Femur fractureHuman and animal athletes have more in common than you might think, including a wide variety of orthopedic injuries and problems. In both human and veterinary medicine, we are learning more and more about preventing this kind of trouble. We also have several new and effective options for treating orthopedic injuries in pets.

The team at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services is your expert resource for keeping your active pets in tip top shape.

Pounds of Prevention

Bones and joints are the framework that carry the body. It only makes sense that adding additional weight, and therefore burden, to that framework might predispose the body to orthopedic problems.

In fact, helping your pet to maintain an ideal weight is one of the most powerful things you can do to prevent an orthopedic injury. Weight management is crucial to your pet’s overall health, whether he or she is a couch potato or agility champion.

Strategies to Avoid Orthopedic Injuries in Pets

Injuries happen, no matter how prepared we are, but sometimes preventative strategies can be helpful in lessening the impact, if not preventing them altogether. There is speculation that orthopedic injuries in pets could be reduced by up to 25% if preventative measures were taken. These include:

Conditioning and strengthening – Pets, especially those who are athletes, should work with a rehabilitation therapist to improve endurance and soft tissue strength that prepares the body for athletic demands.

Warm ups – If your pet will be engaging in athletic activities of any kind, science suggests that warming up can help prepare the body and its tissues. Five to ten minutes of walking and trotting is extremely beneficial prior to more rigorous activity.

Cool downs – Bringing the heart and respiratory rates down slowly, by decreasing activity level over a few minutes, is important. This is the time where passive range of motion exercises are beneficial.

After-exercise stretching – can also be a good thing. Static stretches where a position is held for a time are much less valuable than active stretching (tugging, reaching for a treat, etc.) in which the pet is engaged and sets his or her own limits.

Wellness examinations – Routine wellness examinations are important to identify early-onset signs of orthopedic problems.

Options for Treatment

If an orthopedic injury does occur, long gone are the days where rest and anti-inflammatories were the only options. Depending on the nature and extent of the injury, we may recommend:

  • Surgery
  • Nutraceuticals
  • Acupuncture
  • Therapeutic laser
  • Massage
  • Therapeutic ultrasound
  • Therapeutic exercise
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Neuromuscular electrical stimulation

Traditional medicine, when combined with alternative medicine and rehabilitative techniques, can yield some pretty impressive results.

Orthopedic injuries in pets are unfortunately a common occurrence, but together we can work to prevent many of them. When they do occur, you can rest assured that your partners here at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services can work with your veterinarian to help you obtain the best possible outcome, no matter the situation.