Making sure your dog stays in tip top shape allows them to maximize their mobility, physical fitness, and expend their energy potentially reducing undesired behaviours, anxiety, and stress. Injury or degenerative conditions that affect mobility can be devastating to an owner and impact the pet's mobility, behaviour, and quality of life.
Traumatic and chronic injury prevention are equally important. Early recognition of degenerative conditions combined with early intervention can slow progression and maximize the mobility and longevity of your pet.
Traumatic or Acute Injuries: Occur suddenly and may improve or increase in severity
Chronic Injury: Can be cumulative with repeated trauma or overuse and can plateau (stabilize) or be progressive
Degenerative Conditions:Develop over time and are progressive
During mobility examinations patient history combined with physical examination often reveal factors that contributed to an injury or observations that indicated early degenerative disease. Trending owner observation and objective measurements are an excellent way to monitor a pet for changes in mobility, fitness, pain, body condition, and proprioception (awareness of body in space.) Noting subtle changes and early recognition can lead to early intervention and prevention of progression or injury.
#VetRehabGirl's Top 5 Ways To Be a DAILY #PetMobility #WatchDog
Hands On Your Dog: Feeling your dogs muscles and joints daily allows you to know what is 'normal' for your dog and allows for early recognition of swelling, heat, pain, and changes in musculature including asymmetry. It also allows you to be the first to find abnormal lumps and bumps and is a great way to help your dog become comfortable being handled for veterinary examinations.
Watch Them Walk and Trot: Watching your dog walk and trot freely allows you to observe gait abnormalities and changes and reduce activity if needed until your dog is able to have a mobility examination with their veterinarian.
Transitions: Lying Down -> Sit -> Stand -> Sit -> Lying Down Daily core exercises including transitions from lying down to sit to stand and back to sit then lying down allow you to observe your dog for indications of joint health and mobility issues, pain, reduction in strength, and decreased proprioception. To improve the validity of your observations perform these activities on the same safe surface that provides traction for your dog.
Dietary and Water Intake: Changes in appetite and water intake can be early indicators of disease or pain. Trending food and water intake can be valuable information should your dog become ill or injured.
Urine and Fecal Output and Posture: Changes in urine and fecal frequency and output can be early indications of disease, infection, or parasites. From a mobility perspective changes in or weakness in posturing to urinate or defecate can indicate joint health issues, pain, lack of strength, or decreased proprioception. "Watch, stoop, and scoop" is the #VetRehabGirl way!
#VetRehabGirl's Top 5 Ways To Be a MONTHLY #PetMobility #WatchDog
Weigh In and Body Condition Score: Monthly visits to your veterinarian to weigh in and have a treat are an excellent way to trend your pet's weight and develop a positive relationship between your pet and their healthcare team. Learning to body condition score your dog is a valuable tool. Stay tuned for a future #VetRehabGirl Blog Post about Morphometric Measurements in Dogs and Cats to determine body fat percentage, ideal weight and kilocalorie requirements/day.
Measuring Muscle Mass: Using a soft measuring tape or Guillick II (calibrated measuring tape) you can measure chest musculature, front limb muscle mass, shoulder width, thigh girth, etc and trend losses, gains, and asymmetry.
Core Exercise Video: Working with a Veterinary Physical Rehabilitation and Fitness Professional will develop a core workout routine for your dog. Recording this routine monthly and comparing ability, progress, and changes is an excellent way to evaluate your dog and show your veterinarian changes you have observed. Don't have access to a Veterinary Physical Rehabilitation and Fitness Professional? Looking for core exercise recommendations? #VetRehabGirl confidently recommends TotoFit LLC and The TotoFit 6 Week Challenge.
Gait Analysis Video: Recording your dog moving freely at the walk and trot on and off leash (if appropriate) will allow you to compare their gait and note changes and abnormalities and show your veterinarian. For more information about canine gaits click here.
Check Nails: Nail scuffing and uneven wear can be indicative of mobility issues or degenerative disease. Monthly nail checks and trims keep your pet moving at their best!
Watch Jenn's Mentor and Colleague, Dr. Leslie Woodcock explain the importance of nail trims and how to maximize mobility through this nail trimming technique.
Uh-Oh! There's been a change?
If you are trending your dog's mobility, fitness, pain, body condition and proprioception you are prepared to share your documentation and observations with your veterinarian or veterinary physical rehabilitation and fitness professional who can guide you to formulate the best plan of care, rehabilitation program, or seek the appropriate diagnostics or specialist referral for your dog. By being a #PetMobility #WatchDog you are well on your way to early detection of, early intervention for, and prevention of mobility impacting disease and injury.
Your partner in pet mobility, rehabilitation, fitness and veterinary rehabilitation education,