29 Jul 2017

The following video explains the effects of rupture of the cranial cruciate ligament on the stifle joint, including some of the diagnostic tests used to identify cranial cruciate ligament rupture and three common surgical procedures used to treat the surgical disease.

Have you ever witnessed the pure joy of a lab belly-slamming into a lake after a tennis ball, a border collie cooling off in the ocean on a hot day, or a Newfoundland proudly saving his human companion from the backyard pool – even when they don’t actually need saving? Many dogs love to swim, but when it comes to dog exercise, the go-to activities are usually walking, running, or playing fetch. Just like humans, dogs enjoy variety, and there’s no better way to get it than with swimming.

Swimming is an excellent form of exercise for your dog – and for you! It does wonders for overall health, providing an aerobic workout that also tones and strengthens muscles. And since swimming is low impact, it can be especially beneficial as therapy for dogs who are rehabilitating from an injury or surgery, have joint problems, or are older or overweight. Plus, diving in with your canine companion can be a great way to foster the bond you two share.

Here are five reasons your pup should take the plunge:

1. It Improves Overall Health

Swimming is one of the best, most complete forms of exercise for your dog. Just one minute of swimming equates to four minutes of running! It provides numerous health benefits, including strengthening the heart and lungs, decreasing inflammation, increasing metabolism, and improving circulation which helps keep the skin and coat healthy. Plus, moving their limbs against the resistance of the water uses every major muscle group, improving overall tone and strength. All this adds up to a healthy, happy dog who can run, play, and have fun for longer with less risk of injury.

2. It’s Joint-Friendly

Swimming is low-impact, non-concussive, and non-weight bearing, meaning it allows your dog to enjoy all the benefits without putting stress on their joints and tendons. When submerged, the water takes on most of your dog’s weight, supporting their body and relieving their skeletal system from the stress of jarring impacts that can occur when exercising on land. Furthermore, swimming gets dogs moving in a different way than they usually would on solid ground, which improves their range of motion. All these advantages make swimming an especially-beneficial form of exercise for dogs with joint disorders such as arthritis or dysplasia, and wonderful rehabilitation for pups who are recovering from orthopedic or neurological injury.

3. It’s Stress-Relieving

Not only is swimming great for your dog’s physical health, it also improves their mental wellbeing. Just like humans, dogs need mental stimulation in the form of play, fun, and varied activities that differ from the norm to help them stay sharp and happy. Swimming allows dogs that are usually restricted to exercising on a leash the freedom to get out all their pent-up energy without feeling restrained. Plus, a happily worn-out dog is more likely to look forward to going home and sleeping, allowing them to reap the restorative benefits of a good night’s sleep.

4. It Can Be Pain-Relieving – Warm Water Swimming

Swimming in warm water can be an excellent form of therapeutic exercise for dogs, aiding in the recovery process by strengthening joints, facilitating circulation, and helping fortify muscles. Not only is the warm water pain-relieving, it also promotes blood flow and helps to warm up muscles quicker, reducing the risk of further injury. If you don’t live in a warm climate or have a heated pool, many cities have rehabilitation facilities with heated pools for recovering pets.

5. It’s Great for Overweight Dogs

In the case of overweight dogs, it can be difficult to provide them adequate exercise on land without overworking already-stressed joints and muscles. With the water supporting most of the dog’s weight, swimming is a great way for overweight pups to burn calories and improve their metabolic rate without the risk of injury. Together with a balanced diet, swimming can help bring heavy dogs back down to a healthier weight.

What If My Dog’s Not a Natural-Born Swimmer?

While it’s true that some dogs are more naturally inclined towards swimming than others, most can learn to have confidence in the water when it’s taught with loving care. Approach teaching your pup to swim with the same patience and reassurance you would when teaching a child. If your dog seems apprehensive about entering the water, let them acclimate to the idea at their own pace and offer rewards in the form of treats, praise, or affection to further encourage the desired behavior.

You can begin with a small amount of water – such as a few inches in a kiddie pool – and gradually increase the depth until your dog feels comfortable being submerged. You can also try gently luring your pup into shallow water with a reward, progressively moving further out until they come willingly into deeper water. If they seem unsure of what to do once submerged, try cradling them under their belly (without restraining them) and guiding them through the water encouragingly until they get the hang of swimming on their own. If you make it a pleasant experience, your dog will quickly learn that swimming is something to look forward to.

Where and When Should I Take My Dog Swimming?

There are a number of ways for your dog to enjoy the water – diving into the local pond or creek, taking a dip in the ocean, or joining you in the family pool. Even if you are without an outdoor swimming spot or a backyard pool, many areas have swimming facilities exclusively for pets.

To prevent your pup from taking in too much saltwater or chlorine, always provide an ample supply of fresh water before and during their swim. Also remember to rinse them off after a swim, cleaning out the ears and snout, to avoid irritation to the skin or eyes, or discoloration of the coat.

The amount of time your dog can safely spend swimming varies depending on their physical fitness, overall health, and breed. When swimming, the main thing to keep in mind is to ensure your dog does not become overtired. Some dogs will naturally protect themselves from over-exertion by stopping when they’re tired, but others may push themselves to the point of exhaustion which can be dangerous when swimming. Keep water and food close by, and ensure your dog takes plenty of breaks.

A Note About Safety

Whether your dog is an experienced swimmer or a first-timer, you should always keep safety in mind. Never leave your dog unsupervised or lose sight of them when they are in the water, and ensure there’s an easy exit point available such as a gently sloping embankment, beach, or ramp. Be sure to teach your pup where these exit points are – they won’t always know on their own – and in a backyard pool, train them where and how to use the steps. In the open water, beware of fast moving currents, surf, and undertow.

It’s also a good idea to purchase a canine life vest, especially if your dog does not display the most natural aquatic ability. Your pup should always have a life vest on if you are not within reach of them. Dogs with shorter legs or a lower body fat percentage may have a more difficult time staying afloat and can especially benefit from the extra buoyancy a life jacket provides.

Just as swimming is an excellent way to get fit for humans, it’s also an amazing form of exercise, mental stimulation, and healing for our canine companions.

 

Written by Dr. James St. Clair

Here is a great article on the positive effects of canine hydrotherapy for mobility of Labradors suffering from elbow dysplasia.

Provided by:Society for Experimental Biology

Doggy paddles help dogs to stay on the move

July 6, 2016
A dog is held up in the water during a hydrotherapy session. Credit: Tate Preston

Canine hydrotherapy improves the mobility of Labradors suffering from elbow dysplasia. Not only this, it also positively affects the strides of healthy dogs, showing great potential as both a therapeutic tool and an effective way to keep your dog fit.

Watch this fantastic video.

Mobility is a huge issue for dogs suffering from forelimb lameness, affecting their ability to live a normal happy, doggy life. The most common cause of forelimb lameness is dysplasia, a genetic disorder that causes in the dog’s elbow. Some breeds of dog, Labradors and German Shepherds for example, are particularly susceptible to this condition.

Researchers at Hartpury University Centre, UK, Tate Preston and Dr Alison Wills, have discovered that hydrotherapy helps with movement in Labradors with elbow dysplasia. Dr Wills explains: “Dogs with elbow dysplasia displayed an increased range of motion, stride frequency and stride length—measures of mobility in our study—after the hydrotherapy.”

The benefits of hydrotherapy also extended to the healthy control group. “Interestingly, the healthy controls also showed significantly better stride characteristics,” says Dr Wills. “From the findings of this study, it does appear that swimming is good for dogs.”

So should everyone take their dog swimming? Dr Wills maintains a cautious approach to her exciting results: “It is hard to generalise the findings to the entire canine population due to the small sample size. Dogs also come in all shapes and sizes so what works for one may not for another. Even so, most dogs still find swimming fun!”

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-07-doggy-dogs.html#jCp

Wondering how spaying and neutering could be affecting your pets health?

Wonder why veterinarians are seeing more ACL injuries, especially in big dogs?  Why are they seeing less mammary gland (breast) and prostate cancers but MORE malignant cancers like lymphoma, osteosarcoma, and hemangiosarcoma?  Why are so many dogs overweight or obese and why is it so difficult for them to lose weight?  Why are they seeing more immune mediated disease?  Why are there more behavior problems instead of less with more dogs being spayed and neutered?  I’ve wondered these things for years and now I have an answer.  The early spays and neuters that were meant to improve the health of dogs, have actually lead to some negative consequences.  Please listen to this podcast by Radio Pet Lady Network and then have a conversation with your veterinarian.  You may be surprised to learn that he or she isn’t aware of any of these findings and that they haven’t changed any of their recommendations as far as spaying and neutering go. 

Kale Chips the Beagle Loses Weight By Swimming

Here at K9 Swim and Trim, we were fortunate enough to assist an 85lb Beagle named Kale Chips on his weight loss journey by using swimming. Swimming provided the much needed exercise and the support to his body to allow him to burn fat and become a healthy dog again. His transformation is really exciting to see and share.
You can read more on his story here.
Donate to helping Kale Chips here.
Join Kale Chips’ Journey to Good Heath here.
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Hourglass figures aren’t only for Marilyn Monroe and a goal for women everywhere: Your pet should have an hourglass figure too.

Most pets these days are overweight, even if many of their owners are in denial about it. Wondering how to tell if you pet is overweight?

“I don’t think pet owners truly appreciate how important it is to have their pet at a healthy weight,” says Ashley Gallagher, DVM, a veterinarian at Friendship Hospital for Animals in Washington, DC. “I think people don’t believe me or think I’m exaggerating when I tell them an animal’s obese.”

But pet owners should listen, since being overweight puts your dog or cat at risk of many diseases, not least of them diabetes, cardiovascular disease and arthritis.

And while your vet may diagnose an overweight or obese pet, it’s easy to determine for yourself, too.

TOOLS TO DETERMINE YOUR PET’S BODY CONDITION

The best way to determine whether a pet is obese is by using a system such as the body condition score, says Dr. Jim Dobies, a veterinarian with South Point Pet Hospital in Charlotte, N.C., and a member of the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association.

Body condition scores can be easily found online, where there are pictures of what your pet looks like and what his ideal body looks like. Most websites give scores of one to five or one to 10, and your pet’s physique should resemble a picture of an animal in the middle numbers.

But you can also assess your pet without them, Dr. Dobies says.

The best way is to stand above pets and look down on them. “You should be able to feel their ribs but not see them. If you can see them, they are too skinny,” Dr. Dobies explains. “If you can’t see their ribs, and place your hands on the side of their chest and still can’t, they’re overweight.”

Both dogs and cats should also have a nice taper at their waist (between the abdomen and where the hips go into the socket), he says. “If there is very little or none at all, they are too heavy and they’ll be oval shaped. They’ll be egg shaped rather than hourglass.”

And a very obese pet, he says, “will have a pendulous abdomen, hip fat, and neck fat, all of which are very noticeable.” But pets don’t usually reach this point of obesity until they’re aged at least seven, he adds.

There’s another way to tell if your pet is overweight, and that’s by using the new, science based Healthy Weight Protocol, which was created by Hill’s Pet Nutrition in conjunction with veterinary nutritionists at the University of Tennessee.

This tool is “brilliant,” says Hughes, who likes it because it’s objective.

How does the protocol work? A vet takes measurements — four for a dog and six for a cat — then inputs them into a computer. The computer then determines the animal’s body fat index. By comparing this with a chart, the vet can tell you exactly how much weight your pet needs to lose if it is overweight.

“It’s much more specific and scientific than me saying a pet looks like he should lose two to five pounds,” Hughes says. “With this, we can determine exactly how many pounds pets should lose and how many calories they need per day.”

If you’re going it alone with your pet’s weight loss — and Dr. Dobies does recommend that pets have a physical with their vet every six months — you can weigh your pet on a scale, if they are small enough, he says, and monitor the weight over time.

HELPING YOUR PET BURN THE EXTRA POUNDS

If a dog or cat is overweight, cut their food intake by 25 percent, Dr. Dobies advises, and increase their exercise level gradually day by day.

“Don’t leave it up to the dog,” he says, “but make sure he gets out on the leash. Gradually you want to build up to a 30-minute walk, twice a day.”

It’s harder to force cats to exercise, he adds, so play with them more if you can, with kitty toys or a laser pointer, for example. But also recognize that cats are at their most active when the sun is rising and setting, so if you can play with them during these hours, you’ll be most effective.

Dr. Dobies also cautions against letting your kitty lose weight too fast. Rapid weight loss can lead to fatty liver syndrome (hepatic lipidosis), which can cause her to go into liver failure.

Having your pet exercise may also mean you don’t have to reduce his food as significantly, especially as his endurance builds up — and maybe soon you’ll have an hourglass figure, too.

By Amanda Baltazar

 

Read more about valuable information about your pets nutrition here.  This site is authored by Jennifer Coates DVM.  Numerous topics are covered including food allergies, raw diets, and poisons and toxins.  Not just for dogs, but for cats and even birds.  There is current, reliable information about pet food recalls.

 

 

Listen to this podcast by the American Veterinarian Medical Association on Fat Cats and Pudgy Pooches.  Ernie Ward DVM is interviewed.  Dr. Ward is the author of Chowhounds and is the founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP).  He discusses the results of a national survey of the number of overweight and obese pets.  Find out about “fat pet gap” and whether you might be underestimating your pet’s Body Condition Score (BCS).  Dr. Ward stresses the dangers of obesity and offers practical advise about diet and exercise- the two things that K9 Swim & Trim is here to help you with!

Check out this video from the American Veterinarian Medical Association about Obesity and Your Pet.  This video supports K9 Swim & Trim’s philosophy that there is no one size fits all approach to dealing with obesity in pets.  Weight loss is a team goal with you,  your vet and us all working together to improve the quality and quantity of your pet’s life.

Check out this video from ABC Nightline about Doggy Fat Camp Video.  This is the 5:17 that launched the idea for K9 Swim& Trim!  Watch this and see if you don’t find yourself smiling at those happy, tail wagging, fat dogs!  The pool especially caught my eye.  I love water and swimming.  An in ground pool like the Morris Animal Inn’s would be a dream come true, but the more I researched, the more I was sold on an above ground pool with swim current.  The harness tethers you see in the video aren’t necessary when your dog is swimming in place against current!  Another difference is that you will see me in the pool with your dog, not staying dry on the deck.  The Fit Fur Life treadmill caught my eye too and after research, I discovered it was considered the Rolls Royce of animal treadmills.  If you have ever seen other dog treadmills, the difference is immediately clear.  The results after 2 weeks of doggy fat camp were impressive.  The owners were pleased, the dogs were more active and seemed comfortable with the new forms of exercise.  I was inspired!  I discovered there wasn’t a facility like The Morris Animal Inn in the Chicago suburbs.  I looked at the area pools for dogs that existed and found that the emphasis was on therapy for dogs after surgery or dogs with mobility issues.  What about the 52% of dogs who are overweight or the dogs who are fit and would like a “gym” to work out in?  The pools were mostly appointment only also.  I thought more dogs could take advantage of swimming or treadmill exercise if it was more convenient for the owner.  That’s when I started looking for a dog daycare with some extra space.  The Dog Spot was 8,000 SF and the owner, Lisa Dwyer, was eager to add new services to her clients.  K9 Swim & Trim, Inc. was officially born May 2013.  Come visit us if this video inspires you too!