Wellness Care for Aging Dogs

Aging well isn’t just a human problem. With proper care and attention, many older pets can stay vigorous and energetic, aging gracefully well into their senior years. Regular adjustments to key lifestyle factors, like diet, nutrition, activity and exercise levels can make a big difference to your pet’s health and wellness throughout the golden years. By keeping your dog healthy and properly addressing age-related health problems as they arise, you boost your dog’s psychological well being too, avoiding depression that often comes with poorly managed health problems.

Dr. Babette will work closely with you to develop an individualized wellness maintenance plan that’s perfect for your older dog. In addition to adjusting and monitoring important lifestyle factors, there are an array of highly effective, non-invasive alternative treatments, including acupuncture and chiropractic, which can keep your dog in peak condition.

Learn about a personalized wellness plan developed By Dr. Babette for these pets.

Since dogs are individuals with their own unique challenges, histories and genetics, no wellness plan is the same. As a qualified veterinarian, and skilled practitioner of many alternative therapies, Dr. Babette is uniquely qualified to craft a wellness plan that meets your dog’s specific needs in the safest, most effective way possible.

The first step is to observe your dog and notice changes that may signal a need for changes to promote wellness. Observe your dog and ask yourself these questions:

  • Have you noticed a slowing of movement?
  • Does it seem harder for your dog to get up after sleeping?
  • Are stairs or steps a challenge?
  • Is my dog less interested in playtime?
  • Does my dog run less, or at all?
  • Are “doggie accidents” starting to happen around the home?
  • Does your dog have a problem sitting? Or getting up to stand?

Pain is a big problem for older dogs, but the good news is that Dr. Babette has an array of excellent treatments to deal with both acute and chronic pain in aging canines. Observe your dog and try to identify the following behaviors. They are non verbal cues that may indicate your dog experiences pain, and could benefit one or more pain treatments:

  • No longer wagging tail
  • Bending one leg while trying standing on all fours
  • One paw being smaller in size, usually noticeable when standing
  • Holding their head in an unnatural position
  • Uneven hip levels
  • A flinching reaction when certain spots on his or her spine are gently pressed
  • Not eating all of their food until night time

If your dog is experiencing pain, Dr. Babette can help. Treatment options include several non-invasive, alternative therapies, including acupuncture, massage and chiropractic, ultrasound, and Laser therapy, among others. Laser therapy is particularly beneficial to aging dogs that may have difficulty tolerating surgery or drugs. Let’s take a look at how these therapies can help your dog:

Acupuncture

Acupuncture can reduce pain and inflammation, increase circulation and stimulate the body’s own immune system to promote natural healing. Its immune boosting properties can also help to prevent future disease states in currently healthy pets, so it’s an excellent preventative measure.

Acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin needles into acupoints at key locations on the body. Acupuncture stimulates the nervous system to release neurotransmitters that reduce pain, and triggers the release of B endorphins, which further the analgesic effect.

The method derives from the renowned Chinese System of Medicine, dating back well over 2,000 years. Practiced throughout Asia for centuries, acupuncture has been increasingly researched and applied in medical and veterinary venues since the mid 20th century.

Dr. Babette has successfully used acupuncture to treat musculoskeletal problems including intervertebral disc disease, arthritis, hip dysplasia, and neuropathies, along with other non-skeletal conditions such as respiratory difficulties, nervous disorders, and skin issues.

Dr. Babette was comprehensively trained in acupuncture during her post-doctoral work at the American Academy of Veterinary Medical Acupuncture, Colorado State University.

Massage and Physical Manipulation Therapies

Massage and physical manipulation therapy are complementary treatments that go great together. Massage focuses on the manual manipulation of the body’s soft tissues, especially muscle, while chiropractic focuses on the manual manipulation of the body’s joints, particularly vertebrae, to correct misalignments, known as subluxations, that can affect health and wellness.

Massage therapy for dogs is associated with a number of health benefits, including improved lymphatic drainage and circulation, relief of muscle pain and spasms, relief from chronic pain, reduction in swelling and scarring, increasing range of motion, and an overall increasing sense of well-being.

In physical manipulation therapy for dogs, the veterinarian makes small physical adjustments to the spinal column and other joints to achieve optimal joint alignment. This reduces pain and increases range of motion, and often helps to improve a number of other health conditions. Since the nerves emerging from the vertebrae either influence or directly regulate organs throughout the body, even small misalignments of the spine’s vertebrae, can increase pressure on these nerves and affect their function negatively. The corrections that physical manipulation therapy makes help to restore nerve function, improving the health of organs throughout the body. Though musculoskeletal problems are at the top of the list, physical manipulation adjustments can improve general organ health, leading to a healthier cardiovascular, respiratory and gastrointestinal systems.

Ultrasound Therapy

Ultrasound therapy is one of many drug-free therapies that works particularly well with dogs, helping pets with injured tendons and ligaments. It’s also an excellent pain therapy for arthritis, and reduces scar tissue. In fact, ultrasound works particularly well with dogs.

During an ultrasound treatment, Dr. Babette applies high-energy sound waves directly to the injured areas, with a probe. The damaged tissues absorb the sound energy, and then radiate heat in return. This serves as a form of intensive heat therapy for the affected tissues, stimulating the formation of collagen fibers, accelerating the growth process of tendons, and long-term tendon strength.

Here are some common health problems in pets that ultrasound therapy can treat:

  • Tendon injuries
  • Ligament injuries
  • Muscular back pain
  • Wound healing
  • Excess scar tissue
  • Muscle pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Swelling
Laser Therapy

Laser therapy is an excellent option for older dogs at greater risk from more invasive treatments, like surgery and medication, and it works well with other alternative therapies. Laser therapy uses the regenerative properties of lasers for instant pain relief, and to jump-start the body’s natural healing processes. It’s a safe, effective, non-invasive treatment, with virtually no side effects.

High energy Laser light accelerates numerous biochemical pathways in living cells, leading to rapid cellular growth, increased blood flow, enhanced nutrient distribution, and reduced inflammation throughout injured tissues. Basically laser light accelerates the body’s innate healing mechanisms, promoting the repair and strengthening of injured tissues without risking the side effects that often come with surgery and drug therapies.

Dr. Babette offers two types of laser therapy treatments: an infrared laser option, which doesn’t penetrate deeply and is great for surface issues, like dermatological conditions, and a deeply penetrating K-Laser option. Dr. Babette is one of only a few private veterinarians in the New York City area to own a high power, dual wavelength Class IV K-Laser. This is a state of the art device can penetrate to a depth of 3 centimeters, providing potent pain relief for your pet. The Class IV laser is 16 times more powerful than its predecessor, the Class III K-Laser.

Dr. Babette treats a wide range of common conditions with Laser therapy, including:

  • Arthritis
  • Degenerative joint disease
  • Intervertebral disc disease
  • Back pain
  • Wounds
  • Traumatic dermatitis
  • Muscle injuries
  • Ligament injuries
  • Tendon injuries
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Sprains and strains
  • Lick granulomas
  • De-gloving injuries
  • Dermatological injuries
  • Ulcerations and open wounds
  • Post-surgical and soft tissue trauma
  • Neuromuscular disease
  • Pain associated with aging

Dr. Gladstein was named NY1′s New Yorker of the Week for her dedication to providing natural, alternative therapies to older dogs.

Dr. Babette is experienced and well trained in these alternative treatment modalities. One or more of them could greatly benefit your older dog as part of a comprehensive, individualized Wellness Maintenance Plan, along with improved diet and nutrition, and appropriate levels of activity and exercise. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Babette to start working on your dog’s own Wellness Maintenance Plan.