Adjusting Zeus…moving good afterwards
As we age, our joints and muscles continue to need motion to maintain their balance and motion. True for animals too. When your dog and cat (or other pets) begin to reach those golden years, daily exercise is even more important in some ways.
Joints begin to stiffen somewhat with arthritic type changes and that limits the amount and comfortableness of the joints in question. In dogs, it is very common to see that stiffness upon getting up first thing in the morning, after lying for the day, after too much vigorous activity. Like the rusty hinge we all know about, after we get things moving, they move easier and with less resistance.
The joints involved in motion are called facet joints (in the spine) and these are a type of hyaline joints (as with knee, shoulder, hip joints). This hyaline cartilage in its healthy state is smooth, almost slick, and has fluid producing capability that lubricates those joints. As joints age, the ability to self lubricate decreases and the hyaline cartilage changes its sliding ability (friction increases, elasticity of tissues decreases) and as that particular joint spacing narrows, the stiffness shows up. The bony areas rely on motion to maintain calcium uptake. The hyaline joints require movement to help with the lubrication aspect. The intervertebral disc need motion to get any sort of blood flow going to them.
So how much is too much? GOOD QUESTION!! Each dog is different and “too much” often relates to their history of previous injury, breed specific type of arthritic tendencies, and the kind of exercise. An animal with neck problems due to injury or overuse, is likely to have some discomfort if their exercise regiment involves jumping down off of high areas. The dachshund or beagle that has those disc tendencies (short legs, long back, short to the ground) it helps to have exercise that keeps the abdominals strong – working on exercise peanuts, swimming, digging with the head lower than the tail. Larger dogs like german shepherds or golden retrievers tend to have those low back, pelvis and hip imbalances in general so they can benefit from most exercise.
Lots of breeds have knee injuries and the stop/start fast movements can irritate those dogs.
An animal is also neurologically primed for specific actions. The golden retriever and black labs want to chase, grab, and retrieve. The pointer and other bird dogs thrive on stalking, and finding ground birds. The beagle puts its nose to the ground and and does not even hear their commands because their neurology takes over. All dogs have things that are satisfying to them and knowing your breed and allowing them to do what that breed is designed for is so important. We could talk about Jack Russells too but that would take a bit longer. Digging and jumping come to mind as well as lots of other things……and for these little guys, they are very smart and need challenging things to figure out.
So your pet can be the daily exercise you need. Be sure to find a safe place to allow them to run at times, retrieve things if it is not a problem with knees, smell, jump (within reason) and do those things that they do automatically. Their genetic tendencies are always there.
Check with your veterinarian to discuss your breed or mixes of your breed and their natural tendencies and try to provide some of what they love doing if left to themselves.
Enjoy daily walks, runs, and swims with your animals. They will help to keep you motivated…
Actually, the initials are PST which stands for Pulsed Signal Therapy. This technology has been used extensively on humans and is now available for dogs, cats, and other small animals. It is a therapy that significantly helps joint pain, joint and muscle tenderness, painful motion, joint inflammation and helps improve mobility, sleep and general activities of daily living (paraphrased from pstvet brochure).
All I can say is the dogs that Dr. Tami Shearer sees, love this treatment and benefit from it greatly. Dr. Shearer specializes in treating and caring for animals in chronic pain. Shearer Pet Health Hospital in Sylva, NC gets referrals from around the area for her special treatment of these pets. PST is a non-invasive therapy that assists new bone and cartilage growth as well as the benefits listed above. It is an honor for me to work with Dr. Tami monthly at her clinic providing chiropractic care for the same population of animals.
So what is PST? The device emits pulsed signals (very comfortable to your pet) while the animal lies and rests. It is non-surgical and painless therapy that has no documented side effects. We use this treatment as an effective alternative to NSAIDs (anti-inflammatory drugs) and analgesics (pain relievers) and it bypasses possible side effects of these drugs.
I use a form of PST called PEMF (pulsed electromagnetic force) with patients at my human office and with horses and dogs as well. It is a slightly different device with the same benefits as PST. A bit easier to use with humans. My personal experience is amazing improvement with pain level and function of my knee in which I tore the ACL completely (chronic) and injured the medial meniscus (acute). [I then was able to exercise and strengthen the surrounding muscles because of reduction in pain level]. When used with horses the changes in range of motion and decreased pain in an area is dramatic.