Tag Archive for: dogs

Hip dysplasia in dogs is one of their most common inherited bone diseases. It is not a congenital disease, and there are also no signs that the animal suffers from it when it is born. It develops as the dog grows, and it is not often that it appears in its first three months of life. It is from the fourth or fifth when it begins to make its appearance.

It is a degenerative condition and is caused by a malformation in the joint that joins the hip and head of the femur. It is usually painful and can cause lameness, as well as problems getting the animal to feel properly. As the disease progresses, the dog will move with more difficulty. It will cost you more and more, for example, to climb stairs. In more severe cases, you will even stop running or even walking.

This disease, more frequent in medium or large breeds, can be enhanced by factors such as overweight. It will also be more accentuated if the affected dog gets a lot of exercise. Fortunately, there are several solutions to correct hip dysplasia in dogs. In general, they will vary depending on the severity of the disease when it is diagnosed.

The most common solutions to hip dysplasia in dogs

As we have mentioned, the treatment of the affected animal should be based on the severity of the dysplasia. There are two types: those that try to prevent the disease from progressing and try not to go any further and surgical. The latter are more radical, and more indicated in severe cases.

soporte para perro con displasia de caderaTreatments of the first type, considered conservative, involve administering specific drugs for the progression of osteoarthritis, called chondroprotectors, to the dog. This treatment is long-lasting, and is designed to slow down its progress. In addition, it can be supplemented with anti-inflammatories, analgesics and with a hip support.

The use of a hip support not only makes the dog affected by the disease less discomfort. You will also have less pain, which makes it possible to lower your dose of anti-inflammatories. To this also contributes the monitoring of the diet of the animal, to prevent it from gaining weight.

In more severe cases, or when the veterinarian decides that it is the most appropriate, it is advisable to opt for a surgical solution

Curative treatments for hip dysplasia in dogs

All treatments aimed at curing hip dysplasia in dogs go through the operating room. Of course, they can also be palliative.

Among the curative ones are the triple osteotomy of the pelvis, which consists of its relocation and the replacement of the hip by a prosthesis. This last procedure is similar to that carried out in humans. But, as we have said, there are also palliatives, such as the substitution by exccession of the head of the femur.

Dogs that suffer a severe case of hip dysplasia and cannot walk, or those that are recovering from an operation, can use a wheelchair created especially for this type of case. These are devices that can be made to measure in a few days, or supports adjustable to the dimensions of the animal.

With them, dogs with this disease will be able not only to move, but to use them as an aid to recover mobility and muscle tone.

Ortocanis Editor Team

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There is talk of patellar dislocation in dogs, when the patella, a small bone located in front of the knee joint and whose correct position is necessary for a good functioning of the animal’s limb, gets out of its place, trochlea, causing functional pain and weakness in the dog.

Within the dislocations, the medial dislocation is the most frequent. It arises in 80% of cases while the lateral only occurs in 20%. Between 30% and 50% of cases are bilateral and more frequent in females than in males, especially small breeds and toys.protector-rodilla-canina-perro articulada

Lateral dislocations can occur in adult small breeds and in large and giant breed puppies.

It is a pathology that is characterized by a poor alignment of the limb, deformations occur during the development of the animal, which cause the patella to come out of its place. It may be due to a congenital disease or, in some cases, caused by trauma.

It is convenient that dogs suffering from this congenital pathology are not used in reproduction since it is transmitted through generations.

There are dogs that have patella luxation due to trauma. In these cases, the dislocation is generally associated with a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament of the knee.

Depending on the clinical signs and later on the radiological results, dislocations can be classified into 4 degrees:

patellar lux_fGrade I – Intermittent patellar dislocation causing limb lameness when out of place. In the dynamic test, every three or four steps they raise their leg by flexing the knee or they take a little jump.

Grade II – Dislocation that occurs more frequently than Grade I. The patella dislocates easily. There is a slight external rotation of the leg. Many dogs live with this grade for years before progressive arthritis manifests as lameness or more serious causes.

Grade III and IV – The patella is permanently dislocated, with very noticeable external rotation of the leg. There is moderate lameness. If it is bilateral, dogs walk with bowed legs, turning the feet inward and bearing weight on the forelimbs. In the most severe cases, it can be confused with hip problems.

In addition, the animal presents pain, crepitus and increased sensitivity in the knee, which leads to it reducing its activity, even refusing to go up and down stairs, the car or the sofa.

Treatment depends on the degree of dislocation and lameness, but in most cases surgical treatment consisting of soft tissue repair, bone reconstruction, or a combination of the two is required. There are infinite techniques and the orthopedic veterinarian chooses the most suitable one(s) in each case.

luxación de rótula

Among the most used techniques we find: Overlay of the medial or lateral retinaculum, overlay of the fascia lata, anti-rotational suture of the patellar and tibial ligaments, desmotomy/capsulectomy, quadriceps release, trochleoplasty (trochlear chondroplasty, sulcoplasty resection, trochlear sulcoplasty), transposition of the tibial tuberosity, patellectomy, osteotomy…

As a novelty, orthoses are being applied for knee dislocation as a means of conservative orthopedic treatment that allows the patella to be kept within the femoral condyles and avoid pain and instability. These orthoses are made to measure and are very useful in cases where surgery has failed, you cannot or do not want to operate for different reasons.

Marta Subirats & Toni Ramon

animal physiotherapists

Ortocanis technical team

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Nowadays, most sea lovers have dogs and many times we do not know what to do with them during our visits to the beach. Our four-legged friends are always happy when we get home and are excited to share moments with us so why couldn’t we introduce them to paddle surfing?

paddle surf perro

The mere fact of sharing an activity with them not only tires them and motivates them to work but also creates a bond with us in which we can gain a lot of trust with our dog.

Our preparation

Before we begin, we must keep in mind what our objective is. In our case it is to get us to enjoy a walk through calm waters with our dog. This is going to take an effort and not every day we will leave our training as happy.

Some dogs love water and have no fear of the waves, others their total trust with the owner leads them to do unthinkable things like jump off a wall and wait for the owner to catch them when they fall. Now, we will put ourselves in the most critical situation, train a dog that does not like to swim and even less face unpredictable situations, as is the case with Nik.

So starting from the previous premises we must keep in mind that for our dog this activity must be fun and therefore can never lead to a punishment, there must always be a prize. This will motivate them and strengthen the desire to be able to share a good paddle surf ride with their owner.

It is important to start working on two aspects: the first is the motivation to interact with water, we must get familiar with this medium, for example, in lakes or rivers where there are no waves. There we can run next to him along the shore or throw a doll at him to go find him. And the second, start working with the paddle board on the ground.

Starting on land

Paddle Surf con perrosThe idea of starting working with the board on the ground is so that our dog gradually feels safe in it and gains confidence, in such a way that we will use positive reinforcement. The more positive experiences our dog has with the board on land, the safer he will feel when this activity becomes a greater challenge for him.

First we can leave the board on the ground and let the dog experiment and explore. After a while, we can put some candy or toy on top to motivate you to get even closer and go up. Just at the moment he climbs above the table we must reward him in such a way that he will understand that we are happy and he gets a prize when he performs this action.

When we observe that our dog already climbs confidently we can introduce certain orders, either to indicate that he goes up or down as well as to sit or lie on top of the board, since this is what we will need once we are in the water. Little by little we must begin to get behind him while he is sitting or lying down and we can demand that he be for a longer period of time in that position.

Our last step before going to the water is to familiarize you with a dog lifeguard armour out of the water. The dog must associate that the board and the armilla go together so we will continue working the previous orders with the armilla on.

At this point many of you will wonder why use a armilla for the dog. First of all, we must keep in mind that if we want to go out into the water we can fall and we must be able to ensure the life of our friend, in such a way that it will help us whether it is hit or if we want to climb it back on the board. Many of the armillas they sell have a handle to be able to take the dog, so we can climb it easily.

Let’s go to the water

First of all it is important that we master paddle surfing before riding our dog. When we have this consolidated, it is time to look for a lake or a river with calm water to take you in your first days.

Before getting directly in the water it is important that we work a little on the routine created on the ground so that the dog gets used to the change and the new environment. Later we can make our first steps in the water:

Step 1: Get the dog to climb on top: For this we will place the board well taken near the shore and we will keep it as still as possible, we will give the order to climb on top of it and we will reward at the time of riding since it will swing. We will continue to reward as the dog is on top of the board (it does not need to be with all four legs) and little by little we will ask him to be all on the board. If you are calm we can move the board slowly. Finally, we will give the order to come down from it and at that time we will reward you with great enthusiasm since you have achieved a great achievement.

Step 2: Get the two of us on top of the table: To get it we will sit in the center of the table, we will give the order to go up and then the order to sit down. Later we can paddle as if we were taking a kayak or if we are two people, one can climb in the back and walk while we continue working on the safety of the dog.

If we both feel safe, with very soft and slow movements we can get on our knees and continue to surround our dog that is sitting. Our last step will be to stand on top of the board with the dog sitting between our legs. If we are alone we must continue very gently but if we have help we can get up and invite the dog to climb while our partner holds the board.

At all times, patience and calm. Our dog will indicate when he is ready for the next step and in this way we can face challenges with him. If we enjoy and they enjoy each time we can introduce you to new environments and little by little we will share more activities at sea with our friends, such as surfing a wave.

Aida Macià – Sailboards Girona – OrtocanisBaner silla 728x90

Just as it happens to humans when they get older, osteoarthritis can also occur in dogs. With age, your joints begin to suffer from the passage of time and age. And their wear and tear can lead to osteoarthritis.

This condition, like humans, appears in dogs due to the wear and tear of cartilage. It is a degenerative disease, and the wear and tear of the cartilage can become so severe that the bones it separates begin to rub against each other.

Osteoarthritis in dogs usually affects mainly joints such as the elbow, hip, knee, spine, etc. They can be mild and not cause too much discomfort to the animal. Or be so severe that the dog suffers pain and cannot move comfortably. Luckily, osteoarthritis in dogs presents various symptoms. If they are detected in time, the animal can be taken to the veterinarian and treated to alleviate its symptoms and stop its progression. In addition, joint supports or protectors can also be used to strengthen the affected joints. This way you can have a better quality of life.

Symptoms of osteoarthritis in dogs

Osteoarthritis has no specific known cause. In some cases it can be caused by a joint problem that causes a problem in the joint. For example, hip dysplasia. It can also be accentuated by excess weight, due to the extra load it must bear. Or some medical treatments.

In any case, the symptoms you present will always be the same. Of course, they depend on which leg or hip of the dog is affected. But the one that is common to all of them is that, suddenly, the dog seems less active and moves less. Of running already, we don’t even talk. In addition, it may even begin to limp slightly.

It is important to observe if this limp is more pronounced when you get up after sitting for a while. Or lying down. And also if you limp more when it’s colder. This is because, like humans, low temperatures are not good for osteoarthritis in dogs.

In addition to these symptoms, it is also necessary to observe if, although the dog does not limp, it has difficulty climbing the stairs. You may also have joint pains, although this is more complicated to detect. If it is a lot, it usually resists walking. When it occurs in the front legs and the animal knows how to give the paw, it can be a method to know if it has pains. If you don’t want to kick up, your joint may hurt.

The dog may also suffer from some loss of tone and muscle mass. And you may even have a lack of appetite, or appear lethargic at times. If the osteoarthritis you have is quite advanced, your postures may become more forced. They will be due to the stiffness of the affected limb.

Another symptom of osteoarthritis in dogs can be inflammation of the affected paw. This will be caused by friction between the bones, which will affect the nearby muscles, which will suffer the consequences.

If you notice that your dog has one or more of these symptoms for a few days, it is advisable to take him to the veterinarian. This way you can examine it and diagnose if you suffer from osteoarthritis or any other milder ailment.


We finally see some progress in Spanish animal protection regulations. A Draft Law has been presented establishing the basic regulations of the trade and responsible ownership of dogs and cats. This change in regulations is intended to ensure animal welfare in dogs and cats.

Currently, only the Autonomous Communities of Catalonia and Andalusia have Statutes that assume specific competences regarding animal protection.

At the state level, there is no framework regulation that regulates the possession and protection of pets. But this is set to change. During the month of June 2014, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (MAGRAMA), has made public the Draft of the Draft Law that establishes the basic regulations of trade and responsible ownership of dogs and cats.

This Draft must still go through a series of phases until it is approved, and can be modified during the process.

Notable news:

  • Prohibition of mutilation, including amputation of the third phalanx (deungulation), unless therapeutically necessary by the animal or when it is essential for the purpose for which the animal is intended (prior authorization of the Competent Authority)
  • Use animals in shows or as advertising claims if that causes them distress or suffering.
  • The marketing of dogs and cats in pet stores is prohibited.Tienda de mascotas
  • The transmission of dogs and cats may only be carried out through breeders or foster establishments.
  • Forecast of the figure of the donation contract.
  • Obligation to inform in the donation contract of aspects such as life expectancy and the approximate annual costs of keeping the animal in good condition.
  • Establishment of two categories of breeder: regular breeder (has more than five animals intended for donation or marketing or more than one litter per year) and occasional breeder (less than five animals and maximum one litter per year)
  • Animals less than eight weeks of age may not be placed on the market.
  • It may not be marketed, donated or given to an animal for adoption without its identification in accordance with current regulations (microchip) microchip_f
  • Regulation in transport.
  • Obligation to communicate the loss of an animal within a maximum period of seven days, thereafter it will be understood that it is an abandoned animal.

Aspects that we miss or not regulated:

  • All pets except the dog and cat are excluded.
  • Little concreteness in the concept of “animal abuse” (it will lend itself to many interpretations)
  • The regulations that will regulate the current shortcomings of this Draft, which are expected to be ready in a period of between six months and two years after the entry into force of the regulations, are still missing. For example, it is not yet specified how the identification of animals should be.
  • There is no mandatory registration of animals in municipal censuses
  • There are shortcomings in the establishment of ancillary sanctions. For example, in the prohibition of acquiring animals by the sanctioned.

Bienestar animal

From Ortocanis we hope that the draft can include some of the shortcomings and progress, since it means a step forward towards a fairer society with tod@s.

Source: Cristina Bécares Mendiola – www.derechoanimal.info


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Physiotherapy as an alternative treatment in compression of Cauda Equina



The cauda equina, is the set of nerves and nerve roots that originate from L6 – L7 innervating the posterior train by means of the nerves: Sciatic, Obturator, Pudendo, Femoral and Pelvic.

When generating a trauma at this level, mild to severe compressions can occur generating in the patient pain, claudication of hind limbs, contracture of all muscle mass, proprioceptive deficit, ataxic gait, incontinence, among other clinical signs that will guide the Veterinarian to establish an adequate medical treatment and in the case of the physiotherapist, locate the areas of pain and improve weight support, resistance, bodybuilding (avoiding muscle atrophy as much as possible), joint mobility and proprioception.

The diagnosis is made by radiological study and magnetic resonance imaging of the spine at the level of the lumbo-sacral joint, treatment options

consist of: cage rest, allopathic (NSAIDs, analgesics, corticosteroids), homotoxicological, physiotherapy and rehabilitation, being an excellent option the synergy between homotoxicological treatment and physiotherapy (integral analgesia).

This paper presents the case of a patient of a Pinscher, female, 10 months, which is taken to consultation after having suffered a trauma by fall presenting as main signs paraparesis, contracture of all muscle mass in hind limbs, proprioceptive deficit and ataxic gait. It was decided to perform physiotherapy and rehabilitation without suspending the medical treatment established from the beginning, managing to reduce the recovery time, improvement in the patient’s condition, elimination of the cause of the physical alteration, pain relief, reduce inflammation and resumption to daily life.

Keywords: cauda equine compression, physiotherapy and rehabilitation.

Interested? Here’s the full article


Angelica B. Ortega Vasquez

Ortocanis.com Collaborator


What is the proprioceptive system?

It is the system by which the brain receives information about the position and movement of body parts with each other and in relation to their support base. This is produced through a series of receptors distributed throughout the body. Proprioceptive sensitivity is extraordinarily important in the dog’s relationship life.

Within the physiotherapy examination (musculoskeletal or neurological), the proprioceptive system will always be evaluated to have a reference and guidelines with which to establish the treatment plan. Sometimes the same techniques that help us to value the animal, serve us later to rehabilitate it.

Postural reactions

  1. Positional reaction or conscious proprioception
    1. Put the dorsal face of the limb in contact with the ground. The animal should instantly rectify to the normal position.
    2. Put the limb of the animal in abduction or adduction. In this case you should also instantly rectify towards the starting position.
    3. Place a sheet of paper so that the dog supports the pads. Move the leaf laterally in thoracic limbs and caudolaterally for the pelvic limbs. When perceiving the movement stimulus, you need to reposition the limb correctly.
  2. Hemistation
    1. You should take the limbs of a hemibody and move the animal to the opposite side to see if it is able to withstand the balance.
    2. In the case of musculoskeletal injuries it is also possible to assess the affected limb by taking only the opposite limb or one of the previous ones and assess the balance reaction presented by the animal (uniestación)
  3. Hemimarcha
    1. It is exactly the same exercise as the hemistation only that the animal will have to move on the two limbs.
  4. Jump test
    1. Holding the animal and preventing it from supporting three of its four limbs, move it laterally. You will need to make small jumps.
  5. Truck test
    1. Make him move with his thoracic limbs holding him through the pelvic area. Do it with the head of the animal in a high position to prevent it from looking where to put your hands.
  6. Extensor postural impulse reaction test
    1. Take the animal by the armpits in an upright position and descend it slowly. When its hind limbs touch the ground, it will extend them caudally in a marching motion, anticipating displacement.
  7. Visual and tactile reaction
    1. Holding the animal, he approaches the edge of a table until he touches it. You should place your limb on the table instantly. We will assess visual and proprioceptive sensitivity. It should be repeated by covering the eyes, so we will value tactile and proprioceptive sensitivity.

Balance in season and dynamics

The balance of the animal can be assessed by provoking some of the postural reactions mentioned above or by creating destabilizations of the animal in static and during walking.

During walking you can tap small sideways to see how it reacts. If the animal has its correct balance, it will continue walking in a straight line without modifying its state or its rhythm.


Coordination can be assessed through circles, eights, climbs, descents, speed changes, different terrains with small difficulties in between.


Ortocanis Writing

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A dog’s ability to move and perform its daily activities depends on the ability of the brain, spine, nerves, and muscles to coordinate together.

This complex communication system exchanges information when nerves in the brain send messages to the body about the outside environment, and the body sends messages to the brain about what it is experiencing in the environment. These messages are transmitted through nerves in the spinal cord, which are embedded in the spine or spine. Together, the nerves of the brain and spinal cord make up the central nervous system. Trauma to any part of the nerve pathways can lead to poor communication, or a total lack of communication between the brain and the body, leading to an inability to coordinate body movements.

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The spine is made up of a set of 24 bones called vertebrae, which are separated from each other by small cushions called intervertebral discs. Together, the vertebrae and intervertebral discs protect the spine from damage. Trauma to the vertebrae or discs can create vulnerability in the nerves of the spinal cord, leading to new disorders to the neural pathway.

When a dog experiences paralysis, it is often because communication between the spinal cord and the brain has been disrupted. In some cases, the dog is not able to move its legs, a state of total paralysis, and in other cases, there may still be some communication between the brain and the spine, and the dog will only appear weak or have difficulty moving its legs, a condition known as: partial paralysis. There are also cases where a dog may be paralyzed on all four legs (quadriplegia), and in others, the dog may be able to control movement in some of its legs, but not all. This is determined by the location of the trauma, occurring in the brain, spine, nerves or muscles.

Some breeds are more prone than others. Dogs that are close to the ground with elongated backs, such as dachshunds and bassets, are commonly affected by ruptured vertebral discs by putting pressure on the spinal cord, a condition known as intervertebral disc disease. Some breeds are genetically predisposed to a condition called degenerative myelopathy (MD), a disease that attacks nerves on the backs of older dogs (more than seven years old). It is a slow action, a progressive disorder that eventually leads to paralysis of the hind legs. Breeds affected by this disease are the Welsh corgi, boxer, German shepherd, Chesapeake Bay retriever, and Irish setter.


  • Not able to move all four legs (quadriplegia)
  • Not able to move the hind legs (paraplegia)
  • Walks with front legs while dragging hind legs
  • There may be pain in the neck, spine, or legs
  • Can’t urinate
  • Not able to control urination, urine dripping
  • Not able to control defecation
  • Constipation


  • Canine degenerative myelopathy (MD) – related to the gene of German shepherd, boxer, Welsh corgi, Chesapeake Bay retriever, ages 7-14 years; the cause is unknown
  • Slippage of the discs in the back – intervertebral disc disease
  • Spondylodiscitis – bacterial or viral infection in the bones of the spine (vertebrae)
  • Infection or inflammation of the spine
  • Distemper
  • Meningomyelitis – viral or bacterial infection of the brain, leading to poor communication of nerve impulses
  • Polymyositis – infection or inflammation in the muscles
  • Polyneuritis – inflammation of the nerves
  • Embolism – obstruction of blood flow to the spine
  • Aortic embolism – obstruction of blood flow to the back legs
  • Tumors or cancer in the spine or brain
  • Tick paralysis as a result of tick bites
  • Rocky Mountain Fever
  • Botulism – bacterial toxins
  • Myasthenia Gravis – severe muscle weakness
  • Fibrocartilaginous embolism the fluid inside an injured disc enters the arterial system and settles in the spinal cord, creating a permanent embolism, or blockage, is irreversible, but not progressive.
  • Hypothyroidism – Low thyroid level
  • Spinal injury
  • Malformation of the spine or vertebrae


You will need to give a complete history of your dog’s health, the onset of symptoms and possible incidences that may have led to this condition, such as tick bites, or recent injuries from jumping or falling. During the physical exam, your veterinarian will pay close attention to how well your dog is able to move his legs, and how well he is able to respond to reflex tests. The veterinarian will also test your dog’s ability to feel pain on all four legs, control of the head, spine, and legs for signs of pain and alertness to the touch.Perro atropellado y rescatado por perrera de barcelona

All of these things will help your veterinarian locate the place in your dog’s spine, where nerves or muscles are having problems. Basic laboratory tests include a complete blood count, a biochemical profile and a urinalysis, which can determine if your dog has a bacterial infection, a virus or a toxin reaction, which is interfering with nerve pathways. X-ray images of the spine can show evidence of an infection, a malformation of the vertebrae, or a herniated disc that is pressing against the spinal cord. Other conditions that can lead to disruption of nerve pathways may be evident on an X-ray, such as tumors, obstructions, or inflamed nerves.

In some cases, your veterinarian may order a special X-ray called a myelogram. This process uses an injection with a contrast agent (dye) into the spine, followed by X-ray images that will allow the doctor to see the spinal cord and vertebrae in more detail. If these imaging techniques aren’t helpful, your veterinarian may order a computed tomography (CT) scan, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of your dog’s brain and spine, both of which provide a very detailed picture. In some cases, your veterinarian may take a sample of the fluid around the spine, for analysis, or sample of the muscles or nerve fibers for a biopsy. These tests can determine the presence of an infection in the brain or spine.


The course of treatment will depend on the cause of the paralysis. If your dog is unable to walk, urinate, or defecate on his own, he will most likely be admitted to the hospital while his veterinarian will work to deliver a diagnosis. From there your veterinarian will track your dog’s recovery and progress. If your dog is in pain, he will be given medication to help control the pain, the bladder is emptied several times a day by catheter, and your dog will be physically moved to make sure he doesn’t get ulcers from staying in one place for too long. There are several products that will help you spend time still without getting damaged, such as mattresses. If the cause of the paralysis is an infection or a herniated disc, the condition will be treated with either medication, surgery, or therapy. Anti-inflammatory drugs that may be natural and specific such as imflamex will be used to reduce inflammation of the nerves. Tumors or blockages of blood flow can be repaired surgically, depending on the vulnerability of the location. Some paralyzed dogs recover very quickly. Depending on the severity of the illness, your dog may stay in the hospital until he is able to walk, or your veterinarian will decide to send your dog home with a guide to provide care and recovery at home. Your veterinarian will establish a plan to review the progress of your dog’s treatment and adjust it accordingly.

life and a lot!

perro-rodilla-en-la-calleYour veterinarian will help you make a plan for your dog’s care at home. Occasionally, the dog may resist care due to pain, but assertive and gentle care will help decrease fear reactions.

It is important that you take care of your dog properly so that he can fully recover. Carefully follow all instructions from your veterinarian. If your veterinarian has prescribed medication, be sure to administer all treatment, even after your dog appears to have fully recovered. In most cases, a canine wheelchair can be of great help, either for the rehabilitation process or as a simple means of transporting the immobile part of the animal. Most wheelchair dogs adapt very well and continue to enjoy their life.


Ayudas para perros con artrosis


Although genetics is the determining part of dysplasia by 99% percent, it is nutrition that is the most important part. Once you have diagnosed dysplasia you can NOT do anything genetically, you only have to influence nutrition and physiotherapy. It’s that simple.

I teach you five key secrets in nutrition to make your best amig@’s dysplasia more bearable. In addition to an Expert in Canine Nutrition, do not forget to also consult one in canine physiotherapy, it can help you a lot.

Nutrición Ortocanis


Unfortunately the vast majority of commercial veterinary diets for dogs are bad, why? Because they have a lot of carbohydrates in the form of grains and / or cereals, they do it to reduce costs, they are cheaper than animal protein, the nutrient that your dog really needs.

Dietary grains or cereals have been shown in dogs to promote continuous and exaggerated insulin secretion* as well as joint inflammation. I remind you that your dog does not have the physiology to split starches, carbohydrates, that is, grains and cereals. It is a carnivore, do not forget, do not feed it as if it were cow or chicken.


Don’t panic with the name. They are nutrients that promote cartilage health. Patients with dysplasia problems (and arthritis in general) have shown that they can absorb toxic compounds or substances, some of which affect the joints.

How can we lessen this? If you give your perr@ some cartilage (rich in glycosaminoglycans) in the diet, these are poorly absorbed and remain in the intestinal lumen.

Glycosaminoglycans are complex carbohydrates that have the ability to adhere some of these toxic substances on their surface while they are in the lumen of the intestine, and thus be excreted in the excrement without passing into the bloodstream and therefore prevent their arrival and implantation in the joints.

A substitute for cartilage? There are nutritional supplements based on glycosaminoglycans, in short, they are more practical and come concentrated in a pill. There are many brands on the market: Cosequin, Synoquin, Hyal oral…


If I have to choose to be slightly above my weight, I prefer the latter, and the same applies to my dog.

As an Expert in Canine Nutrition, this topic, that of weight, is one of the most recurrent. Owners of puppies of large and/or molossian breeds (mastiffs, Rottweiler, Siberians, shepherds, doges…) want “stuffed” puppies growing as much as possible. Gross error.

Remember, if you want a healthy dog orthopedically weight is key (it also applies to us) Have you seen overweight wolves, lions or hyenas in the wild?

How do you know if your dog is at an appropriate weight? The best allies for this are sight and touch. I recommend you visit the following link so that you learn how to determine the body condition of your dog.


There are many myths in dog nutrition, created, above all, by the pet food industry. I remind you that your dog is a carnivore, every carnivore eats bones in nature, moose, rabbits, all kinds of birds (such as chicken or chicken) and ALL BONES, absolutely all, splinter and do not die!

It refreshes your memory. Commercial foods (pellets) have been massively and widespread in the last two decades. Before everyone gave homemade food (leftovers) including bones.

Bone is a mine of vitamins, fats and minerals of the highest quality, do not forget that bone is mainly made up of minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, fluoride, magnesium … water, and organic matter such as collagen. All of these nutrients are key to bones and joints, among other organs.

By the above I do not mean that you start introducing bones into the diet without knowing. COOKED BONES are the dangerous ones. The best diets are homemade, and if they include bones (RAW) occasionally, better.


If I am given the choice between providing a quality diet for a dog without supplements (the best diets are well-made homemade ones) or a poor quality diet and a quality supplement, I stay with the first without a doubt.

Now, if I can choose for my dog a quality homemade diet, alternated with a commercial diet, also of quality, and added with a specific supplement for his dysplasia problems Bingo!

With the arrival of orthomolecular nutrition (specific nutrients for specific situations) and the advancement of science, many nutrients appear that at the molecular level have a positive impact on the patient with dysplasia problems.

From vitamin E, bioflavonoids to omega three and enzymes. There are more and more of these nutrients for multiple situations. Regarding the subject we are dealing with, dysplasia, it would be something that you should not overlook and ask for advice from a specialist in the subject.

Carlos Alberto Gutierrez / Veterinarian collaborating with Ortocanis.com

Elbow dysplasia is a very common degenerative disease in young dogs. The elbow of dogs is one of the most congruent and stable joints of the body, allowing, due to its complexity, two axes or degrees of supination-pronation movement of the forearm and flexion-extension. Its complexity is given by its composition: humeroradial joint, humeroulnar and, proximal radioulnar.

Elbow dysplasia was initially used to describe the non-union of the anconeal process (AUP). Currently, osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) of the medial condyle of the humerus, the fragment of the coronoid process (FPC) and, the incongruence of the elbow (INC) are also included within this term. When one of these ossification defects occurs in an elbow, inflammation originates and over time an osteoarthritis is triggered in which cartilage degeneration occurs; for that reason, all these conditions are commonly associated with osteoathrosis of this joint and are an important cause of pain and claudication of the forelimbs in large and giant breed dogs such as the German Shepherd, Labrador, St. Bernard, Rottweiler, Neapolitan Mastiff, among others.

Of genetic origin multifactorial, especially in OCD and FPC. It affects males more than females and can occur uni- or bilaterally. The genetic component is the one that has the greatest influence although, the appearance of this pathology can also occur due to food, weight, environment, quality of ligaments, a lot of physical exercise or trauma.

The first symptoms may occur at 4-5 months when the dog shows exercise intolerance, lameness when starting a movement or after prolonged exercise. There are dogs that do not show signs of affection in the elbow until advanced ages where the process of osteoarthritis is very evolved. Others manage to maintain a normal degree of activity throughout their lives.

The fact of making a premature radiological diagnosis makes it possible to establish an adequate treatment and avoids the formation of osteoarthritis that produces pain and functional limitation of the elbow throughout the life of the animal. The diagnosis can be complemented with diagnostic tests such as CT or MRI

The evolution depends on the degree and type of injury, but it is usually unfavorable without surgery. Surgical treatment is good if degenerative changes in the joint have not yet occurred. In any case it is necessary to perform a good rehabilitation in order to:

  • Speed up the recovery process
  • Eliminate pain and inflammation
  • Decrease lameness
  • Maintain and/or improve range of motion
  • Maintain muscle tone, mass and strength
  • Minimize or slow down the effects of joint degeneration – osteoarthritis
  • Avoid compensation at the level of the neck, spine and extremities
  • Give the maximum capacities so that the animal is functional and that it, with a good quality of life

Physiotherapy treatment varies depending on the animal and the state of the lesion. It is important to start as soon as possible with the treatment so that it is effective and, to avoid drying them as reduced mobility and / or chronic pain.

The animal goes through different phases until its full recovery. It is essential to gradually achieve the objectives set. The recovery process is terminated when the animal is able to perform daily activities.

During the first three days after the intervention, it is important to act on inflammation and pain and prevent muscle atrophy and decrease in the joint arch from appearing. For this, passive techniques are used that reduce inflammation, produce analgesia and help maintain tone, mass and the arc of mobility. Among these techniques there are electrotherapy (segmental TENS and muscle electrostimulation), massage, passive mobilizations and cryotherapy (cold).

In older dogs or dogs that have not been intervened, the objectives will be the same as in animals that have gone through an intervention. It is important to eliminate pain because, with pain you can not work.

It is important from the beginning to massage and move the affected elbow as long as there is no veterinary contraindication and, respecting in the case of fixation, the period of healing and union of the fixed parts. Massaging and moving the affected area and limb helps maintain mobility, prevents loss of mass and tone and works the proprioceptors.


A gentle mobilization combined with different massage techniques help decrease inflammation and reduce pain.

With TENSat the segmental level we can produce analgesia and decrease the amount of drugs administered. There are animals that have intolerance to certain drugs that produce analgesia and with TENS the pain can be reduced. TenS can also be used directly on the injured or operated area, as long as there is no osteosynthesis material underneath, since an internal burn could occur.

Muscle electrostimulationhelps prevent the onset of atrophy and maintain muscle mass and tone. With electrical stimuli we can stimulate nerve conduction.

At the beginning and end of the session the coldis used since it has properties that act on the decrease of the inflammatory response, edema and pain.

From the fourth day and during the next two weeks when the inflammation and pain have disappeared it is time to introduce simple active exercises such as shaking hands or small walks on a leash to force the animal to make an equal support with the four limbs and thus, prevent a decompensation between limbs from appearing due to not having a correct support on the ground. The walks is an exercise that increases the duration until full recovery.

Once the stitches have been removed, the animal can be introduced into the water. The advantages of water are used to improve recovery. Hydrotherapy (underwater treadmill) facilitates the station of the animal without loss of balance and, thanks to flotation, without having to support all its weight. In addition, flotation allows animals with bone pain and low muscle mass to work. The pressure of the water exerted on the body of the animal increases the sensitivity and decreases inflammations and edemas. The work in the water, underwater tapes or swimming increases as the animal recovers. In addition, with water, we can recover the motor pattern, increase mass, tone and strength, work on respiratory capacity and maintain and / or improve mobility.

Once the acute phase has passed 48-72 hours and without risk of infection or inflammation, heat can be introduced that helps to elastify the tissues, decreases pain and increases vascularization among others.

The use of boards, plates, balls and trampolines are important to work on balance, proprioception and above all the integration of the affected limb.

It is already in the last phase, from two weeks, when the dog has integrated the gait pattern, exercises are performed to improve the quality of movement. They are more complex active exercises to integrate the affected limb or limbs. With active and proprioception exercises it is possible to increase muscle tone, mass and strength; coordination and balance and range of motion are worked on. Rails with different surfaces, cones, bars, circuits, up and down stairs and ramps (staircase with inclined plane) are used.

Throughout the recovery treatment and in animals with developed osteoarthritis it is essential to reduce the weight on the joints of the elbows. For this purpose , special support harnesses for elbows are used. In addition to decreasing weight, pain is reduced and does not hinder movement, the animal feels more comfortable; the joint is protected at all times from chafing and blows and helps maintain the heat that the animal gives off, which leads to a relief of the affected area.

At home, special care should be taken for animals suffering from elbow conditions. This care is necessary during and after treatment:

  • Avoid slippery floors
  • Avoid ramps and stairs at the beginning of treatment in operated animals and in animals that do conservative treatment. Once rehabilitated, ramps can be used to help get on the sofa and the car, since it is recommended that they do not do it alone, there could be a recidivism.
  • It is recommended that they rest on soft and clean surfaces, but that they are firm enough to help the incorporation of the animal thermal mattress for dogs
  • Keep skin clean and dry skin
  • Use special plates at your height so as not to strain the elbow joints
  • Correct diet and weight control. Being overweight harms the joints and generates more pain for the animal

It is very important to create an exercise routine and environment to help keep the animal comfortable and with quality of life.

Orthocanis Team