Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Two exercises can benefit dogs with arthritis

Here’s some health news for your dog —  especially if your dog is suffering from arthritis and having a bit more trouble walking and climbing stairs these days.

Researchers at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, used a special treadmill and computer algorithms and studied dogs performing three simple exercises — walking uphill, walking downhill and walking over low obstacles.

What they found: Two of the exercises (walking uphill and walking over low obstacles) have therapeutic value.

A university news release on the study, which appeared in the July issue of the American Journal of Veterinary Research, said walking uphill could be used to improve the flexibility of affected joints (especially at the hip) and walking over low obstacles could help improve bending of joints in the fore- and hind limbs.

Dogs that have recently undergone surgery to the tibia shouldn’t walk over obstacles, however, due to the risk of tendon strain, the researchers warned.

Researchers also pointed out walking uphill and walking over low obstacles are exercises that can be done without special equipment and can be easily be supervised by dog owners.

“These types of exercise are often recommended to improve the flexibility of joints in arthritic dogs,” said Barbara Bockstahler at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna. “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.” 
Read a summary of the findings in the veterinary journal at: http://avmajournals.avma.org/doi/abs/10.2460/ajvr.71.7.734

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