2022 has been an incredible year of learning, growing and community. Together we have learnt to work towards excellence above perfection and growth above striving. There has been so much to celebrate and there is so much to look back on as we take time at the end of the year to connect with our loved ones, rest and regenerate!
As we look back over the last year, there are a few blogs that really stand out as my favorites. I would love to share a few of them with you here.
Three of our favourite general rehabilitation blogs
Palpation: Our Most Reliable Outcome Measure?
In the never-ending search for reliable outcome measures, are we overlooking our most valuable, reliable and repeatable measure – manual palpation? A recent research article made me question the value I placed on this tool, and the ways in which we could increase its usefulness as a repeatable outcome measure for patients.
Manual palpation has been shown to be reliable, repeatable and clinically practical, even when compared to mechanical outcome measures such as pressure algometry or FlexiForce Sensors. The use of a detailed and comprehensive scale increases its accuracy.
We love to look for tools to improve our efficacy, but what if our most effective tool needs only to be effectively measured?
Goniometry and Passive Range of Motion: The Importance of the Individual
The large variation in body type, conformation and size in our canine patients makes it necessary for us to treat each dog as an individual when assessing outcome measurements such as passive range of motion, as measured with goniometry.
Significant variations from the norm occur among dogs of different body types, breeds and sizes. Understanding these variations can help us to evaluate the normal or pathological state of our patients more accurately.
Let’s discuss the literature and variations in measurements found in different breeds and types of dogs.
How Nutrition Impacts Rehabilitation in Canine Patients
Nutrition and gut health can have a profound impact on the body’s ability to heal, and a body that is healing can cause stress and dysbiosis within the gut, leading to dysfunction and breakdowns in other areas and systems of the body. Over a four-week period, Lisa Hannaby has been lecturing on nutrition, discussing the impact of stress, healing, immunity, the microbiome and much more on our patients.
The health of the gut and its ability to absorb nutrients optimally is an integral part of almost every system in the body, including healing, inflammation and performance.
Today I share a few highlights from this fascinating four-part webinar.
Three of our favourite small animal blogs
Puppy Exercise Considerations From a Vetrehabber’s Perspective
The question of puppy exercise – how much, when, where, what and how – comes up every time there is a new puppy that crosses our radar! And the answer is not necessarily a straightforward and simple one, as there are many factors to consider from our perspective as Vetrehabbers.
As puppies grow and develop, we want to ensure that we stimulate their minds and bodies at the appropriate times, and in the appropriate amounts, to ensure optimal development and adult performance. We also want to minimise the risk of injury and the development of degenerative orthopaedic conditions in the growing or adult dog.
Let’s discuss a few considerations and guidelines that we can bring up with clients, and some of the activities we might advise them to engage in.
If you would like to share this information with your clients in a visually appealing and easy-to-understand format, download our poster and information leaflet here.
Cranial cruciate ligament rupture and its surgical correction is one of the most common reasons we see patients as Vetrehabbers. Being aware of the possible complications that may result from this surgical procedure can help us to more effectively rehabilitate our patients.
CCLR complications are best discussed in relation to the specific surgical procedure performed since procedures vary and different implications arise from each. There are also specific complications in relation to cats, to rehabilitation and to the use of braces.
Below is a brief summary of our interview with Dr David Dycus, who discusses the common complications of CCLR surgery.
Wiggleless Back Braces to Support Dogs with Neurological Deficiencies
Earlier this year, Sarah MacKeigan from Living with Dogs with Disabilities interviewed both Ben Blecha from Wiggleless Braces and Carrie Adrian on the use of back braces to support and encourage mobility. Their discussion was fascinating, touching on discussion points such as spinal traction, muscle fatigue, compensatory and secondary pain and injury, as well as specific pathologies such as IVDD and DM in canines.
Neurological deficiencies or pathologies can lead to a significant reduction in control of mobility in dogs, which can have far-reaching detrimental effects. Wiggleless back braces can be used to support, stabilise and encourage appropriate movement or mobility in dogs with spinal pathologies, such as intervertebral disk disease or degenerative myelopathy.
Continue reading for a condensed summary of their lengthy discussion, as it relates to us as canine rehabilitation therapists.
Three of our favourite equine blogs
The Myofascial Connections of the Equine
We know and understand in an intellectual way that the entire body is connected; that there are close direct connections as well as indirect connections between the different structures and systems of the body. But do we really understand the impact of specific connections between body systems, and how we can influence them and use them to our patients’ advantage during rehabilitation?
Understanding the superficial and deep myofascial connections within the equine body can help us to more effectively rehabilitate the whole body, including the digestive system and organs, the nervous system and the musculoskeletal systems.
Let’s discuss a few of the intricate connections between the somatic and visceral systems of the equine body.
Overlooked Pathways of communication: Equine Neuroplasticity and Neurodynamics
Over the course of four weeks, Amie Hesbach and Gillian Tabor took us on a journey of understanding neuroplasticity and neurodynamics, and the ways in which they can be applied to the equine patient – every equine patient.
Any injury in equines or canines, whether orthopaedic or neurological in nature, will result in changes in the nervous system, both peripherally at the site of the injury and within the spinal cord and brain. There are a variety of ways in which we can address these changes to the nervous system as vet rehab therapists and physiotherapists to ensure full rehabilitation.
Below, I share a few of the most prominent points discussed during the course of our webinar series on Equine Neurodynamics.
Removing the Boundaries from our Perceptions of Fascia
During one of our 2021 webinar series, we have had four incredible lectures from author, physiotherapist and Vetrehabber Tuulia Luomala, who has found her passion in the exploration, understanding and teaching of the fascia.
If you remember the series, I am sure that, like me, you walked away from it with a change of perspective, a new tint to your glasses, and adjustments made to the way you clinically reason through the connections you find in the evaluation and treatment of every patient that passes through your hands and mind. And if you are anything like me, then you also need a little bit of a reminder right about now, on some of the main points that were covered during that series.
Here are some of the real highlights for me from this series of webinars.
Three of our favourite Hydrotherapy blogs of all time
Why your Amputee Needs a Hydrotherapist
When your best friend needs an amputation, it can be an emotionally challenging decision to make as a family. When you have no choice and the amputation needs to be performed suddenly, it can be even more difficult to deal with.
However, amputations are often lifesaving procedures and they may give your best friend many more years with a fantastic quality of life. And that is what I want to highlight for you in this article.
The Tendencies and Challenges of different Breed Types during Hydrotherapy
~ “Thanks to Angela Griffiths from Greyfriars for her valuable input and photographs for this blog”
All dogs can swim? I certainly believed that all dogs could swim, until the day I saw a young dog in the water, thrashing about with the forelimbs, head held as high as possible out of the water, and the hind end sunk, nowhere to be seen – a recipe for drowning, as he wasn’t able to propel himself forward or lift his hind end back up, and would doubtless fatigue very quickly at the rate he was going.
For an owner, this can be a shocking and terrifying experience, not to mention surprising, as it’s the last thing we generally expect. As hydrotherapists, we usually see these dogs only after they have had such a near-drowning experience, which can be traumatic and difficult to overcome.
While there are certain breeds that have been bred to work in the water, even within these breeds we see individuals that defy the norm and need some help learning how to negotiate the water. Angela Griffiths shares her experience of this interesting fact, as indicated by “a few litters of UK customs dogs, including English springer spaniels and Labrador retrievers, that have came to Greyfriars to learn to swim. Two out of the seven pups in these litters did not naturally swim.
Understanding Swimmers Syndrome
Thank you to Angela Griffiths and Greyfriars for their valuable input on swimmers syndrome and these included images.
Swimmers syndrome is a poorly understood, poorly characterized disease that affects puppies and kittens. It is usually noticed 15 to 21 days after birth when the difference between an affected puppy or kitten and its litter mates becomes apparent. It will usually affect one animal in a litter but has been reported to affect a whole litter in some cases (Dumon, 2005).
Most of us will rarely see swimmers syndrome; it tends to be a once- or twice-a-career event. Nonetheless, it is a good idea to have at least an idea of what to expect, and how to treat this unusual condition. Angela Griffiths and the team at Greyfriars have treated two puppies with swimmers syndrome recently, and share their story in this month’s Hydro Case Study. After watching it, I decided to get a better understanding of the condition – hence this blog.