Thursday, May 26, 2016

Cookie's Musculoskeletal Challenges: What Supplements Am I Using?

Cookie's saga started by diagnosis of iliopsoas injury. As usually with such things, the plot kept thickening. It's not exactly clear what the true root of the issues is and short of doing an MRI it won't be. Since she's been improving, we decided not to put her through that, at least not at this time.


We are tackling her issues with a full arsenal of non-invasive options.

This includes laser therapy, chiropractic, physical therapy, hydrotherapy, massage, acupuncture ... platelet-rich plasma therapy for the knees, some medications, herbal therapy and, of course, supplements.

With exception of the Trazodone which we're are gradually reducing now, we used medications only temporarily during the acute phase(s).

On a number of occasions I was asked which supplements I've chosen for Cookie.

I like Standard Process products and the obvious choice for musculoskeletal issues would have been Canine Musculoskeletal Support. It's a great supplement and we've been using it for Jasmine.

However, this time I selected Ligaplex II instead.

Omega-3 fatty acids is something Cookie gets all the time.

It's not something I have added since the problems started but I did up the dose. As for specific products, there are a few which I like to rotate between various fish oils and krill oil. My options are somewhat limited because I can only use products that come in gel caps; Cookie isn't fond of fishy smell or flavor.

Other oils I'm using are evening primrose oil (source of less inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids) and wheat germ oil (source of natural whole vitamin E).

According to my integrative dog nutrition course, whole vitamin E/vitamin E complex contains more than just tocopherol(s) present in vitamin E supplements and each of those compounds serves an important function.

When supplementing, I prefer whole food options.


I went into a bit more detail about these things in my thoughts on what natural means in regard to dog nutrition. The compounds beside tocopherols that are present in whole vitamin E work to increase oxygen carrying capacity of tissues, and reduce scar tissue formation, among other things.

For the same reasons, when I decided to also include vitamin C in the supplementation, I went with a whole food product as well, specifically Standard Process Cataplex C.

While vitamin C isn't an essential nutrient for dogs because their bodies can synthesize it, there are times when supplementation is a good idea. Not only vitamin C is beneficial for immune function but it plays an important role in connective tissue integrity.

Since Cookie's knees were deemed to have problems, I added Dasuquin as well.

Protein is important for tissue maintenance and healing.

Cookie's diet is already high in animal-source protein but I add a bit of whey protein for good measure. Whatever protein the body doesn't need to take care of itself, it can use for energy.

I also boosted Cookie's source of B vitamins.

From herbals, we've settled on  DOK's formula.

I might have considered adding some phytoestrogens but because Cookie has already been on that for her incontinence, I just left the dosing the way it was.

That's about what I'm adding specifically for the musculoskeletal issues.

There are other things that could be added but for now these are the ones I'm including. Together with her diet, I think it covers her needs.

Because of the prolonged activity restrictions, Cookie started putting on some unwanted weight too, so we're working on that. Along with dietary adjustments (more on that some other time), I also started adding L-carnitine.

The rest is all standard stuff such as probiotics.

Do you have a go-to supplement for musculoskeletal issues that worked for you? Do share.

Related articles:

From The End Of A Lead Line To Casa Jasmine: Meet Cookie, Our New Adoptee
And So It Begins Again(?) Our First Health-Related Heart Attack With Cookie 
I Didn't Know I Could Fly: Why Cookie Wears A Harness Instead Of A Collar
C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Chews For Dogs CAN Be A Choking Hazzard 
Our First Health-Related Heart Attack With Cookie: The Knee Or The Foot? 
Creative Solutions And An Incidental Product Review
Too Young For Pot: Cookie's Snack With A Side Of Hydrogen Peroxide  
Taming Of The Wild Beast: Cookie's Transition To Civilization  
Staying On Top Of The Ears: Cookie Is Not Impressed  
Putting The Easy Back Into Walking
Cookie's Ears Are Still Not Happy 
The Threat Of The Bulge Is Always Lurking 
Today Is Cookie's Three-Months Adoptoversary  
Cookie Meets The Electric Horse Fence And Her First Chiropractic Adjustment  
Why Examine Your Dog's Vomit? 
Why Is That Leg Still Not Happy? Cookie's Leg Keeps Getting Sore 
Cookie Too Is Insured With Trupanion
Does Being Insured Mean Being Covered? Our First Claim With Trupanion
Is Cookie's Leg Finally Getting Better?
Is Cookie Going To Be Another Medical Challenge Or Are We Looking To Closely? 
The Project That Is Cookie: Pancreatitis Up Close And Personal  
Pancreatitis: Cookie’s Blood Work   
Another Belly Upset: Pancreatitis Again Or Not?  
Happy Birthday, Cookie 
Incontinence? Cookie's Mysterious Leaks 
Who's Training Whom? Stick And Treat 
Don't Just Stand There, Do Something? Cookie's Mysterious Bumps 
Cookie's Mysterious Bumps Update
One Vomit, No Vomit 
Happy One-Year Adoptoversary, Cookie!
Cookie's Leaks Are Back: Garden Variety Incontinence Or Not?
Cookie's Leaks Update 
Don't Panic, Don't Panic: Know What Your Job Is 
The Continuing Saga Of Cookie's Leeks: Trying Chiropractic Approach 
Cookie's Minor Eye Irritation
Regular Wellness Exam: Cookie's ALT Was Elevated 
Cookie's Plantar Paw Pad Injury 
How Far To Take It When The Dog Isn't Sick?
Cookie Has Tapeworm Infection 
Cookie's Elevated ALT: The Ultrasound and Cytology  
Cookie's ALT Update
The Importance of Observation: Cookie's Chiropractic Adjustment
Sometimes You Don't Even Know What You're Looking at: Cookie's Scary "We Have No Idea What that Was" 
Living with an Incontinent Dog 
Summer Dangers: Cookie Gets Stung by a Bald-faced Hornet 
To Breathe or Not To Breathe: Cookie's Hind Legs Transiently Fail to Work (Again)
Figuring out What Might Be Going on with Cookie's Legs: The Process 
Figuring out What Might Be Going on with Cookie's Legs: The Diagnosis 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury Treatment: Trazodone  
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury Treatment: Other Medications 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury Treatment: Laser, Hydrotherapy and Chiropractic 
Cookie's Recovery from Iliopsoas Injury: ToeGrips 
It Never Rains ... Cookie's New Injury 
Mixed Emotions: When What You Should Do Might Not Be What You Should Do for Your Dog 
Cookie's New Injury Update 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury: The Symptoms 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury: Battling the Zoomies 
Cookie's Muscle Injuries: What Else Is Going On?
Theory and Actual Decisions for an Actual Dog Aren't the Same Thing: Cookie's Knee Injury
Does Your Vet Listen to You? Cookie's Post-Sedation Complications
Would I Ever Treat a Symptom Directly? 
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatment for Cookie's Bad Knee(s)
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) for Cookie's Bad Cruciate Update 
Injury or Surgery Recovery: Mishaps versus Setbacks 
See Something, Do Something: Cookie's Lumpectomy 
Cookie's Lumpectomy Update 
Using Pressure Pads to Evaluate Lameness in Dogs: My Observations

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Using Pressure Pads to Evaluate Lameness in Dogs: My Observations

While on our travels, we were able to continue Cookie's physical therapy at a local clinic. I was very happy about that because we ended up being gone for a month which would otherwise mean Cookie missing out on therapy for all that time.

As part of their services, the clinic offers stance analysis using pressure pads.

I wrote about this earlier as a great tool to evaluate how much pressure is a dog putting on each of the limbs, helping to pinpoint lameness and favoring which could otherwise be invisible to plain observation. The one cited in that article is a much fancier and more complex piece of equipment, though.

This is the one the clinic has. Image PetSafe

It's a high-tech evaluation.

I was quite excited about what we're going to learn from that. Force plates, dog gait analysis mats and pressure pads are a few products out there available for this purpose.

As great as it sounds on paper, seeing it in action didn't look all that pretty.

Initially, the pad was against the wall in such a way that Cookie had to walk on it, than turn around and stand on it facing away from the wall with each leg precisely in the right section of the pad.

She got on there and turned around but couldn't possibly understand where exactly each foot should land and why. The end result of that was that the tech was manually moving her legs in attempt to place them in the correct positions on the mat. Cookie allowed her legs being moved around but was pretty confused by all that not knowing which leg to stand on. The positions she ended up at looked nothing like a normal, or even abnormal dog stance.

Think playing Twister.

I then suggested turning the pad around so Cookie could walk on it normally, rather than having to turn around. This worked better but she still didn't understand that she has to get and stop right in the center. So yet again, her legs ended up being moved up to the right places with her stance ending up looking everything but natural.

How much reliable information can one gain from that?

I honestly don't know. We did this several times and the machine then averages the values. That probably helps getting some more comprehensible information. But still ...

Both evaluations showed what were expected, more pressure being put on the front than the back end and more pressure being put on the right than on the left side. However, from what I saw, Cookie always ended up walking onto the right-hand-side sections and it was the left legs than were being moved into position.

While the results seemed to confirm what was suspected, were they really?

Or was it just a function of the part of the mat Cookie was consistently ending up on?

Perhaps a bit of both.

I actually think that having the dog walk onto it from one end to the other, rather than having to turn around was the right idea. But getting them dead center is still a challenge.

I wonder if creating some kind of a "walk through" which would keep the dog in the center would help improve accuracy.

Similarly to what one does what teaching a dog backing up in a straight line.

It would need to be light and adjustable depending on the size of the dog and it would have to not interfere with the pad itself. Perhaps something such as the cavaletti cones except the poles would need to be longer. Or just something a self-standing pole on each end with some fabric or light construction fencing between.

Having seen how contorted Cookie always ended up makes me wonder how reliable the data we gained really are.

Having said that, the vet was very happy with the way Cookie looked overall.

She was so impressed with how Cookie's legs were working that she's looking into platelet rich plasma therapy. While I'm seeing some issues with Cookie's gait under certain circumstance, she walks and trots very well using both hind legs equally. Possibly, according to the vet as well as Cookie's physical therapist the degree of favoring the hind left leg during certain movement might have to do more with Cookie not really trusting the leg rather than the leg not functioning properly. I certainly hope so.

Meanwhile we'll continue working at it as see where it takes us.

Do you have any experience with such stance analysis done for your dog? How did it work for you?

Related articles:

From The End Of A Lead Line To Casa Jasmine: Meet Cookie, Our New Adoptee
And So It Begins Again(?) Our First Health-Related Heart Attack With Cookie 
I Didn't Know I Could Fly: Why Cookie Wears A Harness Instead Of A Collar
C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Chews For Dogs CAN Be A Choking Hazzard 
Our First Health-Related Heart Attack With Cookie: The Knee Or The Foot? 
Creative Solutions And An Incidental Product Review
Too Young For Pot: Cookie's Snack With A Side Of Hydrogen Peroxide  
Taming Of The Wild Beast: Cookie's Transition To Civilization  
Staying On Top Of The Ears: Cookie Is Not Impressed  
Putting The Easy Back Into Walking
Cookie's Ears Are Still Not Happy 
The Threat Of The Bulge Is Always Lurking 
Today Is Cookie's Three-Months Adoptoversary  
Cookie Meets The Electric Horse Fence And Her First Chiropractic Adjustment  
Why Examine Your Dog's Vomit? 
Why Is That Leg Still Not Happy? Cookie's Leg Keeps Getting Sore 
Cookie Too Is Insured With Trupanion
Does Being Insured Mean Being Covered? Our First Claim With Trupanion
Is Cookie's Leg Finally Getting Better?
Is Cookie Going To Be Another Medical Challenge Or Are We Looking To Closely? 
The Project That Is Cookie: Pancreatitis Up Close And Personal  
Pancreatitis: Cookie’s Blood Work   
Another Belly Upset: Pancreatitis Again Or Not?  
Happy Birthday, Cookie 
Incontinence? Cookie's Mysterious Leaks 
Who's Training Whom? Stick And Treat 
Don't Just Stand There, Do Something? Cookie's Mysterious Bumps 
Cookie's Mysterious Bumps Update
One Vomit, No Vomit 
Happy One-Year Adoptoversary, Cookie!
Cookie's Leaks Are Back: Garden Variety Incontinence Or Not?
Cookie's Leaks Update 
Don't Panic, Don't Panic: Know What Your Job Is 
The Continuing Saga Of Cookie's Leeks: Trying Chiropractic Approach 
Cookie's Minor Eye Irritation
Regular Wellness Exam: Cookie's ALT Was Elevated 
Cookie's Plantar Paw Pad Injury 
How Far To Take It When The Dog Isn't Sick?
Cookie Has Tapeworm Infection 
Cookie's Elevated ALT: The Ultrasound and Cytology  
Cookie's ALT Update
The Importance of Observation: Cookie's Chiropractic Adjustment
Sometimes You Don't Even Know What You're Looking at: Cookie's Scary "We Have No Idea What that Was" 
Living with an Incontinent Dog 
Summer Dangers: Cookie Gets Stung by a Bald-faced Hornet 
To Breathe or Not To Breathe: Cookie's Hind Legs Transiently Fail to Work (Again)
Figuring out What Might Be Going on with Cookie's Legs: The Process 
Figuring out What Might Be Going on with Cookie's Legs: The Diagnosis 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury Treatment: Trazodone  
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury Treatment: Other Medications 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury Treatment: Laser, Hydrotherapy and Chiropractic 
Cookie's Recovery from Iliopsoas Injury: ToeGrips 
It Never Rains ... Cookie's New Injury 
Mixed Emotions: When What You Should Do Might Not Be What You Should Do for Your Dog 
Cookie's New Injury Update 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury: The Symptoms 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury: Battling the Zoomies 
Cookie's Muscle Injuries: What Else Is Going On?
Theory and Actual Decisions for an Actual Dog Aren't the Same Thing: Cookie's Knee Injury
Does Your Vet Listen to You? Cookie's Post-Sedation Complications
Would I Ever Treat a Symptom Directly? 
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatment for Cookie's Bad Knee(s)
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) for Cookie's Bad Cruciate Update 
Injury or Surgery Recovery: Mishaps versus Setbacks 
See Something, Do Something: Cookie's Lumpectomy 
Cookie's Lumpectomy Update


Do you have a story to share?

Your story can help others, maybe even save a life!

What were the first signs you noticed? How did you dog get diagnosed? What treatment did/didn't work for you? What was your experience with your vet(s)? How did you cope with the challenges?

Email me, I'll be happy to hear from yo

Monday, May 23, 2016

Adoption Monday: Alba, Labrador Retriever Mix, Page, AZ

Carolina is a lab mix and of course she LOVES water! Spring is here! Are you ready for a swimming buddy?

***

Page Animal Adoption Agency is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that provides animal adoption, education, and low-cost spay and neuter services to Page, Arizona, and the surrounding communities.

Page Animal Adoption Agency began about four years ago as a small group of people who wanted to reduce the number of unwanted pets being euthanized in the city shelter. Now, they are in the process of renovating a building donated by the city to turn it into an Adoption Center of which Page can be proud. Through fundraising efforts and generous donations, that goal gets closer every month.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Ticks and Lyme Disease in Ontario

The Ontario Animal Health Network – Companion Animal published an infographic on Ticks and Lyme Disease in Ontario: What’s The Real Risk?

Not all places have the same tick infestation. We've been quite lucky so far and find only the odd one. But ticks are becoming a bigger and bigger problem all the time.

Does finding a tick on your dog automatically mean they will get Lyme disease?


We have one of the ticks Jasmine contracted tested and the tick was indeed positive. Jasmine, however, never got the disease.

When it comes to Lyme disease, several things matter. The type of tick, whether or not the tick is actually a carrier and how long the tick remained attached. Anywhere over 48 hours from attachment constitutes a significant risk.

Source article:
Lyme Disease and Dogs Infographic

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: What to Do if Your Dog Eats Xylitol, Getting Skunked, and more ...

My Dog Ate Xylitol: What Should I Do and Who Should I Tell?
Dr. Jason Nicholas/Preventive Vet

Photo Preventive Vet

There has been a lot of talk about xylitol lately. There is a good reason for that. It's not just sugar-feee gum and candy, this artificial sweetener is making its way into all kinds of products, such as nut butters. Peanut butter used to be a safe treat for your dog. Now, before you consider giving any, read the label thoroughly.

What should you do if your dog ate xylitol? Freak out! But seriously, xylitol is a terrible, fast-acting poison to dogs. Why? Because the dog's body thinks it's sugar while it isn't. Thinking that it releases tons of insulin to process it but instead it gets rid of any glucose it finds in the blood. This leads to severe hypoglycemia. If enough blood glucose is lost, it's game over.

The key is prompt recognition and quick action.

Read Dr. Jason's article on what you should do if you suspect your dog ingested xylitol.


Getting Skunked – More Than Just a Stinky Situation
Dr. Christopher G. Byers/Critical Care DVM


Would you ever think that getting sprayed by a skunk could land your dog at emergency clinic? I never knew that until recently either. You'd think that dealing with the horrible smell is a big enough problem. Even though it rarely happens, skunk spray can cause a life-threatening problem but damaging red blood cells. Not enough red blood cells - not enough oxygen, you get the idea. Love is not all your dog needs, they also need oxygen (among some other things).

Dogs usually get sprayed in the face, which makes sense. This can cause a number of signs such as drooling, redness or swelling of the eyes, squinting, sneezing and vomiting. And, in those rare cases, the spray compounds can damage hemoglobin. This can happen anywhere between few hours to 24 hours after your dog was sprayed.

So while you're busy getting the stink of your dog, keep an eye out on more serious problems. Read Dr. Buyers' article for more detailed information and tips.


It’s Wonderful for Healing, so Why Is This so Very Uncommon?
Dr. Karen Becker/Mercola Healthy Pets

Did your dog every get a post-op massage after their surgery? Our vet does laser therapy for their surgical patients but I've never heard of post-op massage before.

Did you know that it can actually decrease inflammation and pain, lower blood pressure, restore normal breathing patterns and help get the digestive tract moving again?

Of course, the vet or vet tech should know what they're doing. I don't know about you but I'm asking about this if any of my dogs ever has to go for a surgery again.

Read Dr. Becker's article to find out how many wonderful things can post-op massage do for your dog.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Veterinary Highlights: New Non-sedative Calming Gel to Treat Noise Phobia in Dogs

Many dogs suffer from noise phobia. Fireworks, thunderstorms and other loud noises can cause extreme anxiety. Roxy would not set her foot outside during major holidays or during storms. She would hide in the bathroom. Fortunately, being able to hide in there was enough to get her through it. Many dogs are not as lucky. No matter where they hide they remain anxious.

There are a number of products and techniques to help dogs with this issue. Not everything works for every dog.

Now there is a new tool to consider if noise is a source of stress for your dog.

Sileo, non-sedative calming gel is the first FDA-approved treatment targeting noise phobia. Something to look into if your dog has a problem with noises.

Source article:
Zoetis launches non-sedative calming gel to treat noise aversion in dogs
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