Orthopedic Rehabilitation for Dogs

There has been evidence that dogs, like people, benefit greatly from rehabilitation after orthopedic injuries and surgeries.  In the past, surgeries to repair bone fractures, spinal injuries and torn ligaments have been followed up with pain relievers and orders for strict rest (“cage rest”).  What we can see with this approach is loss of muscle tone and weakness over time.  This can lead to a longer road to recovery, with potentially fewer success stories.

The newer approach with canine medicine is to look at surgical recovery more like our human counterparts…with prescriptions for structured physical therapy in the veterinary hospital post-operatively.  This often means follow-up physical therapy appointments for several weeks after the surgery, as well as at-home instructions for exercises.

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Like much of small animal veterinary medicine, orthopedic rehabilitation is becoming a specialized aspect to our work beyond general medicine.  Small animal veterinarians can have special training and become certified in rehabilitation.  Our own Dr. Laura Couch, of WCVS Rockville, has recently been certified in this area and is now seeing patients that could benefit from physical therapy.

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Horses and Intestinal Worms: What you need to know!

By Dr. Danielle Willenborg

“It’s spring, that means I deworm my horse, right?  Maybe not!”

Intestinal parasites are something that horse owners have been concerned about for years.  Many believe that they should deworm adult horses at least twice a year, once being in the spring of the year.  That may not be the case anymore, and if you are deworming when it is not needed then you may be causing more harm than good.

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Large Strongyle larvae in the horse gut tissue.  http://www.eggzamin.com

 

 

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Bots in the stomach of a horse.  http://www.bimectin.com

 

The most common intestinal parasites we worry about as veterinarians are:  large strongyles, small strongyles, and bots.  The two most concerning in the springtime are the strongyles.  Large and small strongyle larvae are picked up off the grass when horses are grazing, they are ingested and travel through the gut where they then reproduce and eggs are then shed into the environment through feces.  Once eggs are shed they form into larvae where the life cycle then starts again.

There are other parasites such as round worms, tapeworms, lungworms, hairworms, stomach worms, and threadworms but these are not as common and therefore not as much a concern at this time.

Determining if you have a parasite problem is the first step, which you can do by bringing a fresh fecal sample to your veterinarian.  We will then perform a test called a fecal flotation to look for parasite eggs.

If it is found that you in fact have a parasite problem, we will recommend a de-wormer based on the number of eggs and type of worms seen.  We may also make recommendations about pasture decontamination ad deworming of other pasture mates or barn mates.  In this way, we are able to treat the specific problem in a direct way, without guessing as to whether there is a problem or not.

 

 

If it is found that horses do not have a large parasite problem and you deworm anyway, then you may be aiding in parasite drug resistance.  Resistant worm populations are not affected by the deworming drugs that are commonly used.  This happens when we deworm when the problem is not severe or use the same medication over and over again year after year.  If resistance continues to rise, one day our medications may no longer be useful with no new deworming medications on the horizon.  This would then leave us with a large number of ill horses without much to do to help.  This is why it is important to contact your veterinarian and bring in a fecal sample before you decide to deworm your adult horses this year.  Help us to fight drug resistance by turning to us before you head to the store to buy that de-wormer.