Treatment Modalities

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Cold Laser Therapy
(Photobiomodulation)

Laser therapy is the application of light energy (photons) to stimulate tissue.  Therapeutic lasers stimulate cellular metabolism, fibroblast proliferation, collagen deposition and enhance angiogenesis, but are not capable of cutting tissue.

Additionally, they can provide pain relief through increased secretion of serotonin, increased release of endogenous opiates, decreased inflammation and blockage of afferent C fiber depolarization. Several lasers are currently marketed for veterinary use and differ based on their wavelength and power, which influence the depth of penetration and time required for treatment, respectively, and their ability to cause injury to the eye and skin.

Dogs with OA may benefit from laser therapy to the affected joint and surrounding muscles/ trigger points.  One study found that laser therapy resulted in a reduced need for NSAIDs in dogs with elbow OA. (caninearthritis.org)

Acupuncture

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Cold Laser Therapy
(Photobiomodulation)

Laser therapy is the application of light energy (photons) to stimulate tissue.  Therapeutic lasers stimulate cellular metabolism, fibroblast proliferation, collagen deposition and enhance angiogenesis, but are not capable of cutting tissue.

Additionally, they can provide pain relief through increased secretion of serotonin, increased release of endogenous opiates, decreased inflammation and blockage of afferent C fiber depolarization. Several lasers are currently marketed for veterinary use and differ based on their wavelength and power, which influence the depth of penetration and time required for treatment, respectively, and their ability to cause injury to the eye and skin.

Dogs with OA may benefit from laser therapy to the affected joint and surrounding muscles/ trigger points.  One study found that laser therapy resulted in a reduced need for NSAIDs in dogs with elbow OA. (caninearthritis.org)

Cold Laser

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Hydrotherapy

Water offers several beneficial properties that make hydrotherapy and the underwater treadmill (UWTM) very useful modalities in veterinary rehabilitation. Depending on the height of the water, the buoyancy of the water will provide varying levels of support for animals that are either weak or painful.

The cohesion and turbulence of the water provide a resistant force when walking through the water. This property is beneficial for increasing the range of motion of joints. Additionally, it is more challenging to walk through water, leading to increased muscle strength and endurance following regular therapy in an underwater treadmill.

Finally, the water temperature in most underwater treadmills or pools is kept around 85 degrees F, which helps increase blood flow to the limbs and provides a soothing environment. Studies have found that dogs enrolled in a UWTM-based rehabilitation program have improved weight loss and maintenance of muscle mass. (www.caninearthritis.org)

Hydrotherapy

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Cold Laser Therapy
(Photobiomodulation)

Laser therapy is the application of light energy (photons) to stimulate tissue.  Therapeutic lasers stimulate cellular metabolism, fibroblast proliferation, collagen deposition and enhance angiogenesis, but are not capable of cutting tissue.

Additionally, they can provide pain relief through increased secretion of serotonin, increased release of endogenous opiates, decreased inflammation and blockage of afferent C fiber depolarization. Several lasers are currently marketed for veterinary use and differ based on their wavelength and power, which influence the depth of penetration and time required for treatment, respectively, and their ability to cause injury to the eye and skin.

Dogs with OA may benefit from laser therapy to the affected joint and surrounding muscles/ trigger points.  One study found that laser therapy resulted in a reduced need for NSAIDs in dogs with elbow OA. (caninearthritis.org)

Chiropractic

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Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy

This modality is high-powered, focused ultrasound. Sound waves are transmitted to the tissue, which stimulates cells to express growth factors and other molecules that improve healing and decrease pain. It was demonstrated by one study that dogs with unilateral hip OA treated with ESWT developed a more symmetrical gait, with peak vertical force and vertical impulse equalizing between limbs.

Another study found that ESWT for elbow OA resulted in improved peak vertical force (PVF, measured on force plate) similar to what is expected with NSAIDs. Of all of the modalities used in veterinary rehabilitation, ESWT currently has the most research in clinical veterinary patients. However, depending on the device used, ESWT may require sedation in order to avoid discomfort during application. (www.caninearthritis.org) Our Piezowave shockwave unit is a newer model at Pawlouse Rehabilitation and typically does not require sedation for use.

Shockwave Therapy

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Therapeutic Exercise / Manual Therapy

Manual therapy is very commonly performed by human physical therapists to relieve pain and improve joint motion.  Veterinary rehabilitation therapists can also use joint mobilization, soft tissue mobilization/ massage, passive range of motion (PROM), and stretching to treat dogs with OA (as well as other conditions)

Animals with OA and other conditions often develop compensatory dysfunctions in surrounding soft tissues and distant joints. Rehabilitation therapists (veterinarians or physical therapists trained in canine rehab) should assess the entire animal to identify areas of compensatory pain, trigger points, or reduced mobility.

In addition to regular aerobic exercises such as walking or swimming, therapeutic exercises should be incorporated into an OA treatment plan with goals of increasing/ maintaining strength, flexibility and proprioception such that functional mobility is maintained. Therapeutic exercises are typically taught to dogs and clients in a rehabilitation gym and then prescribed as part of a home exercise program. (www.caninearthritis.org)

Therapeutic Exercise

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