How Physical Rehabilitation Helps Pets Recover & Live Fuller Lives

April 26th, 2017 by kevin

Veterinary physical rehabilitation is a medical field devoted to enhancing the recovery of a debilitated or injured animal. It involves an understanding of the pet’s metabolism and how the pet is affected by exercise, disease, and injury. It also requires an in-depth understanding of the healing process. Anytime an animal is sick or has been injured, the body undergoes a period of deconditioning. Humans also experience this after being sick or injured and it takes a while before we are able to be active again at a normal level.

The goals of any rehabilitation program are to:

  • Return the patient to prior function
  • Enhance healing
  • Prevent re-injury
  • Minimize pain

There has been a growing awareness of veterinary rehabilitation and how it benefits pets after surgery.  Studies have shown that patients who participated in a rehabilitation program had more improved postoperative outcomes compared to those who were placed only on cage rest or restricted to a walking program.

Rehabilitation programs can be developed for canine and feline patients for a variety of medical conditions, including:

  • Post-operative rehabilitation programs
  • Arthritis
  • Neurological disease
  • Soft tissue injuries (muscle and tendon)
  • Obesity

Rehabilitation programs typically include:

The first step to developing a rehabilitation regimen is to define the primary problem and all of the related issues. The speed of recovery is based on beginning with the correct diagnosis. Otherwise, primary problems can lead to secondary issues. For example, a problem with the stifle (back of the knee) can lead to muscle atrophy and hip and/or back pains. It’s also important to be aware of subtle signs of discomfort since pets are unable to communicate the source of their aches and pains.

Once all the problems are identified, the rehab program can be designed to assist the patient with recovery as well as any related problems. The regimen may include utilizing low-level laser therapy, neuromuscular electric stimulation, therapeutic exercises, or thermotherapy (cold or warm packs). Ultimately, enhancing a patient’s recovery also improves their overall quality of their life and enables them to be more active and responsive in their daily activities.

A big part of physical rehabilitation in animals is motivating them to participate. While humans can use reasoning to see the benefits, animal patients need positive reinforcement to create a positive rehabilitation experience. For example, a reward or treat given after each set of repetitions in a workout creates a positive mindset in the patient toward the rehabilitation program. At the same time, pet owners are more reassured and encouraged by seeing their pet being receptive to the treatment process.

To learn more about the Physical Rehabilitation & Sports Medicine Departments at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in Tinton Falls, NJ, please call (732) 747-3636.

Rodenticides Containing Bromethalin have Deadly Outcomes for Cats and Dogs

March 15th, 2017 by Red Bank Veterinary Hospital

Red Bank Veterinary Hospital has seen a recent increase in cats being accidentally poisoned by rodenticide. Medical diagnostics for these cats show damage to their nervous systems which is consistent with the reported effects of a type of rodenticide containing bromethalin. What makes this over-the-counter rodenticide even more dangerous is that there is no antidote, meaning there is no specific treatment designed to counteract the effects of the poison once it begins to affect the body. Read the rest of this entry »

Treating animals with acupuncture

September 26th, 2016 by Red Bank Veterinary Hospital

matisse-10-4-11-30While acupuncture may seem like a new age trend, it is an actually an ancient form of healing and disease prevention that is over 4000 years old. It was initially developed for humans but the ancient Chinese learned to apply acupuncture to animals such as dogs, horses, and cattle. Acupuncture can even be applied to many other species including cats, birds, rabbits, and even wildlife, with great success. Today, treating animals with acupuncture is becoming increasingly popular.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a form of medicine which encourages the body to heal itself. Fine, sterile needles are inserted into the skin and underlying tissues at specific locations called points. This process sends a signal to the nervous system telling the body to heal and return to normal function.

Acupuncture is best used in conjunction with other eastern modalities and western medicine. There is a synergistic, or added effect, when acupuncture is used with other services offered by your veterinarian such as medication, physical rehabilitation, and surgery.

Acupuncture is one of the many areas of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) that also include:
• Herbal therapies
• Food therapy
• Tui-Na

Applying acupuncture to animals

Acupuncture may be used for any condition whether chronic, acute, or atypical and can be used alone or in conjunction with Western medicine. It is often found to be helpful with:

• Musculoskeletal conditions: especially osteoarthritis or after a major surgery such as a TPLO or TTA which are knee surgeries very commonly performed on dogs.

• Neurological disease: such as disc disease in the neck or the back, even those that require surgery benefit greatly from acupuncture

• Gastrointestinal diseases: such as irritable bowl disease (IBD) and gastroesophgeal reflux disease (GERD)

• Behavioral troubles: such as anxiety and hyperactivity

• Side effects from chemotherapy: including nausea, vomiting and anorexia. While chemotherapy may be necessary regime to help treat your pet’s cancer, acupuncture can help with common side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and anorexia.

• General Wellness: acupuncture is a great form of preventive medicine. Incorporating it along with a yearly health exam, vaccinations, exercise, and a proper diet, pets can reap great benefits with regular acupuncture to maintain health.

Can acupuncture be harmful?

Acupuncture is very safe and there are no negative side effects when administered by a trained professional. Some possible contraindications include pregnancy (certain points should be avoided), open fractures, and extremely weak or debilitated animals. Placing needles close to tumors is also avoided.

How will my pet react to the needles?

Most animals do not mind the needles. Some of the acupuncture points may be sensitive, however, very few animals react negatively to the experience. Pets may choose to walk around during the session or lay down and relax. The needles stay in for approximately 15 minutes, and owners are always invited to watch and be part of the appointment.

Types of acupuncture

The insertion of small needles placed under the skin is sometimes referred to as
“dry needling”. However, acupuncture includes other variations:

In this form of acupuncture, needles are not used. Instead, a veterinarian applies gentle pressure to the areas where a needle would otherwise be inserted. This is beneficial for animals who may be extremely sensitive to the needling because of its very gentle and soothing nature. It can also be used with traditional acupuncture where needling is used to give additional benefits.

This incorporates a water-based solution, typically with a vitamin formulation, that is injected into the points where needles would otherwise be inserted. This can give a much longer-lasting version of the acupuncture treatment.

This is the most commonly used form of all acupuncture techniques. Once traditional acupuncture needles are placed, wires are attached to the needles and connected to an electro-acupuncture stimulation unit. The unit is controlled by your veterinarian and delivers a gentle electrical current to the needles. Most animals absolutely love electro-acupuncture! In fact, many fall asleep. This type of acupuncture is commonly used on people as well. The electrical current feels like a gentle tingling sensation that promotes relaxation and improves the potency of the treatment.

Your veterinarian will determine which form of acupuncture is most appropriate for your pet by taking into account your pet’s history and any current medical problems.

To learn more about veterinary acupuncture, visit the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society website, talk to your pet’s veterinarian, or call Red Bank Veterinary Hospital at (732) 747-3636 to make an appointment. You can also click here to view a list of our acupuncturists.

Getting to Know Your Pet’s Skin

August 12th, 2016 by Red Bank Veterinary Hospital

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 1.08.59 PMDo you know which organ is the largest one in the body? I’ll give you a hint: most people don’t think of me as an organ!

If you guessed the skin, give yourself a high five!

The skin is part of the integumentary system, the organ that provides the protective covering of a person or animal. For animals, this includes the skin, haircoat, scales, feathers, nails, horns, and hooves. Read the rest of this entry »

Warm Weather Tips for Exotic Pets

July 26th, 2016 by Red Bank Veterinary Hospital

When the weather turns nice, most pet owners like to bring their pets outdoors to enjoy the warm sunshine and pleasant breezes. This is also true for owners of birds, reptiles, and small mammals. Here are a few warm weather tips for exotic pets so everyone stays safe and healthy. Read the rest of this entry »

RBVH is now AAHA Specialty Accredited

July 21st, 2016 by Red Bank Veterinary Hospital

member_cover10Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in Tinton Falls has earned a new certification from the American Animal Hospital Association! We are now specialty accredited!

After much planning and preparation, in December 2015 we proudly achieved AAHA referral (specialty) accreditation! This is great news for patients and pet owners. Currently, there are only 150 veterinary referral practices who have earned this top honor!

Read the rest of this entry »

Getting to Know Your Pet’s Heart

June 3rd, 2016 by Red Bank Veterinary Hospital

HeartLub dub, lub dub, lub dub…
Do you know what that is? That’s the sound of me…your pet’s heart! And actually your heart too.

I am part of the cardiovascular system which includes me and all of the blood vessels in the body. Together, we form a circuit, or a loop, through which the blood travels around and around (but it never gets dizzy!). Read the rest of this entry »

Getting to Know Your Pet’s Kidneys

May 13th, 2016 by Red Bank Veterinary Hospital

HiResHi! In our last blog, you met me, Liver. I would now like to introduce you to my neighbors, Kidneys.

Thanks, Liver, there are 2 of us, Right Kidney and Left Kidney. We are also a vital organ for normal body function in dogs and cats.




Read the rest of this entry »

Getting to Know Your Pet’s Liver

May 4th, 2016 by Red Bank Veterinary Hospital

Hi! Nice to meet you!

You probably don’t think about me much but I’m an extremely important organ in the body called the liver.  Take a moment to get to know me!

Read the rest of this entry »

Wildlife Baby Season

April 25th, 2016 by Red Bank Veterinary Hospital

DeerAs the weather gets warm, New Jersey’s wildlife starts to quickly reappear. Birds are singing loudly and squirrels are chasing each other across lawns, which means baby season is just around the corner!

As you spend more time outside doing yard work or going on walks and hikes, you may come across wildlife that looks like it needs help. This is a great time for a reminder of when it is appropriate to intervene with wildlife and when Mother Nature should be left to her own devices. Read the rest of this entry »