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(207) 846-6515 H
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(207) 846-6515

ORTHOPEDICS: ARTHRITIS: OA 4. MEDICAL TREATMENTS: THERAPEUTIC EXERCISE AND REHAB

EXERCISE

The exercise goal for osteoarthritic patients is frequent activities of short duration; the exercises should not last long enough or be intense enough to worsen the pet’s lameness. At the same time, the pet should be challenged to exercise to its maximum ability. For most pets with OA walking is great exercise, largely because it is easy to for the pet and owner to do. For some arthritic patients following their owners from room to room is sufficient, and for others a long walk or even a run is appropriate.

THERAPEUTIC EXERCISES

It is possible for most owners to exercise their pets in a way that provides benefits beyond those of walking. We recommend no more than 2 to 4 exercises per session in order to prevent pain due to excessive activity. We also recommend at least 2 rest days per week, in which activity is limited to passive range of motion, stretching, and short leash walks.

- Passive range of motion, 15 - 20 reps, once or twice daily

- Balance or weight-shifting on a surface with stability appropriate for the pet’s capability, 5 to 10 minutes, once or twice daily

- Controlled leash walks with mild inclines for 10 to 30 minutes as tolerated, 1 to 4 times daily

- Controlled stair or ramp climbing 1 to 3 flights per session 1 to 3 times daily, added to the program only when appropriate

- Walking on the side of inclines with the affected side higher 5 minutes once or twice daily

- If the rear legs are affected, sit-to-stand exercises once or twice daily

- Trotting on lead, added to the program only when appropriate, 1 to 5 minutes once daily

- Swimming, added to the program when appropriate, 5 to 30 minutes as tolerated

REHABILITATION THERAPIES

- Massage for ten minutes prior to passive range of motion and exercises

- Stretching

- Cryotherapy (cold packs) 15 to 20 minutes 1 to 3 times daily after exercise; cryo may also be used before exercise and stretching to improve pain-free range of motion

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