The doctors at West Towne Veterinary Center define integrative care as any validated or evidence-based care that compliments western veterinary medicine and the combination restores wellness for your pet. Three areas we have found effective are acupuncture, spinal manipulative care (similar to human chiropractic), and veterinary rehabilitation including cold laser therapy. We are able to perform acupuncture on site and can refer you to area specialists for other treatments. There are also herbalists we can refer or consult with.
Massage: Hands-on treatment helps relax muscles, increase circulation, and loosen up soft tissues, thereby decreasing pain and improving muscle and joint bio-mechanics. Skilled hands focus on trigger points and sources of restrictions in muscles and joints thereby increasing range of motion and function. Stretching is also often completed at this time to help restore normal muscle length. This is very beneficial and is completed along with Laser therapy to really “melt” trigger points. All patients that tolerate it, really benefit from massage!
Therapeutic Ultrasound: The use of therapeutic ultrasound can be very useful for the treatment of chronic injuries especially tendonitis (biceps or shoulder) and deep muscular scarring (fibrotic myopathy.) When the therapeutic laser doesn’t work, we often use the ultrasound.
TENS or Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation: Most commonly used for neurological patients to help re-establish nerve pathways and retain muscle that can’t function. It can also be used immediately after surgery or in early injury repair for pain relief and tendon healing/fracture repair. I combine this with targeted exercise to help re-train patients how to walk/sit/move!
Rehabilitation Room/Therapeutic Exercises: These are specific exercises tailored to the patient and owner on a case by case basis. The exercises target specific weaknesses including building muscle, gait retraining/muscle strengthening for specific injuries and are taught to the owner to perform at home.
Land Treadmill: At this time we don’t have a treadmill, but if you have one I can guide your use of it to help with strength building, gait retraining and conditioning.
Underwater Treadmill: At this time we don’t have an underwater treadmill. There is so much we can do without one, but for some patients this is integral for their recovery. I can help you decide if underwater treadmill is integral for your pet and direct you to reliable sources in our area if that is the case.
Many patients of the furry kind benefit from rehab just as people do. This is indicated after surgery, specific injuries or in helping to ease the pain associated with arthritis. We use most of the same modalities as are used for people to maintain range of motion, prevent muscle atrophy, build strength, relieve pain and stiffness, build proprioception and neurologic retraining to return to the best function possible.
Each patient is fully evaluated before any rehabilitation begins ensuring that no other injuries or pain exist. Full communication occurs with your referring veterinarian (and surgical specialist if one is involved) to ensure continuity of care and the best recovery/outcome for your companion. By evaluating the whole patient we can uncover problems that were never diagnosed/addressed that can be exasperated by having to move differently than normal. This will allow for the best outcome and gives you the most information.
These are the modalities (See rehabilitation modalities) we commonly use:
- Therapeutic laser
- Massage–with stretching and range of motion
- Targeted exercise including Cavaletti rails, rocker board, peanut balls etc
- Therapeutic ultrasound
- Cryotherapy (cold compresses)–or heat
- Incline treadmill (unavailable currently)
These are the conditions that we commonly treat:
Canine Cruciate Ligament (TPLO, extracapsular, TTA) , Hip Dysplasia (Total Hip, TPO, FHO), Medial Patellar Luxation, Osteochondritis (elbow, shoulder, hock), Intervertebral Disk Disease–surgical or nonsurgical.
Hip Dysplasia (HD), Elbow Dysplasia (FCP, UAP, OCD), Spine (Lumbosacral Disease, articular facet OA), Stifle (Post CCL, other), Hock/Carpus/Toe
Overweight (up to 20 % over ideal)
Obesity (20% or more over ideal weight)
Medial Shoulder Instability, Iliopsoas Muscle Injury, Biceps Tendonitis, Supraspinatous tendonitis, and sprains/strains
Disk degeneration and Degenerative Myelopathy
Much of our time is spent discussing how to PREVENT another injury by achieving ideal weight and supplementation with evidence-based joint supplements and anti-inflammatory diets and supplements.
We also will spend time discussing at home exercises to strengthen weak muscles and improve range of motion. Integrative care and preventive nutrition are the best for your pet!
This can also strike young dogs that have survived trauma or have hip or elbow dysplasia. A dysplastic joint is one that doesn’t fit together like it should. The constant instability in this “loose” joint that is meant to be “tight” leads to inflammation and ultimately the degradation of cartilage and subsequent pain. If your dog has been diagnosed with dysplasia, we can teach you how to guide your dog in exercises to slow the progression of muscle loss and subsequent pain and disability from arthritis.
Pain and discomfort from arthritis will make pets less active. Muscles become weak and joints become stiff, limiting range of motion and thus function. Just like the “bone on bone” contact that causes pain in people, this becomes a dangerous downward spiral of inactivity and can lead to a point of no return.
What is Range of Motion?
Range of Motion is crucial to maintain for many reasons. If a joint is immobilized either by choice or mechanics, the joint fluid doesn’t move. Joint fluid is what feeds the cartilage, so just by performing range of motion you can move the joint fluid to slow the onset of degenerative joint disease. Range of motion also prevents muscle and ligament restrictions. Animals in pain will limit their range of motion so the loss of function of one aspect of the body cascades to the loss of function in many areas. The key is to learn these exercises in a safe manner, as our goal for physical therapy is to provide relief, not cause pain.
Multi-Model Approach to Restoration/Wellness
One of the most important aspects is weight management. Our trained specialists can help determine the ideal weight of your friend and provide a safe and appropriate exercise for them as well as diet recommendations to help them reach a goal. Studies have shown that ideal weight can have the same effect as non-steroidal medications.
Proper diet is essential for healing and for maintaining healthy muscle. Our evidence-based nutritional counseling can help you determine the best diet for your pet based on breed, activity and medical conditions.
Supplements such as chondro-protectants (cartilage/joint protectants) and Omega-3 fatty acids can help with pain relief, injury prevention, and restoration. Our evidence-based knowledge can help guide your selection and determine the best way and form to administer these to your pet.
Rehabilitation therapy also includes many other modalities for pain relief and muscle building/restoration. These can consist of simple at-home therapies such as ice and heat, range of motion exercises, stretching, specific targeted exercises or modalities used at the clinic.
Integrative Care Staff
Dr. Deanna Clark, Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist and DVM
Gretchen May, DVM, CVA (IVAS)
Looking for ways to add to and balance the conventional veterinary care I could provide, I completed the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society’s Basic Course in Veterinary Acupuncture in 2011 and became a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist in 2012. I love working with people to help them decide on the best care for their pets, and I love how acupuncture allows us to choose treatments that work best with each individual.
Acupuncture can be used to treat or help manage many conditions including musculoskeletal, neurological, gastrointestinal, or skin diseases. Most commonly it is used to treat chronic problems such as the pain and weakness associated with arthritis, intervertebral disk disease, diarrhea, and allergies. It can also help to speed recovery from surgery and to improve the quality of life of animals with long term diseases such as cancer.
Dr. Brooke Lewis
Tues: 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Wed: 8 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Thurs: 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Fri: 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Sat: 8 a.m. to noon