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Prolotherapy

Prolotherapy is a method of treatment for painful orthopedic conditions. It involves the injection of affected ligaments at their attachments to the bone as well the area of trauma, and around joints when appropriate. These therapeutic injections have been used in human medicine in our country since the mid 1950’s. The main goal of the therapy is to strengthen connective tissues and help aid in support where ligaments are weak or loose. It is considered an alternative therapy though it fits in very well with accepted Western medical treatments.

When connective tissue is injured, very often the healing to that area is incomplete. These tissues do not tend to have a large blood supply and though they are given diagnoses which may indicate inflammation (i.e.”itis” ), the tissues so often go into a more chronic pattern of partial healing and the acute inflammatory process is either cut short through the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication or through the process of exhaustion of cells that lay down new connective tissue in the area of the injury.

Strengthening connective tissue, is achieved through using a “cocktail” of certain injectable compounds which cause a strong inflammatory response, have pain blocking effects, and help manipulate the cell membrane to stimulate healing effects. The inflammatory response we get from such an injection can activate new cells (fibrobolasts) down to the stem cell level. This results in the body producing more normal and stronger connective tissue in an injury versus an area that has healed through scarring. Scarred tissue is often weaker, allows more excessive movement and often results in local pain and activation of other pain pathways through reflexes with the brain.

In veterinary medicine, prolotherapy is considered quite appropriate for many conditions. It can help with the pain associated with chronic hip dysplasia, anterior cruciate ligament strain (in the knee), back pain, chronic sprains, tendon lacerations and more. In some situations, it may be more appropriate than major surgery. Though a pet may experience a few days of increased pain after the injections, the overall healing curve is usually fantastic given the animal is rested allowing the repairing connective tissue to fully heal. In addition to the prolo injections which come in a series tailored to each pet, nutritional support through diet change, supplements, herbals, homeopathic remedies and osteopathic methods of manipulation are helpful to address underlying weaknesses that may have led to the injury.

If your pet is injured or shows evidence of aching joints, come see us! We would love to help!

Feline Resorptive Lesions

Have you looked at your cat’s teeth recently? You might think your cat’s mouth is just fine, but in reality, there could be hidden disease (especially if your cat is over 4 years old). Most importantly, cats are masters at hiding chronic dental pain from their owners! Some owners never know their cat is experiencing pain until after we have taken care of the problem!

A disease process called Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions (or FORLs) is one of the most common diseases of cats (affecting approximately two thirds). In this disease, large cells usually active in the absorption of the roots of baby teeth, start wearing away at the adult tooth root. Over time, the roots are destroyed and in the later stages of disease, only the visible part of the tooth above the gum line or portions of it, remain. We still don’t understand what causes these lesions, although we know it is not a bacterial issue.

Cats with FORLs are often silent sufferers but can show these symptoms: red gums, a change in what they like to eat, teeth “chattering”, sensitivity upon eating (may drop food or chew on one side of the mouth), and/or drooling (all of which may be related to oral pain. There is often red gum tissue in areas where lesions are developing along the gum line. In its earliest stages, x-rays are the only way to identify FORLs, as the disease starts with the tooth root. Cats may start showing signs of pain when the disease moves beyond the root surface and starts invading the crown (or top of the tooth).

A thorough oral exam, along with a dental cleaning and x-rays should be performed on any cat suspected of having dental disease. The recommended treatment method for FORLs is removal of the affected tooth. Extraction may involve removing portions of or the whole tooth. Once the affected teeth are removed, the prognosis is quite good!

Cats that get this disease are predisposed to developing more of these lesions. There is some suggestion that too much Vitamin D in the diet may help promote this condition. For prevention, studies show that brushing the teeth is associated with a higher number of dental disease free cats!

Annual oral exams and dental cleanings are recommended for cats to make sure areas of pain are identified and treated in a timely fashion. Please call us at: 320-634-3558. We want your cat to be happy and pain free!

Low Level Laser Therapy... a Star Trek tool?

Low Level Laser Therapy is a treatment option we offer to our pet patients at Glacial Ridge Veterinary Clinic. This therapy involves the use of a helium/neon laser light that travels in wavelengths that are recognized as the body’s own “communication” wavelengths. The light is pulsed into a desired area to direct the message to specific tissues or cell types. How often the light pulses per second is called the frequency. Through the use of biologic wavelengths and tissue specific frequencies, we are able to influence a specific region or cell type to promote tissue healing 2-3 times faster than normal in the case of trauma. It also can stimulate the immune system and enable the cell communication needed to handle deeper issues such as infections, inflammation, allergies, and even cancer fighting support.

Some therapy lasers require mathematical calculations to figure out the dose needed for a certain area. They rely on power and penetration. These generate heat and can damage DNA if used improperly. These type of lasers are often used successfully predominantly for orthopedic injuries. These category of lasers can injure eyes if precautions are not taken. The frequency specific laser we use is different. It is a true nonheat producing laser that is designed to rehabilitate the “power house” of the cell (mitochondria). Areas around our genetic material, or DNA, respond to specific frequencies. The DNA has programming to react to countless situations to remedy problems in the body. The frequency specific laser can excite cells on the surface that will then produce an avalanche effect where more light or photons cascade deeper into the tissues to cause a rapid and self-generating flow of energy throughout the body. The cells that are able to be activated and/or rehabilitated will do so over the course of a group of laser treatments.

At the Glacial Ridge Veterinary clinic, we have used the laser successfully for many patients with arthritic pain, for post-surgical pain control and to speed healing, infections, major organ diseases (heart, liver, kidney), assorted tumors, overall immune support and allergies. We do not need to restrain the pet and it does not hurt in any way. This is an exciting and versatile tool and the animals receive it very well.

Low Level Laser therapy stimulates the cells that will create the healing. This means healing is not instantaneous like it appeared on Star Trek, but it’s pretty amazing that the proper light pulsed at the right interval could do so much good! Please call and set up a consult to see how your pet could benefit from Low Level Laser Therapy today!

Inappropriate urination

Failure to use the litter box is the most common behavior problem reported by cat owners. The solution to the problem depends on the underlying cause(s). Your cat may have litter box trouble for a number of reasons involving medical problems and/or behavioral problems such as squabbles with other cats, a dislike or fear of the litter box, or a preference for urinating in places outside the box.

Any medical condition that interferes with a cat’s normal urination can cause litter box problems. Inflammation of the urinary tract can make urinating painful and increase the frequency and urgency of urination. Sometimes cats will become afraid of the litter box because they think the pain may be from being in the box. Diseases of the kidneys, thyroid, and diabetes mellitus can also be a cause of litterbox problems as they often lead a cat to drink and urinate more often. In addition, trauma(pain) or age-related diseases that interfere with a cat’s mobility or with their brain function can influence their ability to step into or get to the litter box in time.

A normal but unpleasant behavior is urine spraying. Cats do this to announce their presence, establish or maintain territorial boundaries, or advertise they are ready to mate. Cats may also spray out of frustration when any change occurs to their environment, such as a new pet to the household, new furniture, diet change, animals outside the window, or lack of playtime. One of the best ways to stop or prevent this behavior is to spay or neuter your cat, as spraying is often driven by hormones.

Litter box problems should be addressed promptly, as the longer they go on, the more likely it is to become a habit. If there is more than one cat in the household, separate each cat to find the culprit. Once you have identified the house-soiling cat, it is wise to take him or her to the veterinarian for a thorough physical exam and urine and blood tests to check for underlying medical problems. Cats with medical problems may not always act sick.

Once medical causes have been ruled out, other tips include choosing a desired litter and box, choosing a good location, and keeping the litter box clean. A helpful tip is to have one more litter box in your house than the number of cats.

The health of your cat is important to us. If your cat has been urinating inappropriately, contact the Glacial Ridge Veterinary Clinic at 320-634-3558 so we can help determine the underlying cause and help you solve the problem as soon as possible.

Herbal Support in the Aging pet

The use of plants to help heal and prevent disease conditions dates back to ancient times. There are many ingredients in a single plant that often work together to bring about changes in the body which can help restore an ailing animal or person. Some animals such as horses seem to have natural instincts to eat certain plants or herbs when they are feeling ill. Many of the drugs we use today were developed from studying the effects of different plants and trying to single out the most useful compounds from a given herb. These drugs belong to many categories such as heart and blood pressure medicine, anti-cancer drugs, respiratory medications, pain and anti-inflammatory drugs, etc.

The herbalist prescribing an herb or herb mixture for a patient will take many things into consideration. The patient’s overall vitality, a thorough history of events leading up to an illness, any blood work they may have access to which can indicate stress in different organ systems, physical exam findings including their pulse quality and appearance of their tongue, hair, skin and eyes, and the patients’ diet.

In regards to the quality of the herb, many factors affect the composition of the plant to be used. Things like soil quality, moisture, sunlight, harvest timing and the processing practices all contribute to the end product quality. Not all plants are equal!

The action of a specific herb is often classified by its taste:

  • Sweet herbs tend to tonify and moisten tissues. They are used for chronic illness or to help promote healing of wounds.
  • Bitter tasting plants often drain moisture from or dry organs or tissues and are often used to help with heart disease and fluid build up.
  • Salty herbs will soften things and promote urination. We use these herbs to help resolve swelling or stones.
  • Sour tasting herbs that make you “pucker” your lips also help to stop fluids or energy from “leaking” out of the system involved. They may be used for calming or to prevent excessive sweating.
  • Pungent or strong tasting flavor have a moving effect and can help disperse cold conditions. They “wake up” the senses! These herbs often relieve pain.

It is amazing how many different ways herbal supplements can support a stressed or ailing system. For our older pets, we like to use mixtures of different herbs in tincture form to help support the immune system, hormonal feedback, kidney, liver and address chronic inflammation or pain. This is often a very gentle way to help keep the system in balance. Blood work and physical exam findings are all we need to help put together a supportive formula for your pet. We would love to help you help your pet! Call the Glacial Ridge Veterinary Clinic at 320-634-3558.