Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A dog's life -- physiotherapy for arthritic pets

26.08.2010
On receiving an honour, the American entertainer Jack Benny once said, "I don't deserve this award but I have arthritis and I don't deserve that either." Unfortunately, Benny was not alone in suffering from arthritis as he grew older.

Arthritis is associated with significant discomfort and simple activities such as going for walks and climbing stairs often become extremely painful. A variety of treatments are available, usually involving a combination of drugs and physiotherapy, but these generally only address the symptoms rather than curing the condition.

Unsurprisingly, animals can also suffer from arthritis. And because pets, especially dogs, tend to accompany their owners closely, they also go for walks and climb stairs, activities that become difficult and painful for dogs with arthritis. Treatment of the condition relies on the use of painkilling drugs combined with physiotherapy. The aims of physiotherapy – in dogs as in humans – are to lessen pain and to improve the functions of the affected joints and limbs. A number of different physiotherapy regimes are available but until recently there had been only very limited investigations of their affects on dogs. This has changed with the appearance of a paper by Peter Holler in Barbara Bockstahler's group at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna in the current issue of the American Journal of Veterinary Research.

Using a specially designed treadmill and sophisticated computer algorithms, Holler and his colleagues examined the movements of the joints in the front and back legs of dogs performing three different types of exercise used in physiotherapy: walking uphill, walking downhill and walking over low obstacles. They compared the findings with the movements when the dogs walked on the level without obstacles. Their results were extremely revealing. Walking uphill caused significantly greater bending at the hip, while the stifle joint (the dog's knee) was less extended. There were also decreases in the accelerations at the carpal and elbow joints. Walking downhill caused the hip to be less bent and the tarsal joint to be less extended, while there were decreases to the accelerations at the elbow and the hip. The most significant effects came when the dogs walked over low obstacles, which resulted in increased bending of all joints except the hip and the shoulder and greater extensions of the carpal and stifle joints.

In summary, the experiments showed that the three regimes had different and specific effects on the movements of the dogs' joints. Walking downhill does not appear to have much therapeutic benefit but walking uphill and the use of obstacles could both play a part in therapy. Walking uphill is an easy exercise that could be used to improve the flexibility of affected joints, particularly of the hip, while walking over low obstacles could be useful for improving the bending of joints in the fore- and hind limbs, although it should be noted that dogs that have recently undergone surgery to the tibia should probably avoid walking over obstacles as the resulting increased bending of the joints could potentially strain the tendon that joins the knee to the shin..

Neither walking uphill nor walking over obstacles requires expensive special equipment. Furthermore, both programmes are simple and can be easily supervised by the dogs' owners. As Bockstahler says, "These types of exercise are often recommended to improve the flexibility of joints in arthritic dogs. Nobody has yet taken the trouble to test whether they work but we are happy to report that they are of real benefit to the animals."

The paper Kinematic motion analysis of the joints of the forelimbs and hind limbs of dogs during walking exercise regimens by Peter J. Holler, Verena Brazda, Barbara Dal-Bianco, Elisabeth Lewy, Marion C. Mueller, Christian Peham, and Barbara A. Bockstahler is published in the July 2010 issue of the American Journal of Veterinary Research (AJVR 71, Vol. 7, 734-740).

About the Vienna University of Veterinary Medicine

The University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna is the only academic and research institution in Austria that focusses on the veterinary sciences. About 1000 employees and 2300 students work on the campus in the north of Vienna, which also houses the animal hospital and various spin-off-companies.

http://www.vetmeduni.ac.at

Barbara Bockstahler | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.vetmeduni.ac.at

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Study tracks inner workings of the brain with new biosensor
16.08.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht Foods of the future
15.08.2018 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>