Conservative management is not just for someone who cannot afford surgery.  Some animals may not respond well to surgery or anaesthesia due to age, allergies, or existing health conditions.

You can download this as a PDF here.

Non slip mats. When their legs slip out to the sides it can damage the muscles on the inner thighs-which they also need for stabilisation.  Animals need a surface where they can get good traction, especially around corners.  Places they change direction are a great place for non slip mats.

Bodywork techniques. This includes Bowen therapy, massage, acupressure, acupuncture, Emmett Technique, laser therapy, physiotherapy, chiropractic work-anything that works on the joints, muscles or trigger points throughout the body. There have also been good results with aromatherapy and energy work.

Analgesia. You can choose tablet form or get steroidal or non-steroidal injections to help with joint pain. These can have a negative effect on the digestive system, liver, or kidneys.  Some may require regular blood work to ensure they are within the therapeutic range.  Ensure you follow your prescribing vet’s advice.

Appropriate exercise.  Swimming or hydrotherapy is a great exercise style to take the weight off joints, and still exercise the muscles. Controlled on lead exercise can also keep muscles and joints mobile-10 minutes three times a day is better for sore joints than 30 minutes once a day.

Wheelchair. Some animals may not recover from paralysis, or their condition may degenerate to the point where they will benefit from a wheelchair.

Supportive bed. Different health conditions and individual preferences will determine this. It can mean a soft bed, or a hard bed, even a bed with no edges to climb over may make all the difference in your animal’s comfort.

Ramps for use. Jumping up and down from the car and couches is often easy for a young or healthy animal. As they get older or their condition worsens, you can help reduce injuries and improve comfort by installing ramps or stairs-non slip is safer.

Diet and supplements. Maintaining a healthy weight is important, as extra stress on already damaged or sore joints will make their condition worse. There are specially designed foods for weight management, bad joints, bad teeth, older animals, and others.  Consider supplements such as glucosamine, green lipped muscle, shark cartilage-there are many, your vet can help point you in the right direction.

A brace. These can help stabilise weak or loose joints.  Many animals no longer limp when fitted with this type of support.  They are minimally invasive and can be used while exercising, just when limping, or all day.

Hot or cold packs. Much like us, animal’s muscles and joints are affected by the weather.  Heat packs in winter, cool packs in summer, and bedding that can be heated or cooled are also a great comfort management tool.

Once you have received advice from a vet, contact us to start a treatment plan.

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Donna Monaghan

Canine Mobility Specialist

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