Lameness and Sports Medicine at Wilmington Animal Hospital

What is unique about a lameness exam at Wilmington Animal Hospital?
A lameness exam involves detailed evaluation of movement of your pet and comfort of their bones, muscles and joints.  This type of exam includes gait analysis as well as detailed palpation of the bones, joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments.  At Wilmington Animal Hospital, Dr. Kristin Jankowski is certified in canine rehabilitation (CCRP), and this has provided her with advanced training in these areas to better help your pet.  To learn more about what’s involved in this certification check out http://ccrp.utvetce.com.  If your pet is stiff or limping, chronically or acutely, please call to schedule a thorough exam with Dr. Kristin Jankowski.

How can I tell if my pet may be in pain because of arthritis?
If your pet is slow to rise from a seated or laying down position, has difficulty doing stairs or jumping up onto or off of a bed, those could be signs of arthritis pain. Your pet may also start to have a change in the way they sit indicating reduced range of motion of the joints, especially hips and knees. 

What can be done to control pain once a diagnosis for the cause of lameness is made?
The treatment options for lameness will vary greatly depending on the diagnosis made, but could include a combination of methods for pain control including heat, ice, joint supplements, massage, support braces, manual therapies, laser therapy, Adequan injections or oral pain medications among others.  Once pain is controlled, then we start working on a strengthening or conditioning plan to help prevent recurrence of injury or initiation of the pain cycle.  The treatment plan could also include referral for aquatic therapy (such as underwater treadmill or swimming) or acupuncture.

My agility dog is knocking bars during practice runs and at trials but is not lame. What does that mean?
Agility dogs will often exhibit performance changes with subtle soft tissue injuries such as muscle or tendon strains.  With a complete exam, issues like acute or chronic iliopsoas strain or biceps tenosynovitis can be detected.  A full orthopedic and muscular exam should be done.  Treatment options will be discussed and may include specific methods for pain relief, muscle strengthening, or plans to increase flexibility and balance.

What about cats?  My 15 year old kitty just doesn’t move the same way and can’t jump up on my bed anymore.  Is there anything I can do?
Yes!  Kitty owners will often become aware of a “stilted” or less “fluid” way of movement with their furry friends.  This may indicate the presence of arthritis of the hips, spine or stifles (knees).  There are safe treatment options for the felines such as laser therapy, Adequan injections or use of heat for their sore joints.  There are also ways to modify their environment to make for easier maneuvering.