Rehab 008Aurora K9 Sports Medicine is a division of Aurora Animal Clinic providing rehabilitation services to the Fairbanks area pet community. Our services include recovery from injury or surgery, helping pets with osteoarthritis, neurological disease, weight loss, and/or conditioning. Our program is led by Dr. Barb Cole, who obtained certification as a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner through the University of Tennessee in 2014. Dr. Cole regularly attends a variety of continuing education events in the field, allowing us to stay on top of the latest developments in canine rehabilitation and sports medicine.

Underwater Treadmill:
At Aurora Animal Clinic, we are excited to have the ability to provide aquatic therapy for pets with our underwater treadmill. The water of the underwater treadmill is maintained at a comfortable 85-90°F. It is chlorinated, filtered and changed regularly, similar to a public swimming pool. Increased buoyancy and increased resistance when in water decreases the stress on joints while allowing for increased strengthening, and retraining of gait abnormalities, retraining of neurological function after injury. The motion of the treadmill promotes increased neurological awareness and increased range of motion compared to on land. This low impact activity can also improve cardiovascular function in less active, overweight and geriatric pets. The height of the water in the treadmill is adjusted depending on the condition being treated and the strength of the patient.

Other tools:
We also have a Class IV Therapeutic Laser which speeds healing as well as decreases pain and inflammation. Laser therapy has a wide variety of applications in our veterinary patients.

Therapeutic ultrasound and electrical stimulation can also be used in various conditions, they can also be used to help with acute and chronic pain conditions, swelling and abnormal scar tissue and also can help speed healing. Dr. Cole is also able to discuss options for regenerative medicine such as stem cell treatments and platelet rich plasma for various conditions.

photo 4Beyond the fancy toys, we can show you and your pet how to do a wide variety of ground exercises tailored to your pets’ needs for both recovery and overall strengthening to help prevent injury. These include core strengthening exercises, cavaletti rails, crouching exercises, stretching and balancing on therapy balls, weight shifting on uneven surfaces and more. When needed, we can help arrange for assistance devices such as harnesses, braces and wheel chairs. Aurora Animal Clinic has a variety of FitPAWS® products available for sale for at home exercises.

Who would benefit from Aurora K9 Sports Medicine services?

Recovery from injuries:
We can help improve your pet’s recovery by helping maintain or improve strength and function whether your pet’s injury requires surgery or not.

For older pets slowing down from general arthritis, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, or old injuries, an exercise program incorporating aquatic exercise can help maintain your pet’s cardiovascular abilities and muscle mass while putting less stress and strain on the joints. Increased muscle mass, range of motion, weight loss in overweight pets and overall conditioning, improves mobility and helps alleviate a lot of older pets’ discomfort.

Neurological Disease:
For pets suffering from neurological dysfunction such as from intervertebral disk disease or degenerative conditions of the spinal cord, rehabilitation can greatly improve your pets’ recovery and/or slow the progression of degenerative neurological conditions.

Weight loss:
An initial consultation is performed during which we will measure your pets’ body condition score, determine an ideal weight, consult on diet and determine daily calorie intake as well as come up with an exercise program incorporating both the underwater treadmill and at home exercises.

Strengthening and Conditioning:
Improved strength and conditioning can increase performance in sports, help prevent injury during athletic or day-to-day activities, and can potentially slow the progression of degenerative joint disease in pets with known orthopedic issues such as hip dysplasia. Dogs can come for regular aquatic exercise sessions in the underwater treadmill, or we can consult regarding an overall exercise program (both in clinic and at home) tailored to the needs of you and your pet.

How to start?

You will need to schedule an initial consultation appointment with our veterinarian that will last approximately one hour. During that consultation, we will discuss problems, goals, obstacles for recovery, your pet’s lifestyle, diet, and any supplements. We will do a physical exam concentrating on orthopedic and neurological issues, often including measurements of range of motion and muscle mass. Together, we will come up with a treatment plan including at home and in clinic exercises, and your pet will get an initial session in the underwater treadmill if desired and if appropriate, and we will determine a follow up schedule. Regular evaluations throughout the rehabilitation sessions also help determine specific areas of concern or any secondary or compensatory injuries.

Punchcards are available