Stem Cell treatment for dog arthritis

Diagnosing Arthritis in Dogs

Does My Dog Have Arthritis?

Did you know one of the most commonly diagnosed conditions especially in older dogs is Osteo-arthritis?

That doesn’t mean however that every dog with mobility issues such as lameness, sore backs slow to rise, difficulty jumping into cars or walking up stairs – has arthritis.

There are many other conditions that could be contributing to these symptoms of which osteoarthritis is only one of them.

How is Arthritis Diagnosed?

The word “arthritis” means joint inflammation. However – not all mobility issues are related to a joint problem.

Lameness, stiffness and pain be caused by other conditions such as:

  1. A soft tissue injuryStem Cell treatment for dog arthritis
  2. Spinal disease
  3. Bone Cancer

Making any assumptions without further investigations can lead to wrong treatments and potentially make your dog worse.

How We Diagnose

We start by performing a thorough musculo-skeletal assessment. This gives us an idea of whether we’re going to recommend X-Rays, Ultrasound or a CT Scan to see the extent of the injury or disease.

  • For suspected soft tissue injuries – we use Ultrasound e.g Muscle tears, Ligament damage
  • If we think it’s a spinal issue – we will do a CT Scan e.g. Intervertbral Disc Disease, Spondylosis
  • If we’re suspicious of joint involvement we’ll do either a CT or X-Ray

Following these steps gives us the best possible chance of an accurate diagnosis. Because – without them, we’re really only guessing.

In our practice only vets with additional training in Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation perform our musculo-skeletal assessments.

Trends in Diagnosing Arthritis

Unfortunately what we’re seeing is many dogs being diagnosed with arthritis without any form of imaging to support that conclusion.

These dogs come to us for second opinion because they are not improving on their prescribed medications. That’s because they have other un-diagnosed issues causing their symptoms OR the prescribed treatment program is not working for them.

We find that once we discover the real cause of these dogs’ pain and get them onto the right treatment plan, we see significant improvement in their mobility and happiness.

Arthritis Treatment Options

There are 2 parts to successfully managing osteo-arthritis in dogs once diagnosed.

  1. Pain Management
  2. Mobility management

Pain Management

A pain management program can include:

  • Medications – Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Drug free modalities – Acupuncture – Laser Therapy – Shockwave – Pulse Electromagnetic Therapy

Mobility Management

Rehabilitation therapies to include:

  • Arthritis injections – these can help in maintaining joint health and preventing further deterioration of joint cartilage
  • Hydrotherapy (Pool and Underwater Treadmill)
  • Therapeutic Exercises – joint mobilisation
  • Therapeutic Massage – Myotherapy

Things Not to Do if you think your dog has Arthritis

  1. Buy supplements and products without seeing your vet first. Although there are dozens of products on the market that claim to assist in the management of osteo-arthritis in dogs, they are not designed to be a complete treatment. You could also be wasting your money on these products if your dog has something else going on.
  2. Make assumptions that your dog has arthritis just because he or she is getting older
  3. Use human pain medications. These are NOT designed for animals and can be extremely harmful when given to your pets.

But Won’t this all cost more?

In the long term. Probably Not. We see many people wasting their money on therapies and medications that are not working for them at all. And most of these don’t come cheap. By investing in a correct diagnosis and a tailored treatment plan ensures that both you and your best mate are getting the most benefit from every dollar spent.

So – what are your thoughts?

Worth getting a diagnosis? We think so.

7 Ways we Can help your Dog with Osteoarthritis

Shockwave in Canine Rehabilitation

Veterinary Shockwave Treatment in Pets

What is Shockwave Therapy?

Shockwave therapy is a multidisciplinary device used in human orthopaedics, physiotherapy, sports medicine, urology as well as veterinary medicine.

Its main benefits are fast pain relief and restoring mobility. Together with being a non-surgical treatment with minimal need for painkillers makes it an ideal therapy to speed up recovery and cure various conditions causing acute or chronic pain.

Shockwave – despite its name is NOT an electric shock at all. It is a special frequency acoustic (sound) wave that carries high energy to painful areas and can be used to treat specific musculo-skeletal conditions. The energy promotes regeneration of bones, tendons and other soft tissues.

We Use Shockwave for

Treating patients with hip and elbow dysplasia, degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis, tendon and ligament injuries, non- or delayed healing bone fractures, back pain, and chronic or non-healing wounds.Shockwave in Canine Rehabilitation

Just recently we have used Shockwave therapy for dissolving large bladder stones in a dog. (They use it for dissolving kidney stones in humans too.)

In fact Shockwave has been used in Human Medicine for over 25 years for non-invasive treatment for urologic and orthopedic conditions.

In this case it meant we could successfully avoid invasive surgery for our canine patient.

Treatment Protocols and Schedules

Because Shockwave treatments are loud and can be uncomfortable – the patient is sedated or under full anaesthesia.

The pain relief effects usually happen within 24 hours and we often already see improvements in our patients even after a single treatment.

Most of the time however, treatment is carried out at intervals over a specific time period.

Shockwave for musculo-skeletal injuries and conditions is always most effective when part of an overall rehabilitation treatment program.

Shockwave for Horses

Shockwave therapy is not just limited to our smaller patients. We also use it in horses for treating similar conditions.

It has been an accepted treatment modality for musculo-skeletal injuries,osteoarthritis (OA), and wound healing in horses for quite some time.

In our practice Shockwave therapy is just one option of many for the treatment of musculo-skeletal conditions in pets, horses and other farm animals.

If you want to find out whether shockwave therapy might be a suitable treatment for your pet’s painful condition – please get in touch via email.

How do we determine whether Shockwave is suitable for your Pet?

We always start with a full Rehabilitation Assessment with one of our Vets certified in Canine Rehabilitation. This includes a full musculo-skeletal exam and possible imaging of the affected area.

Veterinary Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine

The Revolutionary Way to Treat Partial CCL Tears in Dogs

Discover How Partially Torn Cruciates in Dogs are Treated with Regenerative Medicine

Modern Medicine is certainly changing the ways to treat early stage cruciate (CCL) injuries in dogs but the key to avoiding surgery (if that’s what you prefer) is by identifying the small signs your dog shows that a full injury is on its way.

We see numerous – second opinions for cruciate injuries and sadly even when partial tears are diagnosed – the most common advice given to these people includes:

  • Wait until a full rupture occurs and then do surgery –
  • Go on pain meds and anti-inflammatory drugs and see how it goes
  • Restrict activities and see if it heals

The chances of a successful heal however is minimal and even if it does seem to improve – it is by the development of fibrous tissue which in turn leads to arthritic changes down the track.

CCl injuries are a most common orthopaedic injury in dogs – particularly large breeds – active or ageing dogs. It is the equivalent the ACL injury in Humans.

How Can You identify Early Injury?

Limping or skipping even if intermittent can be a sign of developing cruciate injury and it’s when you see your dog do this – that you should have your vet perform a thorough knee exam.

If a partial tear is diagnosed and you want to go down the non – surgical path then you need to act quickly before more damage occurs.

We (like Dr Sherman Canapp in the video) diagnose partial tears through a musculo-skeletal exam and / or more accurately by inserting a small needle scope into the joint to determine degree of damage.

“Bentley’s” partial cruciate tear was treated with stem cells and PRP and he is now in our rehab program In a few week’s time we’ll be going back in with the fine needle scope to check healing progress.

CCL Canine Cruciate Ligament Surgery

Treatment With Regenerative Medicine (Stem Cells)

If your dog has been diagnosed with a partial CCL tear and you prefer to go down the non -surgical path then you MUST WATCH Veterinary Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Specialist Dr Sherman Canapp talk about this on The Pet Show (USA) with Dr Katy Nelson.

While this contains the full episode of the Pet Show – skip through the ads and other local stories to find the interview with Dr Canapp. Highly recommended for you if you have performance dogs, active dogs, senior dogs or just big goofy dogs like Bentley!

As Australia’s experts in Regenerative Medicine and VOSMA affiliate – we use these same techniques as explained in the video.

Further Reading

Partial Cranial Cruciate Ligament Tears Treated with Stem Cell and Platelet-Rich Plasma Combination Therapy in 36 Dogs: A Retrospective Study

Regenerative Medicine for Soft Tissue Injury and Osteoarthritis

Hydrotherapy for Dogs

Why Hydrotherapy – Underwater Treadmill is not for all Dogs

Underwater Treadmill or Hydrotherapy is not a complete Rehabilitation Program

We get regular enquiries from people who have been advised to book their dogs in for Underwater Treadmill therapy to assist in recovery after orthopaedic surgery or other musculo-skeletal conditions.

While aquatic therapies such as Underwater Treadmill (UWTM) or pool swimmingHydrotherapy for Dogs can be extremely beneficial as part of a rehabilitation program – they are not suitable for all musculo-skeletal conditions.

Aquatic therapy should not be seen as a standalone therapy for these cases. Instead it should be a small part of a larger rehabilitation program incorporating multiple modalities & therapies.

We’ve had dogs referred to us for UWTM that couldn’t even stand following spinal surgery – let alone walk. In these cases – UWTM therapy ALONE is not a good starting point for therapy.

Others have just had orthopaedic procedures which involve healing of delicate tissue and internal implants – in these cases – the powerful forces generated by walking through water in a Underwater Treadmill would have done more harm than good. This is because – at this stage we need to concentrate more on strengthening the stabiliser muscles rather than the locomotor muscles.

What is a Rehabilitation Program?

A rehabilitation program is one that is made up of modalities & therapies that are specifically selected based on your pet’s condition. The program may or may not initially include any aquatic therapies such as UWTM or swimming. These may be introduced at a later stage in the program.

How do I know Hydrotherapy is right for my Dog?

In the Human world – your orthopaedic surgeon or Doctor doesn’t prescribe a recovery plan. They would refer you to a Physiotherapist who creates that program for you.

In pets – it works the same way.

Our Certified Rehabilitation Veterinarians conduct a full Rehabilitation Assessment from which a tailored program is prescribed. This might include multiple modalities – specifically designed for your pet’s needs.

We encourage you to seek out a qualified professional – a Rehabilitation Veterinarian or an Animal Physiotherapist to assess your dog first before just booking a Hydrotherapy session in yourself with a place that has those facilities.

Laser Therapy fr Dog Arthritis

7 Ways We can Help Your Dog with Osteoarthritis

Modern Ways to Manage Arthritis in Dogs

It’s well known that dogs can suffer from Osteoarthritis as they get older – just like we do.

Even though there is no cure for this condition, the good news is – there are lots of  ways we can help keep your dog comfortable and active all year round.

Signs your dog may have arthritis include:

  1. Difficulty rising or climbing stairs
  2. Reduced activityDog Osteoarthritis

Arthritis is generally diagnosed through a clinical examination as well as X-Rays to visualise the extent of the disease.

1: Medications

This is the most common method of managing the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. Although medications are useful in an overall management program – we prefer to avoid their long term use – particularly in pets with impaired organ function.

2: Arthritis Injections (DMOADS)

Unlike anti-inflammatories which tend to treat the symptoms of osteoarthritis, Disease Modifying Osteoarthritis Drugs (DMOADs) target the progression of the disease. Studies show that using DMOADs slow osteoarthritis progression, as well as relieving pain and inflammation. They provide effective long term treatment of osteoarthritis. Due to the long development process of osteoarthritis, the lack of symptoms in the initial stages and the difficulty of diagnosis in these early stages, DMOADs are also used proactively used in dogs considered at risk dogs of developing the disease.

DMOADs act in multiple ways:

  • Stimulate cartilage producing cells to produce healthy cartilage
  • Slow cartilage damage by destructive enzymes
  • Stimulate joint capsule cells to produce lubricating joint fluid
  • Reduce swelling and block inflammatory processes
  • Improve blood flow and nutrition to joint structures

These drugs are injected by your veterinarian weekly for at least 4 weeks. Usually you will see a reduction of osteoarthritis signs after 2 or 3 injections. The initial course of injections typically provides 3 – 6 months of relief from the problems associated with osteoarthritis. After this time your veterinarian may recommend another course of 4 injections.

DMOADs are very safe products with few side effects.

Next Generation DMOAD Zydax is our preferred option.

By themselves DMOADS can be good in the early stages of Osteoarthritis (Grade 1 -2 out of 4) however beyond that stage they should be used in conjunction with one or more of the following therapies.

3: Nutraceuticals

Nutraceutical by definition:

A foodstuff (as a fortified food or a dietary supplement) that is held to provide health or medical benefits in addition to its basic nutritional value—called also functional food.

There are many nutraceutical products available that help fight the degenerative disease. Not all are as effective as others. One of several products we recommend to our clients is 4Cyte.

4: Laser Therapy

Laser Therapy or Photo Bio-modulation Therapy (PBM) is a natural, safe, gentle and effective method of reducing pain and inflammation in arthritic pets.

We use Laser Therapy in our practice every day for all sorts of conditions and our patients love it.

However – if you are considering Laser Therapy for your dog – keep in mind that not all Laser Therapy services advertised on the market are equal. Low wattage hand held devices are not designed for the depth of penetration required for effective arthritis treatment.

It has been shown that musculo-skeletal results for Laser therapy is dose dependant. High Doses are needed to achieve therapeutic results. This means laser Class IIIB or IV to achieve real benefits for your pet.Laser Therapy fr Dog Arthritis

We use the Companion Class IV Laser Therapy equipment which is specifically designed for this purpose.

Initial treatments require 3 sessions for the first week then reducing as symptoms subside.

5: Acupuncture

Acupuncture (including elecro-acupuncture) can be very effective in reducing the pain and discomfort of all types of animals including dogs, and horses. Acupuncture works by stimulating nerves under the skin and in muscle tissue prompting the body to produce pain relieving endorphins.

Acupuncture combined with Laser Therapy is found to be very effective in dogs with disc disease & spinal conditions.

6: Regenerative Medicine

Regenerative Medicine Treatments include Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatments, Stem Cell Activation injections and Stem Cell procedures.

Over the years we have successfully treated hundreds of dogs, cats and horses with regenerative medicine therapies. Most of these patients have reduced their dependence on medications with some coming completely off them over time after these treatments.

7: Rehabilitation Therapies

As a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Centre – we offer a range of rehab therapies to include:

Hydrotherapy – EMS – Therapeutic Massage – Therapeutic Exercises.

If your dog has been diagnosed with osteoarthritis and you’re interested in finding out the best combination of therapies to improve his or her quality of life, please get in touch.

7 Ways to Help Your Dog with Arthritis – Naturally

Discover How we’re Leading the Way in Arthritis Management

Is your elderly pet struggling to get up? Lagging behind on walks? Reluctant to play like she used to?

Chances are – it’s probably arthritis that’s slowing her down.

Years ago you’d take her to your vet and you’d probably be given some anti-inflammatory medications to help manage the pain. Sadly though – that’s all these drugs do. They don’t help heal and just like most drugs – they can have side effects if used for a prolonged period of time.

Thankfully – these days you have many more options in helping keep your dog happy, active and in less pain – without sentencing them to a lifetime course of drugs.

Our practice is leading the way in providing gentle and effective alternatives to conventional drug therapy by offering these options for your arthritic pet.

Laser Therapy

Works incredibly well to help reduce pain and improve mobility in all animals. It’s natural, pain free and totally relaxing for your pet. (Some pets even fall asleep during the treatment which says a lot for its therapeutic benefits) A typical initial treatment plan involves a series 3 – 5 sessions lasting about 10 minutes each over a fortnight. Further maintenance sessions are then organised depending on the severity of the condition and your pet’s response.

Response to date? We’ve been using Laser Therapy for pets in our practice for some time now and love the results we’re getting for our clients. Best of all – our patients love it too!

Rehabilitation Therapy

We are a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practice and use gentle Rehabilitation Techniques to treat a wide range of conditions including arthritis. A Rehabilitation program may include a combination of modalities including special exercises,Therapeutic Massage, EMS and E-STIM. All our patients are under the care and guidance of our Certified Canine Rehabilitation Vet – Dr Malcolm Ware and trained assistants Ashlee & Rebecca.

Canine Arthritis

We design all rehabilitation programs based on an Initial Assessment of your pet’s specific condition. Sessions may be weekly or more frequently to begin with with further top up sessions as needed. Rehabilitation therapy is not just limited to older pets with arthritis and degenerative diseases – we run regular rehab sessions for sporting and agility dogs too to help them perform at their best.

Is your Rehabilitation Therapist Qualified?

Acupuncture

Dr Tristan Maugueret is our resident Acupuncturist and he has achieved some great results for some of our arthritic patients. Acupuncture provides drug free pain relief and assists in restoring mobility across a number of different conditions including arthritis and other degenerative diseases.

Hydrotherapy

Yes – we have an underwater treadmill that enables us to provide Hydrotherapy treatment for your dog. Hydrotherapy allows your dog’s joints to move without the pressure of having to support the weight of the body and dogs just love it. The water is warm and treats flow freely.

Hydrotherapy sessions are individualised, tailored to your dog’s specific needs and always under guidance of a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist.

Arthritis Injections (DMOADS)

These are special Disease Modifying Osteoarthritis Drugs which unlike anti-inflammatories (which treat only the symptoms of the disease) target the progression of the disease.

DMOADS act in multiple ways including:

  • Stimulate cartilage producing cells to produce healthy cartilage
  • Slow cartilage damage
  • Stimulate the production of lubricating joint fluid
  • Reduce swelling and block inflammatory processes

Injections are given weekly for 4 weeks and the course repeated again in 6 months time. Usually you will see a reduction of osteoarthritis signs after 2 or 3 injections.

Nutraceuticals

A healthy balanced diet is fundamental to any pet’s health. However as your pet ages or suffers from disease, additional supplementation of specific nutrients is essential. We use carefully selected products to help counteract the destructive processes associated with arthritis.

Stem Cell Procedure

Stem cell procedure uses your pet’s own stem cells which are then reinjected into affected joints providing proven pain relief and improved mobility. We have performed the Adipose Stem Cell procedure on over 100 dogs – horses and cats so far with very pleasing results. Read more about Stem Cell Therapy for Dogs with Arthritis.

So – if you have a dog suffering from Osteoarthritis or other degenerative joint disease and told that anti-inflammatory medications are your only option – get a second opinion and see whether any of these alternatives can work for you.

What You Need to Know About Stem Cell Procedure

About Adipose Stem Cell Procedure

Since the Adipose Stem Cell Procedure became available for Pets in Australia, it’s caused quite a buzz – especally in the canine world. But of course, as with anything new it’s also raised quite a few questions and in some cases, even some eyebrows.

So what’s the big dilemma?

From we see, the biggest issue most dog owners face is simply lack of information about the procedure itself and the fact that very few vets have opted to offer it in their practice. Understandably, this causes concern and we can’t blame you for that. But if it helps, you might want to know that we too were a little skeptical until we started doing some background research of our own.

From our point of view, new breakthroughs in medicine and surgery (human and animal) happen all the time. New medications arrive on the market, surgical techniques are refined, new equipment and diagnostic tools are developed and the list goes on.

Our job is to evaluate each of these and then decide whether or not they provide a valuable benefit to our clients.

Stem Cell Procedure Caught our Attention for 3 Reasons:

  1. We have many dogs suffering from the pain and discomfort of arthritis and other degenerative joint diseases coming through our practice each day. Although there are many options available for these conditions, not all work equally well for all dogs or there comes a time when even the most effective medications no longer work.
  2. More and more clients are looking for more “drug free” alternatives to manage pain and give their dogs a better quality of life
  3. The dog’s own Stem Cells are used to heal itself so there are no ethical or rejection issues to worry about

Does Stem Cell Procedure Work?

That’s what we had to find out first. We scoured the net and looked for all the anecdotal evidence we could find. While we knew that extensive research into the use of Stem cells in Human therapy has been ongoing for many years, we needed to find evidence that it works in animals too.

We quickly discovered however that tStem Cell Therapy for Dogshe only evidence of how well Stem Cell Procedure works is by reading the case studies presented by vets who are already performing the procedure both here in Australia and in the United States. And their results – about 80% of thousands of dogs showing improvement after the procedure.

So, should we shake our heads and say no?

Wait until appropriate Scientific Papers are published? (Knowing all too well that isn’t going to be happening any time soon and we have some desperate patients waiting for help that have little options left other than medication)

Would it be fair to offer Stem Cell Procedure with the understanding that it may or may not work? Or – take a wait and see approach.

Thankfully we had a few clients who were prepared to try the procedure with a full undertsanding of the lack of Scientific evidence supporting their decision. And thankfully, they got the results they were hoping for.

So far we have performed the procedure on 30 dogs and our results mimic those obtained by other vets. Some dogs respond better than others, most have shown significant improvement and others less so. But from our point of view that’s no different to any major surgical procedure or even medical treatment. Every major surgical procedure and treatment protocol has its own success and failure rate. In medicine – there are never any guarantees.

The worst case scenario is that it produces no visible improvements in YOUR dog.

Why don’t more vets offer the procedure?

Because – as vets we want proof and that means Published Scientific Evidence. So if you ask your vet about the procedure, this is likely to be the answer you’ll receive. This is also why Veterinary Specialists don’t endorse the procedure. Plus the procedure itself is actually quite straightforward and can be perfomed in general practice.

Our advice

If you’re looking for information about the procedure, we suggest you fully research it yourself, just as we did. There are many references to the procedure on the web to include informative videos and case studies.

Ask someone who knows. There’s little point asking people who don’t know anything about the procedure. Contact vets who perform the procedure and ask them about their results.

Also contact people who have had the procedure performed on their dog to hear what they have to say.

Even today, after performing the procedure on numerous dogs, we still ask our clients to do their own research before committing to the procedure. That’s because want to make sure they’re completely comfortable with their decision to go ahead.

Think first – then decide

Emotions can often cloud people’s judgement as most people hate seeing their beloved companions in pain from crippling degenerative diseases like arthritis. That’s why we always advise our clients to seek out the information they need first so that they’re fully informed before going ahead. It’s also why we publish as much information as we can on our website to help you.

We know Stem cell Therapy works because we’ve seen the results first hand. We also know that what we’re seeing now is but the tip of the iceberg. Research into the use of stem cells for other degenerative diseases in humans and animals – like kidney failure in cats is already happening with pleasing results.