My Dog can Walk Again!

My Dog can Walk Again!

By Dr. Ed Mapes
Stonebridge Animal Hospital
McKinney,Tx 75071

There is little more frustrating than watching an otherwise healthy and happy dog that is crippled with arthritic pain. Depicted are radiographs from a 12-year old Labrador retriever. When I first saw him in the examination room he was lying on the floor looking up at me while wagging his tail; the problem was the he could not get up or walk on his own.

This great dog’s rear legs were obviously atrophied and weakened due to lack of use. During our examination, he had a distinct proprioceptive deficit bilaterally – he couldn’t feel where his legs were placed – and the reflexes were greatly diminished.

He was on low doses of medication for pain and inflammation but they were ineffective; his condition had steadily worsened over the months and years until the point where rising and walking had become almost impossible for this fabulous dog.

This is unfortunately a situation we see all too commonly – nice dogs without other health problems stricken with pain that diminishes their quality of life. In past years we would have been forced to consider euthanasia when the discomfort became overwhelming or they simply could not walk at all. That’s not the case any more; now we can offer solutions that add years of quality life.

We dealt with two problems in this case; severe hip dysplasia (Figure 1) and a condition of the spine called spondylosis deformans (Figure 2).

Figure 1: Severe hip dysplasia

Figure 1: Severe hip dysplasia

Figure 2:  Spondylosis deformans

Figure 2: Spondylosis deformans

Both of these disorders cause pain and difficulty walking. Patients can also suffer from severe constipation, vomiting, and a loss of bladder control.

Modern veterinary medicine has two means of providing relief for these conditions: Laser therapy and stem cell regenerative medicine. We are thrilled with the results of both modalities in our patients, bringing pain under control for dozens of patients in just the past year.

We normally begin the laser therapy regimen with a series of six to eight treatments spaced approximately two days apart. This provides patients with enough pain/inflammation/swelling relief to bring their conditions under control. Most of our patients are then maintained on one session every three to four weeks.

In the above case, this patient returned for his fourth treatment walking on his own from the car into the hospital, across the tile floors, and into the exam room. He waited anxiously for a biscuit treat, and nuzzled close to me as I knelt to greet him. After his session he was able to get up on his own and was ready to head for the door. I don’t think his tail stopped wagging the whole time he was here!

After the initial set of laser therapy sessions –which take about five minutes each -most of our patients are sustained with one laser therapy session every three to four weeks. This is enough to relieve pain and allow for nervous transmission from the spinal cord to the rear legs. This helps them regain control over their legs and, and returns the strength necessary for walking.

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