What’s Ask-A-Vet Series?
Ask-A-Vet is a feature that aims to build our knowledge about the well-being and care of our pets. Each month, we will feature veterinary experts who will be sharing their knowledge pertaining to specific themes.
Keep a lookout for the Ask-A-Vet Series and feel free to raise your questions to the experts on PetExpo Facebook or Instagram. Follow us at @PetExpoSG.
Selected questions and responses will be shared here.
Rehabilitation & Preventive
The welfare and health of our pets are a constant concern for most of us. As such, we have Dr Sara Lam from RehabVet to answer your questions on how you can improve your pets’ mobility and care as they age.
Dr Sara Lam
Dr Sara Lam from RehabVet clinic is a certified rehabilitation veterinarian and acupuncturist. She has a special interest in Hyperbaric Oxygen Medicine. In order to improve our pets’ health and lifespan, not only does she focus on treatment alone, she also emphasizes on preventative, regenerative and palliative aspects of veterinary medicine.
To prevent wear and tear of the joint, we need to ensure there is good musculature. Once their muscles are strong, it is ok to jump up and down. Some of the exercises that can be done at home include 3-legged stance to strengthen each leg, alternate leg raise to build the core, sit and up continuously 10 times to build hind leg muscles.
In terms of food, I would recommend a complete and balanced fresh cooked food. There are a few local brands that have already been pre-packed for you. There are also websites formulated by veterinary nutritionist, you just need to put in the type of food substances and a recipe of a complete and balanced meal will be generated.
For supplements, always ensure that the food is fresh and supplement with omega 3, antioxidants. Joint supplements such as glucosamine, chrondroitin, collagen type 2, curcumin are all essential for protecting the joints.
Some of the common signs of pain include changing of behaviours such as hiding in the corner, sleeping more, unable to finish their food or the need to be hand-fed, walking/sitting in a funny way, unable to walk up/down the stairs/couch/car, stop barking (if they used to bark a lot), less interactive with your calling.
For dogs with hip dysplasia, they have a low energy level compared to other dogs with the same age; when they sit, they usually have their hind legs splayed out instead of tucking them in; when they run, you can see that they bunny hop instead of taking off one leg at a time.
For dogs with patellar luxation, they stick out their problematic leg, unable to tuck it in due to tight quadriceps. Sometimes they would hide the leg that is painful, lying down on their side to protect it from anyone touching it. When running, sometimes if the patella gets stuck, they would lift up their leg and go back to normal only after a while.
The best way to slow down/treat luxating patella is to train their abductors by doing side walking as well as training the gluts, hamstrings and quadriceps by doing sit and up exercises. Do it for 15 sets and 3 repetitions daily and you will see tremendous improvement. Grade 1-3 can be reversed with daily exercises!
We can prevent arthritis in a few ways:
- Weight management
- Good quality joint supplements
- Daily moderate low impact exercise
You can strengthen their core by lifting one leg at a time, we call it 3-legged stance. If your dog can hold it for more than 30 seconds in each leg, you can pick up alternate legs, it is called the superman pose, just like what we do in Pilates! Another good way to strengthen the core muscles is swimming.
There are 2 stages:
Stage 1: Pain relief at home: you can apply heat packs for 15 mins twice daily on the lower back and hind leg muscles to improve circulation and relax muscle tension. After that, you can perform passive range of motion for each joint, 15 times and repeat for 3 reps every day and you can also massage each muscle belly in a circular motion with your thumb.
Stage 2: Strengthening: simple home exercises include 3-legged stance (hold up each leg for up to 60 seconds), sit and up stand (continuously for 15 times) and cookie stretch (use a treat to lure the dog’s head to the left, right up and down).
Swimming is a good way to maintain muscle strength, but you need to make sure your dog’s hip extension is not restricted.
To ensure that the dog is pain-free from hip dysplasia, the best way to correct their posture and strengthen the hind legs is the sit and stand exercises. Ensure legs are tucked in when seated. This exercise should be carried out 15 times and 3 repetitions on a daily basis.
I would not recommend a raw diet to a growing puppy. I have seen puppies develop joint issues due to over-nutrition. I would recommend a complete and balanced cooked diet formulated by a certified veterinary nutritionist. You can start supplementing with astaxanthin as a super antioxidant, good quality omega 3, glucosamine and chrondroitin.
Congratulations to the winners of Ask-A-Vet Series #2!
Selected winners walk away with a 30-min Wellness & Preventive Consultation by RehabVet worth $90. A special thanks to RehabVet for the sponsorship. PetExpo Team will be contacting the winners, so keep a lookout on your Facebook or Instagram’s personal message.
RehabVet is the first animal rehabilitation-focused veterinary clinic in Singapore, founded in 2016. We offer a wide arrays of clinically proven services to help your pets to relieve pain and regain mobility. Other than rehabilitation we also provide Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Customized Weight Loss Program and Recipe, Palliative Care for Cancer Patients and etc.