Surgery-Free Joint Repair? Tell me more!

Does your pet display or have any of the following conditions?

  • Arthritis
  • Degenerative Joint Disease
  • Torn Ligament
  • Tendonitis
  • Back Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Partially degenerated or Herniated Inter-Vertebral Disks

Prolotherapy, also known as nonsurgical ligament reconstruction, is a medical treatment for chronic pain. “Prolo” is short for proliferation, because the treatment causes the proliferation (growth, formation) of new connective tissue in areas where it has become weak. Prolotherapy involves an injection, usually of a mixture of medications, into the affected area or joint. The medications most commonly contained in the prolotherapy compound are geared towards pain relief, ligament and tendon reconstruction and regeneration and to generate faster healing. The solution causes the growth of new connective tissue, helping to stabilize the joint and provide relief from pain. The injection is actually a series of injections, performed once every three weeks for a total of five treatments.

It is important to note that prolotherapy is not a substitute for surgery; not all pets are candidates for this type of medical procedure. Each case is evaluated on an individual basis, and an examination is required to determine if prolotherapy is an appropriate therapy for your pet.

Beneficial for Both Cats and Dogs

Prolotherapy can be performed on both dogs and cats, however it is used most commonly in middle-aged to geriatric dogs. Most owners report a 50-80% reduction in pain within the first 3 treatments.

The type of patient for which prolotherapy is appropriate includes, but is not limited to:

  • Patients with chronic osteoarthritis pain that involves one or more joints; often these pets have lameness involving the front and rear legs.
  • Geriatric patients with chronic arthritis or joint pain that are a high anesthetic risk, patients with an injury or tear of one or both cranial cruciate ligaments. Prolotherapy treatment can protect the cruciate ligament in the non-surgical leg from rupture in cases where one ligament has already been repaired.
  • Patients post-surgery with genetic orthopedic disease (hip, shoulder and elbow dysplasia) and chronic lameness and pain despite surgical correction.
  • Performance animals (agility, working dogs) with ligament or tendon injuries.
  • Patients that are sensitive or have adverse reactions to conventional pain medications (Rimadyl, Dermaxx etc), or for which pain medications are ineffective.

Is prolotherapy painful?

Prolotherapy treatments are mildly painful. Following the procedure, some patients may experience transient soreness for 24-48 hours.

How long does a prolotherapy treatment take to perform?

In general, prolotherapy treatments are 5-10 minutes in duration depending on the patient’s condition and the number of joints being treated.

How many prolotherapy treatments will my animal need?

The number of treatments depends on the age, severity of the disease or condition being treated, and the individual patinet’s response to the treatment. In general, most dogs and cats require 5 treatments each performed 3 weeks apart. Larger patients with joint disease of both the front and rear legs and those with severe arthritis or degenerative joint disease will require more treatments than those with less severe disease.

How soon after prolotherapy can my pet exercise?

It is recommended to leash walk dogs within 24 hours after prolotherapy. Many dogs feel so much better after a prolotherapy treatment that they will over-exercise unless restricted and can worsen their condition. No running or jumping is recommended during the duration of the treatments until instructed to increase the exercise.

For more information on prolotherapy or to schedule an assessment to determine if your pet is a candidate for prolotherapy, please call our office from 8am-5pm M-F and 8am-12pm on Saturday at 515-274-3811.

Laser Therapy

Drug-Free Pain Relief? Sign me up!

Laser Therapy is a non-invasive therapy used here at Iowa Veterinary Wellness Center for pain relief and healing. Laser therapy is the use of laser light to stimulate biological processes that lead to faster healing and pain relief. Lasers used for therapy use much less power than surgical lasers, and the beneficial effects come not from heat, but from the stimulation of the body’s natural healing processes. Like plants absorbing sunlight through photosynthesis, the cells in the body absorb laser energy. This stimulates the body to release its own pain relieving chemical compounds.

Sounds compelling, but is there any scientific evidence of effectiveness of laser therapy?

There are thousands of studies over the last 40 years demonstrating beneficial effects of laser therapy on a wide range of conditions: wound healing, nerve regeneration, reduction in edema, pain relief, and anti-microbial properties, for example. Laser therapy has also been approved by the U.S. FDA and many international health agencies for use on human patients.

What conditions can laser therapy treat?

Any condition that causes swelling and pain can be treated with laser, including, but not limited to:

*Post-surgical Pain Management

*Wound Healing

*Lick Granulomas

*Neurologic Injury

*Stomatitis

*Muscle Tears

*Dental Procedures

*Trauma & Bruising

*Arthritis

*Tendon & Ligament Tears

*Intervertebral Disc Disease

*Otitis

Will my pet feel anything during a laser therapy treatment?

Nope! Your pet will need to sit, stand, or lay still, but laser therapy is completely painless.  Human patients will often say they feel a pleasant tingling at the treatment site, but laser therapy causes no heating or burning.   Soon after the first treatment, your pet may move with less pain or have a more relaxed stride and better range of motion.  The healing process begins right away, with the best effects after several treatments.

 

How often should I bring my pet in for treatments?

While some conditions can be resolved with just a few treatments, it is not unusual for a chronic condition to require a number of treatments over a period of several weeks. Typically treatments are more frequent at the beginning and will taper down in frequency to maintain treatment objectives. A booster schedule may then be established based on your pet’s needs, or we may recommend home laser treatments in certain cases. Treatments last 3 minutes for each affected area and are frequently conducted in conjunction with other forms of rehabilitation therapy, such as acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, ice, TENS, and joint mobilization.

To learn more about laser therapy and set up an appointment for your pet, visit us at apvet.com or call us a 515-274-3811.

Acupuncture for animals? How cool!

Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that has been used successfully for over 4000 years in both humans and animals. According to Chinese philosophy, disease is an imbalance of energy, called Qi (pronounced “chee”), in the body and acupuncture helps to correct the flow of this energy.  Qi flows throughout the body in pathways called meridians, which connect to all of an animal’s internal organs.  Acupuncture points are located along these meridians.  Acupuncture triggers these points to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain which help to decrease pain and inflammation and help the body regulate itself from within; therefore, the goal of acupuncture is to help the body heal itself.

But what about the needles?

Here at Iowa Veterinary Wellness Center, we use light in the form of a laser to trigger the acupuncture points located throughout your pet’s body. Treatments are very safe and take about 2-3 minutes to complete.  Pets do not feel a thing and tend to be very calm and relaxed during these treatments.

Awesome! So what is acupuncture used for in animals?

Veterinary acupuncture is used to help relieve symptoms and lessen the discomfort of many health issues including, but not limited to the following:

  • Musculoskeletal problems, including hip dysplasia and arthritis, as well as acute injuries
  • Nervous disorders, including certain types of paralysis treatment
  • Respiratory disorders such as feline asthma
  • Reproductive disorders, such as infertility
  • Behavioral disorders, including separation anxiety
  • Cancer therapy, such as mast cell tumors
  • Immune system disorders, such as autoimmune disease
  • Internal diseases, such as kidney and liver disease, and bladder problems

Do you see results right away?

Acupuncture results are best seen after 3-4 treatments. Depending on your pet’s condition, we recommend one treatment once a week for 3-4 weeks.  If improvement is seen, we then taper down the treatments to every two weeks up to every 8 weeks.  Some pets do not need any more acupuncture once symptoms resolve and other pets receive acupuncture prophylactically as needed.

 

For more information on veterinary acupuncture or to schedule your consult with Dr. Wilke, please call us M-F from 8 to 5 pm at 515-274-3811.

Green Eggs and Red Ham – My First Blog!

I decided to start blogging so I could share my love of pets and animals with other people who share that passion.  So I did what most of us do when we want to learn how to do something . . . I googled it.

They (whoever “they” is??) told me I had to introduce myself, but be careful not to bore people.  Only tell them 1% of what you really want to say so you don’t lose their interest.  So here goes:  My name is Kim (Geraghty) Wilke, I was born in New York, grew up in Maine, moved to Iowa in 1999 to start veterinary medical school at Iowa State University, I graduated in 2003 and have loved being a veterinarian ever since, I have a great husband, two amazing kids, and am truly in love with my dogs.  Whew! I know that was a run-on sentence but it’s all out there. Now I can stop boring you.

Another thing “they” said I should do is to write about what I love.  Well, that’s easy.  I love my “job.”  I meet some of the best people and pets in the whole world.  I love sharing what keeps pets healthy and I learn new things from pet parents every day.  I will share some of those experiences in the future.

The other thing I love is my dogs: Charlie (my eleven year old Miniature Poodle) and Teddy Bear (my ten year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel).  Yes, there are a lot of jokes at my house about the French vs. the English.

So how did I come up with the title, you ask?  Well, that brings me to my passion both for humans and pets – nutrition.  It can be a complicated subject.  The way I learn about it is to be curious.  What is in this English muffin?  How did they make this bag of dog food?  I think we all should know what we are eating and feeding to our loved ones.  I started by not purchasing anything that had dye (artificial coloring) for both my family and my pets.  In other countries food must be labeled with warnings if it contains dye.  Not in the United States.  It is up to you to read labels so that you do not feed green eggs or red ham to your loved ones.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love to spoil my dogs.  I hope you do too.  I am going to share with you a treat recipe that contains real, healthy food that they go berserk for.

  • 1 cup dehydrated dog food (like Sojos)
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup ground turkey

Mix until well blended.  Shape into balls and place onto greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Cool and serve.  Keep refrigerated.  (They freeze very well.)

Stay tuned.  I have more recipes and tips to follow in upcoming blogs.