Check the Cred
Inspired by Dr Canapp
Here in Australia there is no regulation protecting you or your animals from people with no training. It has resulted in people advertising that they are canine rehabilitation specialists after attending a course that has no veterinary input. Veterinary input is vital to ensure that the differences between humans and companion animals are understood. There are many canine diseases with the same name as human disease, that have completely different underlying mechanisms.
I will not deny that this makes me a little scared. Sometimes I see dogs that have been treated by individuals with inadequate training and some of these dogs have had treatments that are contraindicated and some have had adverse outcomes. There are no ramifications for unqualified practitioners, unlike vets, physios, chiros and osteopaths who can all have their licence and ability to practice revoked if they are negligent. Hopefully one day there is a group that will register everyone that has an interst in canine sports and rehabiltition here in Australia so that there are minimum standards, and regulation to protect the innocent animals.
Recently Dr Sherman Canapp from VOSM posted photos on facebook from an Agiitly dog. This dog had injuries that it had been able to cover up to continue having fun. By the time complete diagnosis was made the dogs career was over. You can read the full post here.
This prompted me to write this. It was originally also a facebook post, however I believe that it is worth preserving here on the website. There have been a few tweaks but this is really a 'stream of consiousness' post. Hopefully i will get the chance to pick appart a few of these ideas futher in the coming months. But this is the raw and honest truth.
Good Might Not Be Good Enough...
One of the most basic goals of conditioning and rehabilitation is to achieve symmetry. Symmertry means your dog is equally strong across their centre line, that they aren't favouring their left or right side. A lack of symmetry can force your dog to compensate so that they can maintain normal movement and get about their lives.
Luckily, there are some technical tests you can perform with your dog to check their symmetry.
Mind and Body
My article on pain not being an acceptable form of restraint is still one of the most popular I have written. To me that is black and white, but how about the shades of grey?
I often chat to owners who tell me their dog feels pretty good. They can run around, play with toys and don't look to be in much pain. And yet I will still discuss pain relief and if we should do a treatment trial with pain meds. Until now I have given it to most owners as an option because.... well it's grey. Their dog is pretty good and happy so why put drugs into their system.
Things I Would Keep
There is a strong link between physical and mental health in our companion animals.
My hope is that this short article will get you thinking that your pet (or your patients) may not just be being 'naughty' or 'difficult'. They may have a great reason for their behaviour, and since our pets can't tell us what is going on, it's our job to do the work, and find out what the underlying issues is so we can help them.
Safire is now a week out from surgery. She is doing well and getting her spunk back. This is rather stressful for me since she is still supposed to be resting, but she really wants to not be resting.
Body Condition Scoring - What is right for your pet?
Once again I am writing about one of my own puppies.
Last Friday night, Safire was involved in a traumatic incident (for her and the humans) that resulted in her being unable to put her right hind leg on the ground. It was swinging under her body and poking out to the left side. She was still trying to beg and walk though. My gut knew what was wrong although I my brain was madly denying it.
Pain Should Never Be Used as a Restraint
One of the biggest challenges many owners face when talking about the weight of their pet, is working out what is the 'right' weight for your pet is. There is so much variation based on breeds and even lines and types within those breeds. So instead of focusing on an ideal 'weight' we aim for your pet to have a body condition score of 4 to 5 which you can see in the charts below. This is particularly important for animals that are predisposed to arthritis and young pups to keep them healthy and comfortable throughout life.
Is My Dog too Skinny
In no circumstances should we be refraining from using pain medication because we fear that the dog will feel TOO GOOD and re-injure themselves.
It is unethical and cruel to leave an animal suffering when we have the option to provide pain relief. It is our responsibility, as their carer to take steps to contain an animal that has injured themselves either physically or through the use of chemical restraint, if required.
Finding a happy medium when it comes to weight can be stressful for responsible owners. They know they don’t want their dog to be overweight to take care of their dog's health (link to weight article) but it is hard when you are constantly told that your dog is too skinny when you take them for a walk or even at the local dog club.