Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Getting Loopy ~ Heather, Technician & Blog Editor

Back in my first ever post to this blog, I mentioned something called the Assisi Loop. I wanted to circle back to that today to talk a little more in-depth about what it is and why each and every person reading this should be completely amazed by it.

Simply put, the Assisi Loop is a non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical device that helps to reduce inflammation and promote healing in a targeted area on the body. It has no negative side effects, and it can be used in combination with medications as needed without any risk for drug interaction. In order to accomplish this, the Loop encourages the production and release of naturally occurring nitric oxide, which stimulates the body to heal itself. For a more detailed explanation of the science behind this device, watch this video.

One of the first patients to benefit from the use of the Assisi Loop after we began carrying this product was my little old "hospice" foster dog, Gramps. I put "hospice" in quotations because when we pulled this dog from a rural South Carolina shelter, he was in terrible shape--so terrible that we didn't expect he might live longer than a few weeks. He was diagnosed with Intervetrebral Disc Disease, had severely arthritic and previously broken front legs that healed improperly, and his bloodwork values indicated that his internal organ function was completely out of whack. The Loop was relatively new to our practice at the time, but I figured that this little guy had nothing to lose.

I started using the Loop on Gramps' crooked, sad little front legs right away. Within days of starting Loop treatments (three times daily at first), he was walking without assistance and was very obviously more comfortable. I was so impressed with his progress on this front that I decided to try something a little more challenging and hold the loop over his liver. If it could reduce inflammation in his legs, why not his internal organs? I was pleasantly surprised to find that retesting his bloodwork only one week later revealed a significant improvement. 

Because of this drastic improvement, we cautiously moved forward with treating another major problem. Gramps had dental disease so extreme that most of his teeth required removal and left him with a partially fractured jaw. However, Looping his muzzle after this procedure helped him to recover much faster than expected.

Gramps went on to recover and live a happy, comfortable, and snuggly seven months (FAR beyond his original prognosis). While I would love to take all the credit as his doting foster mom, I know that the Loop was a major reason for the extension in both his quantity and quality of life. I am forever grateful that we were able to give him the time in a loving home that he so deserved with the help of this unique device. 

I own two Loops myself, and many of our clients have also had similarly amazing results. One of our favorite felines, Tommy, used the Loop regularly, and his owner was about as smitten with it as I am. "I placed the Loop under his shoulder if he was lying on his right side, on top of his elbow if he was on his left side. He never objected to its placement and did nothing to dislodge it. Within the first two or three days, he was far more active and jumping his usual places...He no longer took two minutes to ease himself down on the bed or chair and he had fun romping up and down our hallway for the first time in forever...All in all I think of the Loop as a magic wand."

"Magic wand" is right! Obviously there is science behind the "magic," but for myself and the other pet parents who've seen what it can do, it will always feel like magic. Veterinary medicine has grown by leaps and bounds over the last few decades, and it's finally reaching a point where owners can truly give their pets the best care possible with ease in the comfort of their own home.

If you think that your pet might benefit from the use of a Loop, don't hesitate to ask us about it. I will happily continue to rant and rave in person!


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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks ~ Audra Alley, DVM, CVA, DABVP

I’m not sure if learning gets harder the older we get, or if we just have too many other things on our mind.  
I am so excited to be learning a new skill that I'm hoping will help many patients to be more comfortable, but I have to say that “re-learning” anatomy that I first learned 20(ish ☺) years ago is a little challenging! I love the “observation” part of medicine where I get to watch a patient move around and try to determine what is bothering them--what are they overusing, what are they trying not to move, and what could be causing that? Now, I am also learning new ways to evaluate these animals with hands-on manipulation.  
Veterinary medical manipulation (chiropractic) has been around for a long time. I had the pleasure of working with a veterinary chiropractic in the past, and we were able to achieve some pretty remarkable results when combining my acupuncture with her chiropractic skills.
Here’s an interesting perspective: there are 319 bones in the typical dog, and they should never actually touch. The skeleton is supported by muscles, tendons, and ligaments, and the ends of bones are protected by cartilage. Since they don’t actually touch, it makes sense that there should be some (albeit very small in some cases) movement of each individual bone. When this movement is restricted, we start to develop problems. Chiropractic allows us to detect these restrictions and correct them before a patient develops chronic pain or loses the ability to function normally.
I have to send a shout out to Dr. Ben Schemmel, my chiropractor, for helping to keep me functional. Last year, I had severe pain in my neck, and my right hand was going numb. My physical therapist helped a little but just couldn’t get it to resolve, and massage seemed to make it worse. Dr. Schemmel worked on me a couple times a week for a while, and before long, I was as good as new!
Sometimes, it is really hard to tell if our pets are suffering in silence. Recently, I saw a Labrador that was limping a bit on a front leg, but her regular vet really couldn’t find anything wrong with the leg. She tagged along with her brother one day for a visit to Shiloh, so we decided to check her out too. I also couldn’t find anything wrong with her leg, so I asked the owner if I could practice my new chiropractic skills on her kiddo. She agreed, and I found restrictions in the right side of her neck. I adjusted the area, and she immediately seemed to feel better–she trotted around the exam room wagging her tail and bouncing around. Here’s the best part: her limp went away! I suspect that the restriction in her neck was creating some inflammation around the nerves that come off of the spinal cord to go to her front leg, and it was uncomfortable for her (much like my hand was becoming numb from my neck issue).
I have a long way to go and many, many hours of studying to do before I sit for my certification exam in December, but it will be so worth it if I can help keep our pets moving, active, and feeling good.

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