Exciting news! We now offer a variety of regenerative medicine options for your dogs experiencing painful or restricted movement throughout their day-to-day lives. These procedures are still quite new, but have already been showing positive changes and results with our patients who have undergone treatment. Platelet rich plasma and stem cell therapy can be used to reduce pain and inflammation in arthritic or otherwise injured joints or to help heal damaged muscle, ligaments, and tendons. It is amazing to see how far veterinary medicine has come.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP): A sufficient volume of blood is collected from the patient and the platelet fraction (high in growth factors and molecules to help facilitate reduction of inflammation) is harvested and injected into the affected joint(s). PRP provides pain relief for arthritic joints for as long as 9 months. It is a mildly invasive procedure.
Stem Cell Therapy: Stem cells are harvested from bone marrow or fat tissue of the patient. Stem cells have the ability to repair any type of tissue they introduced into. Stem cells work more efficiently when combined with PRP. Stem cells have the ability to regenerate damaged tendons and ligaments. This therapy can provide pain relief for as long as 11 months. It is a moderately invasive procedure.
One of our staff pets, a 7-year-old spayed female Siberian Husky, underwent PRP injections into her hips today. Her name is Maquita. She has had a history of hind end lameness after exercise. Radiographs revealed she does have arthritis developing in her left and right hip joints. She has had multiple chiropractic and acupuncture treatments in the past, which did help alleviate the pain and inflammation but did not help to facilitate long-term arthritis relief. She also needed to be given an oral anti-inflammatory medication as needed to help control the pain. We are excited to watch the progress of her recovery after her PRP therapy.
Click here for more information about veterinary regenerative medicine.
Taking your dog for a walk can have many benefits, for both you and your four-legged family members. Taking our dogs for a walk not only keeps them in tip-top shape, it also keeps the two-legged person healthy as well. Below are the top 5 reasons to take your dog for a walk:
1. Walking your dog can strengthen the bond between you both. Daily walks build a fun and trusting relationship. It gives you and your dog time to work on behavioral development, making them the perfect dog all around.
2. Walking your dog can encourage socialization. Along the way, you will run into many other dogs and owners out there. Exposing your dog to other dogs and humans will help in the future to adapt faster in new or intimidating situations.
3. Walking your dog can promote weight control and digestive health. It is not healthy for your dog to be overweight. It is hard on their joints, as well as their internal organs. Daily walks stimulate your dog’s digestive system to stay in proper working order.
4. Walking your dog can help diminish destructive behavior and unwanted hyperactivity. Your dog enjoys having a task to complete or participate in. Going for a walk will not only tire them out, but will also give them a sense of accomplishment.
5. Walking your dog can boost your health. Spending time outside can boost your overall well-being. Having your dog as a fun exercise partner can help lower your blood pressure, help you shed a few pounds, help strengthen your muscles and put a big smile on your face!
A bike can excite some dogs and terrify others. Some dogs will gladly run alongside a bike while others would like to viciously destroy the bike until it can’t move anymore. And then there are the other dogs that are nervous and confused about the bike so they choose to run away from it in the opposite direction.
Having a fear of bikes can be dangerous for the dog and the bike rider. Often when a dog tries to attack a moving bike, they can end up getting hurt or the rider of the bike may end up crashing (which can lead to terrible injuries!). Sometimes the rider of the bike may even get nipped at or bitten by the fearful dog. It is a good idea to train your dog to be comfortable around bikes, especially in our town of Squamish, where there seem to be just as many bikes around as vehicles.
To train your dog to be comfortable around bikes, try the following:
Introduce your dog to a bike that isn’t moving and watch their reaction– then you will know how much training work you have ahead of you. Get your dog to practice sitting and staying next to the bike. Reward your dog with treats or their favourite toy.
Next, have someone slowly ride the bike around while your dog is on leash. Have them ride on the other side of the yard or street. Continue to practice obedience (sitting and staying) around the slow moving bike. Pretend that you don’t even notice the bike. Work on keeping your dog’s attention and reward calm behaviour with treats or their favourite toy.
Once your dog is ok with the idea of a slow moving bike, practice walking your dog on leash in one hand while pushing the bike around with your other hand. Go at a slow pace and teach your dog that there is no reason to be scared of bikes. Reward your dog with food or their favourite toy when they are calm and relaxed around the moving bike.
When your dog becomes ok with the idea of a bike in motion, keep them on leash and have somebody ride by at a faster pace. Once your dog is able to ignore the bike, have them increase their biking speed. Your dog may be ok with the bike at a slow speed but may become agitated when the bike goes speeding by. Continue to reward calm behaviour with treats or their favourite toy.
Purposely walk by strangers on bikes. Continue walking while keeping your dog’s focus and pretend like the bike isn’t there. If you are tense and nervous around the bike, your dog will pick up on it and be tense and nervous as well. The calmer you are, the better your dog will be. Don’t forget to reward calm behaviour with treats or their favourite toy!
Training your dog in new situations is not a quick process. Continue working with them as often as possible. Your dog’s behaviour will regress if practice is not maintained. Once your dog is completely comfortable around bikes, try taking them out on a bike ride with you! Just remember that all trails are shared and full control of your dog is necessary to prevent injuries to themselves or other people.
- Plaque (a transparent film of bacteria, cells and food particles) forms and sticks on tooth surfaces
- Plaque build up causes bad breath and redness or inflammation of the gum line (gingivitis)
- Plaque can begin to calcify within 72 hours and form tartar (a visible shell on the outer surface of the tooth)
- Increased inflammation of the gums becomes evident and may cause bleeding at the gum line
- Tartar stuck on the tooth surfaces is covered with newly formed plaque
- The bacteria in plaque secretes toxins and enzymes which cause further inflammation of surrounding periodontal tissues
- With continued gingivitis, some loss of tissue attachment begins at the gum line and leads to the beginning stages of bone loss around tooth roots
- The mouth can be quite painful and uncomfortable when eating
- Recession of the gums due to tartar buildup
- Gingivitis may progress to infection of the tissues and bone around the tooth roots and the tooth (or often a few teeth!) may need to be extracted
- A change in eating habits may be noticed – either not wanting to eat at all or swallowing food without chewing
Throughout all stages of periodontal disease, bacteria can be picked up and carried by the bloodstream to the liver, kidneys and heart. Brushing your pet’s teeth daily and feeding them an appropriate dental diet can help decrease oral bacteria and stop dental disease in its tracks.
**Thank you to our wonderful mouth model, Daisy, a 4 year old Maltipoo.
A healthy body begins with a healthy mouth. Brushing, regular dental exams and oral health nutrition is the combination for a long, healthy life.
There is a strong link between good oral health and heart and kidney health. Plaque full of bacteria builds up on the teeth daily and causes the gums to become irritated. The irritated gums eventually begin to bleed and allow the active bacteria to enter the bloodstream. Bacteria in the bloodstream then travel throughout the body and can negatively impact vital organs such as the heart and kidneys.
Follow these steps to improve your pet’s oral health:
Daily brushing is the foundation of oral care. Life gets very busy at times, but squeezing in this extra daily task is well worth it. By brushing your pet’s teeth daily, you can make a big impact in their oral health. Brushing helps remove plaque (a colourless film containing harmful bacteria) before it has a chance to mineralize into tartar on your pet’s teeth (the yellowish-brown debris visible on your pet’s teeth).
To maintain your pet’s optimal oral health, annual or semi-annual dental checkups should be done. Some animals form tartar in their mouths more quickly than others. For those pets with a history of oral health problems, more frequent exams are a great idea and regular professional cleanings may be advised.
As well as brushing and regular dental checkups, there is also specially formulated food available to aid in removing plaque and bacteria and help reduce gingivitis. The pieces of food work like a toothbrush as they are crunched by your pet.
Fireworks, thunder and other out-of-nowhere sounds often leave dogs frightened and wanting to escape to a safer place. Many fear related issues can be successfully resolved. If left untreated though, the issues will often get worse.
Many dogs try and deal with their fear by acting out in such ways as running away or destroying something. Escaping to get further away from the noise can result in danger for your dog if they are outside of the house– they could run into traffic or run into an area they are unfamiliar with and become lost. If your dog is in the house and trying to escape from the startling noises, they may go into a room and destroy furniture or other household items to try and lessen their sense of fear. Many dogs will try digging, barking, jumping, scratching, chewing or howling to try and make themselves feel better. Both escape and destructive behavior can be a problem for you and could also result in injury to your dog.
How can you help your dog overcome these fearful reactions?
- Create a safe place for your dog. When your dog hears a noise that frightens them, where do they run to in the house to feel safe? Can you create a cozy bed in this area? Are they able to gain access to this area at all times? Try feeding them meals and treats in this area to allow them to associate it with a place where “good things” happen. The “safe place” approach may not work with all dogs as some feel the need to continue moving, pacing and being active when scared.
- Distract your dog. If you notice your dog is just beginning to get anxious, encourage them to engage in an activity that will take their mind off things. Try enticing them with a ball or toy or practice tricks for treats. However, if the distraction technique is not working and you can see that fear and anxiety is building, stop the process of rewarding them or else they may begin to associate fearful behavior with treats and rewards.
- Modify their behavior. This approach can often be successful in reducing fearful responses and phobias in most dogs. It is also known as “counter-conditioning” or “desensitization” and teaches your dog to respond in non-fearful ways to sounds and other things that scare them. This technique is often done with a cd or recording with noises such as firecrackers, thunder, vacuums, etc. Start by playing games with your dog using toys or treats and playing the sounds at a low volume so as not to scare your dog right away. As your sessions continue, gradually increase the volume of the recording. Eventually your dog will associate the noises with happy toy and treat feelings and not a fearful response. Be careful with behavior modification though – if not performed correctly, the fearful reactions could become worse.
- Work with a professional. Consult with your veterinarian to see if medication is recommended to help reduce your dog’s anxiety level for short time periods. Work with a dog trainer to learn different training techniques for fear related issues.
What shouldn’t be done when your dog is having a reaction from fear and anxiety?
- Don’t feed treats to try and comfort them when they are already in a fearful state. This will only reinforce their fearful behavior in the end.
- Don’t just put your dog in a crate. If a crate is not their “safe place” then they will still be fearful and could end up injuring themselves attempting to escape from the crate.
- Don’t punish your dog for being afraid. It’s not fair to them and would only create even more fearful behavior in the end.
- Don’t try and force your dog to remain in a situation that frightens them. It will only make them more afraid and could even cause them to become aggressive in attempt to flee the situation.