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Skip Navigation LinksCVMBS Home > Veterinary Teaching Hospital > For Small Animals > Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation > Our Specialized Technology and Treatment Options
Our Specialized Technology and Treatment Options

Diagnostic Equipment:

Nuclear scintigraphy helps identify where the problem is located. It injects radioisotopes into the blood stream, and the emitted radiation is measured by specific detectors (gamma cameras). This can be useful to diagnose/locate ‘mysterious’ lameness problems.

Ultrasound is frequently used to diagnose soft tissue injuries such as muscle or tendon problems.

Magnetic resonance imaging produces highly detailed images of the musculoskeletal system and can often give us information about soft tissues, such as muscles, ligament, and tendons, that other imaging methods cannot reveal.

CT scan, dog

Computed tomography produces highly detailed 3D images of the musculoskeletal system that is not possible with X-rays. Unlike some CT scanners typically found in a veterinary setting, the high speed of our unit's image acquisition allows us to perform scans on an outpatient basis using only short-acting sedation, rather than general anesthesia. Increased speed also means increased efficiency, so the cost is exceptionally affordable.

Pet CT

​PET/CT can help us to identify ‘mysterious’ muscle issues. This diagnostic tool combines traditional CT with positron emission tomography, where a radioisotope is injected into the blood stream (similar to nuclear scintigraphy) and gives us an idea of how hard certain tissues are working metabolically. The CT aspect of PET/CT enables us to construct 3D images of the metabolic picture that positron emission tomography provides. The image to the left is showing PET images of increased 18F-FDG (a glucose analog) uptake in the right flexor carpi ulnaris muscle.  (Normal radionuclide uptake in the brain, zygomatic and mandibular salivary glands, and vocal folds is also present.)

student working with cells

Stem cell therapy is a fairly new addition to our canine treatment options for many diseases, including: arthritis, tendon and neurologic injuries. Similar to the discussion in the human world, there is a lot of hope that this treatment will change veterinary medicine greatly. At CSU we use bone-marrow-derived stem cells used extensively in horses by our colleagues in the equine clinic.

Blood samples

PRP was recently introduced to the veterinary world to improve bone healing and treat common issues like arthritis and tendon injuries. PRP is made by spinning the patient’s own blood to concentrate the content of platelets. The gained concentrate is injected into the injured tendon/joint/bone. Though less costly than stem cell therapy, further research is needed to investigate the efficacy of this treatment.

Theraputic ultrasound on a dog

Therapeutic ultrasound is the application of sound waves to injured tissues. The sound waves can decrease acute swelling or increase flexibility of chronically tight tissues. The therapeutic ultrasound is commonly used to prepare tissues for manual therapy treatments.

 

Using a small fiberoptic, rigid tube (arthroscope) we can examine, diagnose, and treat joint damage. This is the best way to diagnose cartilage injuries and may be needed in addition to non-invasive diagnostic tools (ultrasound, CT and MRI). Arthroscopy may also be used to treat a variety of conditions of the elbow, shoulder and knee joints.

Non-Surgical Treatments:

Zach getting laser therapy

Cold laser therapy is a beam of laser light applied through an aperture. The light enters the body and has physiological effects used for pain relief and to accelerate tissue healing. The cold laser can be used as a stand-alone treatment or to prepare the body for other treatments, such as manual therapy or stretching.

Dog getting shockwave therapy

Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy is the application of sound waves applied through an aperture. Shockwaves are high pressure waves that travel through soft tissues but release their energy at tissue sites of greater densities (such as where bone and tendon meet). This release of energy activates tissue healing in a powerful fashion (shockwaves are used in people to break up kidney stones). Shockwave therapy is often used to treat ligament and tendon conditions as well as arthritis. It can also be used to accelerate bone healing.

Clair getting electrical stimulation

Electrical stimulation is used to treat pain and aid with tissue healing and reversal of muscle atrophy. Small electrodes are placed over the painful or injured tissue, and a small electrical current is sent through the electrodes promoting pain management or tissue healing.

small animal underwater treadmill

The underwater treadmill provides buoyancy to the body and resistance to the limbs to normalize gait, recondition muscles and increase weight bearing capabilities. The underwater treadmill can be used after surgery or for muscle strengthening for chronic conditions such as arthritis.

Sasha Foster and Owen on the wobble board

Therapeutic exercise uses fitness equipment such as blocks, balance discs, wobble boards, therapy balls and exercise bands to strengthen and recondition muscles. Patients often receive home exercise programs that include therapeutic exercise.

Clair the Great Dane getting manual therapy

Manual therapy is the application of forces through a therapist’s hands to mobilize tight muscles or joints. This treatment is used to decrease pain, increase range of motion, and increase flexibility.

Zach on the land treadmill

For animals that are unable to use the underwater treadmill due to recent surgical incisions, skin issues or medical contraindications (such as a history of cardiac disease), the land treadmill is used for gait training and muscle reconditioning.

A dog using the Lite Gait in the Small Animal Sports Medicine group

Lite Gait is used for gait training patients who are unable to weight bear through their limbs. The Lite Gait supports the body with a sling allowing the therapist to manually move the limbs so the patient can walk with assistance. The Lite Gait may be used in conjunction with the land treadmill.

game ready device

Game Ready dry cold compression provides a combination of icing and compression in an automated fashion. It is used to reduce post-operative swelling and to control pain. At CSU, Game Ready is used after every surgical intervention, but it can also be used for animals with sprains or strains that don’t require surgery.

Peanut Stretching

Sports conditioning promotes the highest level of conditioning for a particular activities. It may include treadmill work, balance work, strengthening exercises and sport-specific training. The purpose of conditioning is to increase competitiveness or return to competition after medical treatment of an injury.