Osteoarthritis Help for Your Amputee Dog

Jerry was our first dog, and even after his leg amputation in 2006, we knew zilch about canine rehabilitation (known as “physical therapy” in the human world). It’s only recently that we’ve become aware of this life-changing therapy, and we want to start sharing what we are learning with all of you.

Connecticut-based “Wizard of Paws,” Dr. Debbie Gross Saunders was brought to our attention by our friend, renowned dog behaviorist and trainer Sarah Wilson.

Dr. Saunders is a certified canine rehabilitation practitioner who is well regarded in the performance sports dog world. She is one of the founders of the first and only university based program in canine rehabilitation – University of Tennessee’s Canine Physical Rehabilitation Program. Along with her therapy services, she teaches  and has a variety of DVDs to help dog parents practice safe and effective therapy at home.

Dr. Saunders was kind enough to send us a copy of her newest video, “Osteoarthritis and Your Dog” for review.

Osteoarthritis and Your Dog: What it is, and How to Help

Osteoarthritis is a painful, degenerative condition that affects dogs of all ages. When one of these arthritic dogs is told that a spare leg  has to be amputated, pawrents agonize over the amputation decision more than others. They wonder:

Can a three legged, arthritic dog have a good life?

After watching Debbie’s video, we think that for most dogs, consistent therapy exercises like the one in Dr. Saunder’s video will go a long way in providing a great quality of life as a Tripawd.

The first half of the video will hit you with a lot of information. Be sure to have a notepad ready to take notes. Although we wished it had informational graphics to study, Dr. Saunders does a fantastic job conveying what we need to know about osteoarthritis if your dog receives an osteoarthritis diagnosis.

The rest of the video is an awesome instructional guide to performing canine massage and range-of-motion exercises at home. Dr. Saunders discusses why these exercises are important, and how to tell if you’re working your dog too hard.

She also gives tips to great therapy products that we like, such as Bella’s Pain Pack. Lastly, she kindly provides cost-saving ideas for making your own therapy exercise tools at home.

Catch a glimpse of “Osteoarthrits and Your Dog,” here on the Wizard of Paws You Tube Channel.

Tracy Snow-Cormier, pawrent to Tripawd Maggie, and Tripawds Supporter, is a fan of Dr. Saunders, and loves this DVD. Tracy says that  “I had an interest in Debbie’s new DVD because I have one of my dogs with start of arthritis in her wrists. I wanted to have a safe way to exercise and strengthen her, and know that I wasn’t going to do further damage to her wrists.”

About the DVD, Tracy says that

“The low cost to do most of her exercises for the dogs is great. From doing basic obedience flatwork to doing theraball work, to low cavaletti work. It is easy for someone to do the exercises with your arthritic dog with very little cost…with the exception of the treadmills!”

We think you’ll find “Osteoarthritis and Your Dog” just as informative and useful. If you order it on Debbie’s website, let us know what you think!

Surgery Drug Recall Warning for Ketamine, Possibly Butorphanol

Tripawd Codie Rae told us about a huge Federal Drug Administration (FDA) recall for the veterinary surgery drugs “ketamineand another rumored recall for the drug “butorphanol.”

Ketamine is used for everything from teeth cleaning, to amputation.

As many as five cats have died as a direct result of contaminated ketamine, but thus far, the ketamine recall has been completely botched by the FDA.

Much like the pet food recalls of previous years, this mishandling has resulted in mass confusion in the veterinary world over what specific dates, lots numbers, etc., are actually being recalled.

Thousands of vets might unknowingly have the contaminated versions in their practices.

The Veterinary Information Network, a resource for vets, wrote this article about the poor job the FDA has done with the recall.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the drug butorphanol is also rumored to be on the recall list, but the FDA hasn’t released anything about it.

For more details, you can read this article in the Pet Connections Blog. Also, this article in the San Francisco Chronicle discusses the recall, and specifics about the broken link of trust between veterinarians and the FDA. These reporters know more about it than we do, so be sure to read these articles.

Remember, anytime your animal companion is going to be anesthetized, always know what drugs will be used. When we read the book “Vet Confidential,” we learned some nasty things about ketamine:

“This drug, which is similar to PCP (also known as Angel Dust), causes allucinations, which I worry may be an alarming axperience to the animal.”

The author, Louise Murray DVM, says she limits the use of ketamine in all procedures, for this reason.

We encourage you to become informed by reading books like Vet Confidential, and getting the specifics about all aspects of your pet’s surgical treatments.

Thank You Dr. Lucroy!

Our recent Ask A Vet chat with Dr. Michael Lucroy was a big hit with Tripawds members! The discussion was informative and continues with this chat transcript topic in the forums.

Click to Enlarge Oncology Vet Chat with Dr. Michael LucroyMany thanks to Dr. Lucroy for providing some insightful answers and interesting ideas about the diagnosis and available treatments for canine cancer. Especially interesting to note was his discussion of NSAID use prior to amputation for cancer dogs…

‹oncovet› Starting on NSAIDs (Rimadyl, Deramaxx, Previcox, etc.) will make dogs with arthritis and early bone cancer more comfortable.  If bone cancer is there, using NSAIDs first simply delays diagnosis.

He also had some excellent advice for those dealing with possible spinal metastasis in their pups…

‹oncovet› Spinal metastasis do occur in osteosarcoma.  About 5% to 10% of dogs will have metastasis at diagnosis.  Almost all dogs develop them later.  The use of chemotherapy tends to increase the risk for bony metastasis.  In the spine, we generally have fewer surgical options, so we go for pain control.  That often means radiation therapy in combination with pamidronate or similar bisphosphonate drugs.

Other issues addressed included the use of Artemisinin and Metronomic therapy for fighting cancer and treatment options for subcutaneous metastasis, or subq mets. More information can be found in the transcript and Dr. Lucroy’s new book, The No Nonsense Guide to Cancer in Pets, or his veterinary oncology blog.

Stay tuned for the next live chat, or drop by to see if anyone is online now. You can usually find my pack hanging around the chat room most evenings but we can’t always be there, so schedule your own anytime!

Book Review: The No Nonsense Guide to Cancer in Pets

There have been a number of pawesome dog health books reviewed here at Tripawds, like Vet Confidential, Speaking for Spot, and the Dog Cancer Survival Guide.

Today, we are hoppy to announce our review of the very first book we’ve received that’s written by a board certified veterinary oncologist: The No Nonsense Guide to Cancer in Pets, by Dr. Michael D. Lucroy.

Recently featured in the Tripawds Downloads blog, The No Nonsense Guide is an easily understood, yet comprehensive look at everything a pawrent needs to know when they first learn their pet has cancer. This book will take you from Point A, where your vet suspects cancer, to Point B, by helping you determine how you want to treat it.

Take a minute to get grounded in the facts and download Dr. Lucroy’s 60-page e-book for $29.97. It’s a great starting point for talking with your veterinary professional, coping with what lies ahead, and learning the basics on any treatments that you choose to pursue.

Don’t Miss Live Chat With Dr. Michael D. Lucroy!

Come chat with Dr. Lucroy in the Tripawds Live Chat this Saturday, November 21 at 5:00 p.m. PST (8:00 Eastern). Members must be logged in to participate.

Dr. Lucroy provides basic cancer definitions for the layperson, outlines diagnosis procedures from least invasive to most, and gives an overview of all standard conventional treatment approaches. Dr. Lucroy doesn’t advocate for any one type of treatment or another, he just lays it on the line and explains the procedures, risks, side effects, and benefits.

In a neutral approach, he also educates readers on how to assess alternative and complimentary medical approaches, and discusses how you can find scientific evidence (if it exists) to back up alternative treatments that interest you. You’ll also learn how to effectively work with your conventional medical team, should you choose to pursue alternative and complimentary medicine for your Tripawd.

Dr. Michael Lucroy, DVM DSOne of our favorite chapters is “How? How Did My Dog or Cat Get Cancer?”, which discusses many of the risk factors that can cause cancer, which ones pawrents can do something about and which ones are out of our hands because of genetic predisposition, etc. The chapter can go a long way in alleviating the guilt that many of pawrents have felt, thinking we might have done something to cause the illness.

As a gift for purchasing the book, readers will receive a six-page bonus supplement of detailed questions about each kind of treatment, to ask your veterinary team.

A portion of the sales of each book will be donated to the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Foundation’s cancer research fund.

Dr. Lucroy is a practicing oncologist at the Veterinary Specialty Center in Indianapolis, Indiana, and was formerly Chief of Clinical Oncology at Purdue University. He completed his oncology residency at the University of California at Davis, is a graduate of Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine, and is a distinguished author, speaker and editorial board member of the American Journal of Veterinary Research and the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association. You can read his blog at http://oncodvm.blogspot.com

Cancer Survivors: Check Out Dr. Dressler’s Dog Cancer Blog

Dr Dressler Dog Cancer Guide BlogIf you don’t know already, there is this great blog dedicated to canine cancer, written by Demian Dressler, DVM, a veterinarian and owner of South Shore Veterinary Care in Maui, Hawaii. We don’t know how this busy doc finds the time to do it, but he frequently blogs about issues like radiation care, chemotherapy toxicity, and basic dog cancer terms that are incredibly helpful for pawrents coping with cancer.

Recently, Dr. Dressler published an e-book, “Information You Need: The Dog Cancer Survival Guide.” If his blog is any indication, this is sure to be a valuable resource for any pawrent finding themselves faced with a cancer diagnosis for their fur kid. His website says:

This full-length e-book separates the facts from the fiction and covers every possible option for your dog – from the traditional to the “far out”. Dr. Dressler guides you through chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, diets, lifestyle changes, mind-body medicine, and the latest cutting edge supplements … all scientifically proven to help support eradicating the signs and symptoms of cancer in your dog.”

Dr Dressler Dog Cancer GuideWe haven’t had the pleasure of reading it yet, but we hope to very soon. Meanwhile, if you decide to buy a copy, please let us know what you think. Watch Dr. Dressler’s video to find out more!

Kudos to Dr. Dressler, we applaud him for contributing to the availability of real-life dog cancer resources on the web!