CRCG Logo   
March 2013
We hope you like our new look!

It's March and Spring is officially on the way!  We decided to spruce up our look for the newsletter and we'll be rolling out an updated website this month, too.  Let us know what you think.
But, winter's not over yet, so we'll be hosting MountainMuttDogCoats in our Broomfield location on Saturday, March 16th from 1-4 p.m.  Protecting your dog in cold weather is especially important for senior dogs, compromised dogs (such as post-surgical or ill dogs), and dogs that aren't bred for cold climates.  Stop by for the demo and get your dog outfitted in Colorado style.
CRCG will be on-site at Denver Dog Sports on March 9-10 for the Launch Flyball Spring Tournament.  Stop by and say hello while you're checking out the facility and the flyball action.
A Success Story

Harley is a 5-year old boxer who presented 8 weeks after having TTA (correction for a cranial cruciate tear) surgery on both his knees. He had been doing well for 3 weeks after the surgery, then stopped using his hind limbs, particularly the right side and began to lose weight, muscle and fat. He was very protective of his rear legs and appeared to be painful. Examination revealed that he preferred walking on his front legs and was hesitant to put his rear legs on the ground. He was very painful in his spine, iliopsoas muscles, and his hips and knees. Initial therapy for Harley consisted of slow, short walks with emphasis on rear limb placement, massage, gentle active and passive stretching, and placement of his rear feet on the ground with scratching and weight shifting. After one week, Harley was placing his feet on the ground consistently and would rarely handstand. Harley began more advanced weight bearing and shifting exercises, and began to walk in the underwater treadmill to encourage a normal gait, weight bearing and to help rear limb strengthening. Within four weeks, Harley has come from barely using his rear limbs to walking, performing stairs, and he has regained his personality. He still is working on further weight bearing and strength, but is well on his way to recovery.

Winter Lameness


For clients with active dogs, the change of season from summer to winter only means a change in the type of activity, not a change in its quantity. Winter means recreational activities such as snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, bounding after family members on toboggans and sleds or simply changing the daily walk from sidewalks and grass to icy roads and snow. Constant activity on uneven or slippery surfaces of snow and ice, as well as contact with the sand and salt often used to treat roadways, can lead to lameness diagnostic challenges not typically found in other seasons. When both athletic canines and caretakers ignore early warning signs, more serious injuries occur.


While managing pain and inflammation is a critical part of lameness treatment, a thorough diagnosis of the injured tissue can allow for the development of a specific recovery treatment plan. Alleviating pain and inflammation is not the same as returning to full biomechanical function. A good diagnosis is just as imperative for the seemingly minor injury as it is for any other disease process.


Foot problems are probably one of the most common and easily overlooked causes of winter lameness. Snow buildup on the interdigital hairs can be prevented by spraying cooking oil or applying musher's wax to paws and pads. Irritation from sand or salt can be avoided by rinsing feet upon returning home. Irritation from excessive exercise on abrasive snow or ice can be prevented with the use of booties, although caution must be exercised with fitting the bootie around the dewclaw. Non-infected pad cuts, cracking or worn areas can be treated by attaching moleskin with superglue to the affected area and the use of musher's wax or calendula cream.


Muscle strains can happen any time a dog runs, plays, or works on slippery surfaces of variable hardness. A weekend warrior pug or elderly but enthusiastic cattle dog playing on a berm of freshly shoveled snow will have the same stresses to soft tissue as an avalanche dog searching on the toe of a slide. In dogs without core strength, slipping on ice and snow can lead to moderate strains of propulsion and support muscles such as the quads, hamstrings, biceps (both brachialis and femoris), gracilis and triceps. Older dogs with arthritis, osteoarthritis of limb joints, or changes in spinal architecture will be particularly susceptible to muscle injury due to an inability to respond to sudden balance loss. An appropriate diagnosis can be done with gait analysis, digital palpation, joint range of motion and stress testing radiographs will be unremarkable with soft tissue injuries. Thermal imaging is an excellent tool for localizing the inflammatory or painful area; then the type of injury can be verified with ultrasonography.


Ligament and tendon injuries are common in the active winter canine athlete. Dogs can strain medial and lateral collateral ligaments of any joint with the sudden, twisting and shearing that can happen with slips and falls. The repetitive stress of walking or running on uneven snow or constantly tripping on the heels of cross-country skis or snowshoes can cause injuries to the collateral ligaments and flexor tendons of digits and carpi. A single hind foot punching through crusty snow can injure an Achilles tendon. Again, older animals with previously existing joint or spinal compromises will be more susceptible to injury.


Walking or running on ice or leaping on uneven snow piles can also lead to one-time or repetitive stress to joints, especially those of the lower limbs. Carpitis, tarsitis and phalangitis are common causes of vague and minor lameness in the winter. Keeping toenails short is critical for preventing digital and lower limb sprains.


The basic human sports medicine treatments of rest, ice and compression may be all that is needed to successfully help the active lame canine, if they're used swiftly. Cold laser, homeopathic remedies, topical liniments (if they can't be licked off), acupuncture and oral herbal formulas can also speed up recovery times. Early in injury, soft tissue therapies such as massage, Shiatsu and Tui na can be very beneficial.


Article excerpted from the Integrative Veterinary Care Journal issue V3I1
Monthly Special
Help us get to 1000 likes and win good stuff

Like us on Facebook and you could win free stuff.  If you already like us on Facebook, tell your friends to like us.  When we reach 1000 likes in the month of March, we'll do a random drawing for a 3-month swim pass (or the equivalent in rehabilitation services).
Englewood | Broomfield | Longmont
Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter