Better and Better

Jana enjoys springThis will be a short post to update you on Jana. She’s doing a lot better.

In the weeks following her bout with vestibular disease, she visited a neurologist, an ophthalmologist, and an additional vet. The vet, someone whom we like and trust very much, was Cali’s pediatrician and Jana’s vet a few years ago. Her clinic is pretty far from where we live now, but I decided to check in with her anyhow. She offers fantastic Western veterinary care and also Eastern medicine.

Jana, it turns out, had an ear infection. She and Cali each had a foxtail in her right ear, which has nothing to do with the vestibular incident but was very uncomfortable. They were amazingly good and let the vet remove the foxtails; both girls are feeling much better now.

Jana is also taking Chinese herbal medicine, plus she just finished some pills that helped get her over the last of her dizziness. She’s still a little wobbly on her feet, but much, much better. She still tilts her head a little bit, too.

But she seems to be focusing better; and her selective hearing is excellent when she wants it to be. She was back on the job, retrieving the paper, in less than a week, and she demanded to rejoin the long morning walks to the park after about three and a half weeks of recovery. She does get tired easily, but, at her age (the rough equivalent of a 92-year-old human), that’s not surprising.

She seems to get stronger every day, and she’s her usual happy, bossy, food-focused self. At the park, she made the rounds, visiting with her many friends — and demanding cookies.

In short, Jana is back to normal.

10 Years Young — Laser Treatments Reduce Jana’s Arthritis Pain

Jana enjoys Dog Swim Day in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Jana enjoys Dog Swim Day in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Jana has just finished a course of cold laser therapy. With the zeal of the newly converted, I am here to sing the praises of this treatment for arthritis.

Let’s back up a little. Jana has had arthritic elbows and back and, unknown to me, hips, for a while. In the last several months, she has been noticeably more stiff and sore more often. She’s had regular chiropractic adjustments for years, and these have been very helpful. But it was no longer enough.

Very reluctant to put her on medication for the rest of her life, I started checking into other therapies. A vet in California mentioned cold laser therapy. It sounded promising; it is not invasive, has no side effects, and has helped many dogs with painful injuries or arthritis. But, I was about to drive back to Florida, so I decided to wait until we got back to Florida to start.

Fast forward to now. Our vet here in St. Petersburg does laser therapy in his office, so we scheduled some X-rays to see where Jana needed attention and took the plunge.

The X-rays showed a lot more damage than I expected and explained Jana’s morning stiffness, reluctance to walk or play, and general grumpiness of late. That was about 3 weeks ago. Six laser sessions later, Jana is actively soliciting play, swimming, and catching balls, and she is happier than she has been in months. She’s less stiff and more cuddly. She is clearly in less pain.

Each treatment takes about a half-hour. The vet tech programs the machine for hip, elbow or back, and waves the wand over the targeted body part. Jana got lasered in both elbows, both hips, and much of her spine. The vet techs have treated wounds, post-surgical sutures, muscle sprains, and a variety of other ailments with the cold lasers.

The laser stimulates blood flow, which helps injured tissue to heal. The idea is that it will improve blood flow around the arthritic joints, reducing inflammation and therefore reducing pain. It seems to be working on Jana.

I am giving her small amounts of Rimadyl, as well as other anti-inflammatory supplements, but I am hoping to be able to reduce the pharmaceuticals further. She’ll now go to a maintenance schedule of treatments about once a month. I am sure that each dog reacts differently to treatments, but I have to say this one is worth trying if your senior dog is stiff or painful.