Cocker Spaniel, was a champion hunting dog who lived in a hunt club kennel in Longmont.  She retired after an accident in 2009 and shortly after was adopted by her new dad.  Ellie has rear limb weakness and dragging that her RDVM diagnosed as mild hip dysplasia. When she was diagnosed, Ellie’s dad started swimming every other week.  They were eventually referred to us, where we found compensatory pain in her paraspinal muscles as well as restrictions in her neck range of motion.  The first couple of weeks with us was spent focused on manual treatment and laser therapy to address her pain. Shortly after we started hydrotherapy, clinic exercises, as well as an at home program.  We’ve been seeing Ellie since May, 2014 and we have seen a significant improvement in her muscle pain as well as an increase in her strength and stamina. Dad has also seen significant improvement in her strength and discovered that one of the best reasons to come weekly is for the mental stimulation it provides for her as well. Ellie is a super sweet, albeit opinionated, girl–but that’s one of the reasons why we love her.

Pelvic Limb Issues

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014


The ankle bone’s connected to the knee bone, the knee bone’s connected to the hip bone….I always thought that song was funny, but as I went through vet school, I came to appreciate its simplicity. We often think of limbs as bones with “stuff “ around it to support it. The most amazing part is that “stuff” is what shapes how a pet moves and functions. Bones are the framework: muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, joint capsules, and cartilage are the initiators (with a little help from the nervous system). When we look at all of the problems that can occur with the rear limbs, a significant portion of them can be attributed to problems with the soft tissues or problems resulting from malfunctions of these tissues.

For example, our favorite–the cranial cruciate ligament. Like the human ACL, it is one of the most common ligaments injured in pets. We have seen chronic degeneration that is congenital, but most often there is chronic tearing of the ligament over time due to excessive and repetitive wear. When the CCL tears or ruptures, there is significant lameness, and changes begin within the knee joint that lead to arthritis.

Another example is patellar luxation or knee caps that “pop.” This has typically been seen in smaller dogs in the past, but has been noted more often recently in larger dogs. There are many reasons why this can happen: the groove that the patella tracks in is not deep enough, the femur is bowed to a particular degree, or there is asymmetry to the quadriceps muscle mass or inappropriate timing of the muscles causing the patella to be pulled in one direction or the other. This problem can lead to inappropriate ambulation, limping, inflammation and arthritic change in the knee.

This brings about the question of why these things are happening and why are we seeing more and more of these problems occurring in our pets?

The next few ideas are purely speculation and there is no significant scientific evidence to speak of, but in my years of practice and experience, I think they are worth exploring.

Like human babies, puppies have to learn how to walk. They have to develop muscles and a gait like any child. What if they learn a gait the inappropriate way? What if they do not develop muscle like they should due to lack of exercise or too much exercise? Who teaches them how to walk? These are interesting, unanswered questions with a huge amount of possibility. Since muscles and bones remodel and respond to what the body is “taught,” how do we think this might affect them as their life progresses? I am not discounting the notion that some dogs are born with congenital problems, but if identified early or if we are proactive in our treatment, it’s exciting to think what changes are possible and we do know that we have made positive contributions to these changes with rehabilitation.

Just some things to chew on. What do you think?

Update on Fletch 7.8.14

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

fletch_treatUPDATE ON FLETCH

Our boy is making great progress on his weight loss journey.  He weighed in at 115 pounds on Thursday which is a 10 pound loss since he joined us on May 10th!  He is feeling great and enjoying his 2-3 walks a day and his 4-5 swims a week.  His endurance is building and we are up to 30 minute swims. We adjust the time depending on the other activities that are planned for the day.  In the next week he will be going in for some dental work and the removal of a large lipoma behind his front right leg.  We wouldn’t normally worry about it but the size could cause some issues as he continues to lose weight.

Fletcher is also getting a thorough rehabilitation evaluation done this week.  We have noticed that when he swims and starts to get tired his left rear end is lower in the water.  We want to determine the cause of the weakness and start an exercise plan to help with this weakness.  At 8 years old we want to be proactive.  Letting something like this go can cause other issues from compensation for the weakness.  Stay tuned for the results of the evaluation and the plan.