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Laser Therapy

Hey guys, this is Nikki, Lead Veterinary technician with Posh Dog Knee Braces.  So, today I would like to talk about Laser Therapy for Dog’s with knee injuries ACL/CCL, or arthritis, and how it can help!  First off, what is Laser therapy?  Laser therapy is taking a simple beam of light to penetrate deep into the tissues and produce positive tissue changes.  First used on hair regrowth, Laser therapy has been a growing success.  There are multiple types of Lasers out there, some are more for superficial wounds and treatments, while others have a higher amount of power, thus deeper cell penetration.  There are 2 types of treatment you will hear.  Cold laser, which focuses on the surface of the skin, and blood circulation, while hot laser are for deeper tissues.  Hot laser should only be done by medical professionals, as it is used for cutting and burning, as well as healing. 

In most practices, we use low-level laser, or class IV laser therapy.  Depending on the class of the laser, will tell you if it is something you can do from home or by a clinician.  Quality laser equipment is very expensive, thus most will opt for therapy with their holistic vet, chiropractor, or veterinarian. 

So, how do dogs react to having laser therapy done?  They find it very relaxing.  Laser therapy releases endorphins, so dogs usually find it relaxing and positive.  Another benefit, is that your dog will not need to be sedated for laser, they can be resting and wide awake.  There is no need to clip the hair away either, like other treatments.  There is usually no side effects, the type of lasers used should not cause any burns to the skin. 

So how will this help a dog with a ccl tear?  Cold laser therapy for dogs with cruciate ligament injuries, restore health to damaged tissue cells by stimulating their ability to grow and survive, and heal naturally.  It helps relieve pain and limping as well.  If used with conjunction with an orthotic (brace) this would give your pup a good chance of fully recovering with less pain. 

Please call or email with any questions!  Poshintake1@gmail.com, or 509-412-3065.

Thanks!


What breeds are more likely to have a CCL tear?

Genetics do factor in sometimes on whether our dogs will have a CCL tear or not.  Such as, I don’t see tears as much in sporting breeds like springer spaniels or setters, but do in rotties and newfies.  Not saying I have never had a sporting breed like springer or setter come in with an acute injury, but I don’t feel their genetically prone to the issue like other breeds are.

The following breeds have much higher chances of CCL injuries, including bilateral injuries.  Mastiffs, Newfoundlands, akitas, St. Bernard’s, rottweilers, Chesapeake bay retrievers, American Staffordshire terrier, and laborador retrievers.  Also Golden retrievers seem to also be affected more often that smaller breeds.

Toy breeds tend to have luxating patella issues, where the kneecap moves back and forth, thus causing concurrent CCL tears secondary to the LP issue.  We do see a fair share of chihuahuas, maltese, shihtzu’s, and Pomeranians as well.

So what if your dog is on the list?  What can we do?  Well, there are a few things you can do.  First off, don’t spay and neuter before they have reached maturity (~14 months), feed a breed appropriate diet with no bye products.  Diet correlates to muscle and ligament growth so much, which is why it is so important to start your puppy out the right way, on a good diet.  Preventing your dog from jumping in the air to play fetch, or turn corners too sharply.  Instead, roll the ball on the ground for them to run after.  Getting them on a good bone supplement may help, we need to feed those growing ligaments all the goodies we can, and sometimes they need more than their food will provide. 

Bones with marrow are great, bone broth is great, shark cartilage is good.  There are many things you can give that are good for your pup.  Taking your dog on regular leashed walks, and exercising them properly will also help.  Especially with our more lazy breeds, you know who you are!  😊

Dogs with more bowing in the knee tend to also get tears more frequently, such as rottweilers and any staffy breeds.  Again, try to keep these pups from jumping or rough play, as that can put stress on the joints. 

Let us know if you have any questions, poshdogkneebrace.com, or email me at poshintake1@admin.


Activity Level With a CCL Tear

Today I would like to talk about recommended activity levels with a brace or CCL tear.  It is still important to remember that this is not a race.  Recovery from a CCL takes time, which is why we use a gradual increase in activities.

Initially, we start with walks and light physical therapy and massage.  Gradually, we can increase activities, such as adding hills or inclines to the walk, sit stands, more muscle building activities.

It is not recommended to let your dog run off leash while in recovery.  This can lead to injury of the other leg potentially.  Braced walks are meant to be nice and slow, not a jog.  The goal is to have your dog placing full weight down on his leg.  If you walk or run too fast, they will skip and not place full weight on the leg.

We will get to a point where your pup can play off leash, but ask first, and take things slow.  Feel free to email or send in a contact request with any questions, we are happy to help!

Give Your Dog a Big Hug From Us!

Nikki, Posh Lead Veterinary Technician


Signs that your dog has a CCL tear

Today I want to discuss signs that your dog has a CCL tear, and if he or she needs a brace.  First, obviously your poor dog is exhibiting signs of hind limb lameness.  Now this can happen two ways.  First, you hear a yelp, or see the injury, and have sudden onset lameness.  This is about 50% of dogs, and is called an acute injury.  Your pup will not use his or her leg, and is toe touching.

Second, you notice your dog limping on the hind leg after exercise, and after rest seems better.  This goes on for a few weeks until you have a veterinarian diagnose the injury as a CCL full or partial tear.  Some of these patients go a year or longer before getting to full limping.  This is a chronic case, and usually degenerative.

We can help with either situation, as even a partial tear will keep re-injuring over and over until externally supported with a brace.

After a while you may notice a medial buttress, or a hard bump on the inside of the knee.  This is a sign of cruciate injury as well.

No matter how long you wait, it is never going to be too late to brace your dog, as bracing will help stop the offloading that is happening, and we can start working on that thigh muscle to reverse the atrophy.  Let us know if you have any further questions about this topic, and always feel free to send me a contact request, I am happy to chat with you and answer some of your questions!

Nikki, Posh Lead Veterinary Technician


Diagnosing a CCL tear in Dogs

We get asked this question a lot, and wanted to see if we can answer some questions on diagnosing a CCL tear.  Is it necessary to have a diagnosis before purchasing a brace?  Answer:  Yes!  There are many other things, like sprains, hip joint pain, spinal issues, tumors, and nerve issues like DM that can cause hind lime lameness other than a ruptured CCL.

At your appointment with the veterinarian, they will most likely want to do what is called a drawer test.  Please note:  this could worsen the injury if not done properly, or with sedation, and is very painful.  Some patients will let out a yelp, or limp much worse after the examination.

Your veterinarian may also want to do some radiographs during the initial examination.  These can show gaps, space, swelling, and rule out tumors in older patients.  I do recommend radiographs for any patient over 8 years old.

MRI is the absolute best way to diagnose, however, this can cost upwards of $1,000, and may be hard to find someone to do this.

Find a veterinarian that is gentle, and will do a thorough exam ruling out the other injuries.  This is the best method, and least painful for your pup.  Also, try taking the last appointment of the afternoon when possible, or the first in the morning, as this is when most veterinarians are less likely to be in a “rush.”  Right before lunch break, or in the late morning/afternoon can be rushed due to their surgical load that day, or if they have other patients that have been dropped off to be seen.

We leave the diagnosis up to our clients, it is not required, however, I do recommend at least finding a holistic minded veterinarian to help you!

Nikki, Posh Lead Veterinary Technician


What is the CCL in a dog?

Today I would like to go over what a CCL in a dog is, as well as it’s function.  First off, a CCL in a dog is the same as saying ACL in a person.  Dog’s have a CCL, not an ACL. 

The CCL is a connective tissue in the knee that stabilizes the lower leg to the upper leg.  It connects the tibia to the femur.  Without this ligament, there can be partial or complete joint instability, pain, and lameness present.

The CCL holds the tibia in place, andprevents internal rotation and hyperextension (which is over stretching the leg).  The meniscus (located between the femur and tibia) absorb impact and provide a gliding surface between the femur and tibial plateau/tuberosity.  Sometimes the medial meniscus can become torn when the knee is unstable from a CCL tear.

Symptoms of a rupture include crepitus (crackling or popping sound), decreased range of motion, hind leg extended when sitting (when the injured leg is off to one side), pain to the touch, not wanting to move as much, sore after a walk, swelling, and turning the leg out to the side when standing. 

Leaving a ruptured ligament alone, without the aid of bracing, can leave misaligned joint causing further damage, inflammation, and pain.  This can lead to early joint disease and further meniscus tears.

Bracing helps to hold the tibia in place, while acting as a buffer or shock absorber, preventing further movement and issues from occurring.


Natural Nutraceuticals V. “Big Pharma” Synthetic Nsaids for Pain Management And Inflammation In CCL

Many Dog parents are becoming aware how dangerous nsaid drugs are for Dogs. Nsaids have reportedly killed as many as 60,000 Dogs (sixty thousand). Nsaid is the acronym for “Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drug.”

Just search “rimadyl deaths” — Or read articles like THIS and THIS

Nutraceuticals are products derived from food sources that are proven to provide extra health benefits, in addition to the basic nutritional value found in foods and are often equally effective at treating and managing pain and inflammation for Dog with injured stifles.

Here is an informative article about this subject:

“Post navigation Nutraceuticals and Inflammation By: Andrew G. Yersin, PhD From IVC Issue: V4I4

Pain management caused by inflammation is an important part of veterinary care. Musculoskeletal pain can result from tissue damage to muscles, tendons, ligaments, bone and articular surfaces. Depending upon location, function and innervation, musculoskeletal pain can have varying characteristics and patterns:

  • Radiates from one area to another (referred pain)
  • Cycles from one joint or muscle to another
  • Aggravated by climatic changes (rain/wind/cold)
  • Acute trigger point pain in muscles, ligaments, and tendons
  • Aggravated with movement
  • Improved with movement
  • Mollified by cold/ice
  • Assuaged by heat/water

Various types of tissue injury can lead to chronic inflammation and pain through a complex cascade of signaling events. Injured cells release arachidonic acid, a membrane lipid, which is converted through enzymatic reactions to leukotrienes and prostaglandins that can trigger further inflammatory responses and increase the sensitivity of pain receptors. Simultaneously, the release of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and pro-inflammatory cytokines from damaged cells triggers the activation of the transcriptional factor NF-B. This protein serves as a major control point in the inflammatory process, and further perpetuates the cycle of inflammation and pain by increasing the expression of a variety of pro-inflammatory cytokines and enzymes.

Nutraceutical support includes the use of antioxidants, Omega-3 fatty acids, and specific botanical ingredients that target the enzymes and other mediators of the inflammatory signaling cascade, and support a healthy anti-inflammatory response.

Boswellia is powdered gum resin of the plant Boswellia serrata. Active molecules include a variety of triterpenoids, collectively called boswellic acids, that have been demonstrated to be potent inhibitors of the pro-inflammatory enzyme 5-lipoxygenase, and also act via the inhibition of prostaglandin E synthase-1 and the serine protease cathepsin G. In animal and human studies, boswellia has shown to exhibit analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects.

Yucca is dried powder from the plant Yucca schidigera. Active molecules include trans-3,3’,5,5’-tetrahydroxy-4’- methoxystilbene, alexin and reseveratrol, as well as additional saponins and phenolic compounds. These molecules have been demonstrated to act as potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. One of the primary mechanisms of action for its anti-inflammatory activity is proposed to occur via inhibition of NF-κB and nitric oxide synthase (iNOS).

MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) occurs naturally in fresh fruit, whole grains, vegetables and animals. It serves as a source of sulfur necessary for the health and maintenance of mammalian connective tissues. MSM has been demonstrated to inhibit the activity of NF-κB, leading to a decrease in pro-inflammatory cytokines, nitric oxide, and prostaglandin E2.

Meadowsweet is the common name for the herb Filipendula ulmaria. Key classes of molecules identified in meadowsweet include salicylates, tannins, flavonoids, phenolic acids, and phenolic glycosides. Meadowsweet’s analgesic effects are largely attributed to salicylic aldehyde, a precursor for acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin).

Nutraceuticals may be used to support health and well-being. Whatever treatment strategy you choose, it is important to continue assessing pain and other health indicators to ensure the patient stays comfortable and general health is maintained.”

SOURCE: http://www.ivcjournal.com/articles/nutraceuticals-and-inflammation/

Consider treating the pain and inflammation caused by a dog ACL CCL knee injury with natural, organic and effective remedies, instead of the dangerous and often lethal nsaids. With a synergistic mix of a Dog knee Brace for ACL injury, increased nutritional supplements for Dog ACL injuries, along with conservative management, your Dog can recover from a CCL rupture, very likely without surgery!


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