Physical Therapy

June Patient of the Month

Raji and mom

Raji's Story

Raji started coming to the VMC in the summer of 2013, when he was 12 years old. He had been showing some signs of arthritis, especially in his back legs and part of his back. Sometimes he was also reluctant to go out on walks and we started to wonder if he might be having some pain. We’d gotten him on some supplements that our veterinarian (Dr. Capparelli) recommended (which definitely helped). However, it seemed like he needed something else to help with the stiffness and increasing reluctance to walk for as long as he used to. Our vet thought acupuncture from Dr. Fleckenstein here at the VMC might help to reduce pain and increase mobility.

Raji started seeing Dr. Fleckenstein and right away we noticed a decrease in the amount of twitching in his back when we petted him in certain areas. He also seemed to have more energy, and he was more interested for his normal walks. He also liked coming to see Dr. Fleckenstein and Sue, who assists with most of our visits and also gives great massages and treats! There is always a calm atmosphere and I think Raj feels very cared for. Dr. Fleckenstein has definitely helped with keeping Raj comfortable in his own body as he ages. She has helped to keep down pain and inflammation from arthritis, and worked out trigger points with the laser and needle acupuncture. Dr. Fleckenstein also recommended a ramp for getting him in and out of the car. This ramp has been so helpful, and it is light and easy to set up; he couldn’t get in the car without it!

In the fall of 2014, Raj started seeing Lis for Physical Rehabilitation. Dr. Fleckenstein recommended her and said she could add another dimension to his care. Lis started doing laser therapy and massage to release the increasing number of trigger points he had, and also made exercise suggestions for home. He liked coming for the rehab sessions and was very comfortable with her and her caring, gentle and friendly demeanor. At first Raji had to get up a few times during the sessions to “shake out” after her manual trigger point release, but as Lis worked with him and the trigger points became fewer, he could sit for whole sessions quite often as she worked her trigger point release magic! Lis also shows me various exercises to do with him. She gave some simple exercises and massage techniques for us to do at home to keep his range of motion as good as possible. We also do the massage techniques she shows us so we can keep some of the trigger points at bay. With the sessions with Lis, we can see changes in Raji immediately: he seems brighter and moves better after she works out all the kinks!

Raji

Just a few days ago, unfortunately, Raji had a vestibular episode. Our vet and the folks at VMC were kind enough to lend a hand. The VMC lent us a special harness to help him get up and walk. So far, he hasn’t been successful, but we are working on bringing him back to his old self. It is nice to know everyone is concerned and willing to help Raji get better. We look forward to resuming his therapies soon!

~McCoy Family

Diagnosis:

  • Rhinitis & Sinusitis
  • Presumptive Hind End Osteoarthritis & Weakness
  • Compensating Muscle Pain
  • Myofascial Trigger Points
  • Vestibular Syndrome

Treatment:

  • Acupuncture
  • Lacer Acupuncture
  • Low Level Laser Therapy
  • Dry Needle Trigger Point Therapy
  • Soft Tissue Mobilization
  • Myofascial Trigger Point Release (Manual)
  • Home Exercise Program
  • Medications, Multiple Herbal Therapies, Supplements

 

VMC's May Patient of the Month

Petunia's Story

Petunia

Petunia was the runt of her litter and we believe that is why her spirit is especially strong.  Since the day she came home with her brother Ruben, she has made it very clear that she is the alpha.  Although she may be tiny, she has always gone out of her way to prove that she is the ruler of the roost. It is especially humorous since Ruben and the rest of the animals could not care less.

At her very first vet visit, the doctor warned that she was a 'lemon' and she should be returned to the breeder. Obviously, this was out of the question.  Shortly after several consultations, she was taken to Los Angeles at just 3 months old to have surgery on her heart.  The procedure was very successful, reducing her heart murmur significantly. We were so relieved and Petunia's new strength was remarkable. Growing up in Sunny San Diego, the two Frenchies frequented dog beaches and parks; playing fetch was their favorite thing to do!  Petunia was fast and coordinated, bounding to get her ball. Unlike her brother who often tumbled and fumbled the ball -- he usually held on to it for dear life, knowing Petunia would happily have both balls to herself.

It was not until Petunia was 9 years old that she showed a change in her gait.  At first it was just once and a while, when running full speed for her ball, that her hind legs would go limp. She hardly seemed to notice and would still propel herself for the ball.  After several similar occurrences, we decided to have her seen by a neurosurgeon in Northern San Diego. After examining her, it was predicted that she had bulging discs in two parts of her spine. An MRI would confirm if surgery was even an option, knowing that surgery would only prevent more damage from being done, but would not reverse any of the immobility that she was already experiencing. With Petunia's heart condition and age, anesthesia for the MRI was not encouraged, let alone for the intensive surgery that may follow. The doctors noted that any pain she was experiencing was not affecting her attitude or eating habits and that we should proceed by minimizing her exertion at the park and try some anti-inflammatories to see if that may relieve any pressure in her spinal column. She tested out some mild steroids with little benefits.

Meanwhile, a move to Boston was in process and soon she met with the doctors at Angell Medical Hospital.  First she saw the neurosurgeons and heart specialist, seeking second opinions and advice on how to proceed.  At this point she was becoming more and more wobbly in her hips- coined as 'drunken sailor' movement.  Her spirit was still strong, but she was not able to move like she once had.  After concluding that any operation was too risky with no guarantee of positive results, she went to see Dr. Lisa Moses for acupuncture. After Petunia's first visit with Dr. Moses, she was noticeably more comfortable and showed strong action in her hind quarters. She found relief from pain and reduced inflammation immediately and it seemed like a miracle. As almost two years passed, Petunia's condition did continue to worsen, as expected.  She tried out water therapy and was fitted for some wheels. Still, it was obvious how much she rebounded after acupuncture. Her relief was visible and her love for Dr. Moses was palpable.

Petunia and Ruben 2

When Petunia moved to the Syracuse area, Dr. Moses recommended the VMC and Dr. Fleckenstein. For almost a year now she has been working with Dr. Fleckenstein and Lis. For the first time she was given exercises and stretches to work on at home. She started taking Chinese Herbs and has minimized her steroid intake, with positive results.  She looks forward to her weekly visits to see Dr. Fleckenstein, Sue, and our other lovely assistants. With ample treats and comfy bedding always set up, Ruben enjoys almost as much pampering when he comes along to accompany his sister. Together, we are all forever grateful for their tender and thoughtful care.  We simply cannot thank you enough!

~Gregg Family

Diagnosis:

  • Hind Limb Paraparesis Secondary to Presumptive Intervertebral Disc Disease and Congenital Vertebral Abnormalities

Treatment:

  • Acupuncture, Electroacupuncture & Lacer Acupuncture for Pain, Nerve Stimulation, Heart Disease, Urinary and Immune Support & General Well Being.
  • Methyl Prednisone, Gabapentin, Chinese Herbal Formula—Loranthus Powder
  • Canine Cart
  • Under Water Treadmill, Low Level Laser Therapy for muscle spasms and Home Exercise & Stretching Program including Home Water Therapy

April Physical Rehab Patient of the Month

Truman's Story

Truman

Truman has been part of our family for nearly 14 years!  He has been a wonderful pet and everyone who comes in contact with him loves him.  We think he is so smart and that is why we have nicknamed him, “Truman the Human”!

Truman had his left elbow operated on by the veterinarians at Cornell when he was two. The Cornell vets had to remove Truman’s cartilage in his left elbow and soon after Truman developed arthritis in that same joint.  As a result, Truman’s activities have been limited to walking and swimming; no running.

Last year we were having dinner and Truman, who normally sits between us to beg for part of our food, was not interested in eating and he could not get up off the floor. We brought Truman to the Veterinary Medical Center where he was diagnosed with a bacterial infection in that same left elbow. We were told that antibiotics do not work well against infections in a joint and that the best way to combat the infection was to operate and drain the elbow infection. The vets at Veterinary Medical Center performed the operation and Truman made a very good recovery.

Truman now comes to get physical rehabilitation on his elbow. Lis Conarton is Truman’s physical rehabilitation provider. I know that Lis loves Truman and that Truman loves coming to the Veterinary Medical Center to see her. Truman gets a laser treatment on his joints and then a deep massage. Truman’s favorite activity with Lis is going in the underwater treadmill.  Lis makes Truman walk on the treadmill for about 15 minutes but then the real fun begins; playing fetch with a tennis ball! Lis throws the ball to Truman and he will either catch it or if the ball lands in the water, he will lunge for it. Truman is very focused on the ball and he gets so excited that he will bark at Lis to throw him the ball again and again.

Truman golfing

I believe that the physical rehabilitation treatments that Truman receives at the Veterinary Medical Center have added to Truman’s qualify of life. Because of the rehabilitation Truman receives, he is able to stay in shape to go swimming in Cazenovia Lake in the summer. Further, the treatments have enabled Truman to be with our family whenever possible. When we start to leave the house Truman will give us, “the look” that he wants to come with us. Many thanks to Lis and the staff at the Veterinary Medical Center.

~The Gerber Family

Diagnosis:

  • Left Elbow Infection
  • Degenerative Joint Disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Compensatory Muscle Strain

Treatments:

  • Multimodal Pain Management (with Truman’s Primary Veterinarian)
  • Joint Supplementation
  • Low Level Laser Therapy
  • Joint Mobilization
  • Myofascial Release
  • Hydrotherapy/Underwater Treadmill Therapy
  • Home Exercise Program including his favorite activity, Swimming!!!

 

March Patient of the Month

Sophia's Story

Sophia Robinson

 

Sophia is a 6 ½ year old German Shepherd. She has always been an old soul whose demeanor  has changed the minds of numerous people who used to be apprehensive of German Shepherds. She brings countless joy to everyone she meets. Unfortunately, when she was two, she was diagnosed with hip dysplasia. The medications she was put on made her a zombie, so we proceeded to seek out alternative pain management. After asking countless dog friends, the answer was unanimous that we must go see “Dr. Polly.” Her acupuncture treatments became a true pleasure for Sophia. She looks forward to seeing Dr. Polly Fleckenstein, Sue and all the CCRs at VMC. She goes from obvious pain on the way there, to acting like a puppy when she is done with her treatment.

About 8 months ago Sophie fell going up the stairs at our house. We immediately went for an acupuncture treatment and then to Dr. Lee.  Between Dr. Polly and Dr. Lee they realized that Sophie was suffering from nerve pain in her back. Dr. Robinson was suggested by many friends and vets as our next step.  After looking at her x-rays he determined that she needed an MRI at Cornell to confirm that she had Lumbosacral Syndrome.  Once that was confirmed she was put on a medication and acupuncture therapy.  It didn’t take my husband and I long to realize that we needed to treat this more aggressively, as she was not getting better. She was no longer “our Sophia” as she was sad and zombie-like.

Sophia Robinson 2

After a wonderful consult with Dr. Robinson discussing exactly what the surgery and rehab would entail, we then decided surgery was our best option. Post-op after surgery, we saw an immediate change; her eyes were SO beautiful and back to how they were before all of the pain! Since surgery we have been back to acupuncture and even added physical rehabilitation with Lis! Sophia loves all the attention of doing her exercises and massages with me! The WHOLE team at VMC has made it so that I have my Sophia back. Not only me, Sophia will be headed back to her role as a therapy dog as well!  Because of VMC and Sophia’s “team” she is again bringing joy to everyone she meets and living a full, pain-free life!

~Robinson Family

 

Diagnosis:

  • Chronic Mild Hip Dysplasia
  • Lumbosacral Disease
  • Thoracolumbar Osteoarthritis

Treatment:

  • Dorsal Laminectomy surgery
  • Electroacupuncture
  • Low Level laser therapy
  • Myofascial Trigger Point Release
  • Massage & Joint Mobilization
  • Underwater Treadmill Therapy
  • Therapeutic Exercise  Program
  • Cosequin DS
  • Duralactin
  • Gabapentin
  • EFA supplementation

 

 

 

 

August Pain Management Patient of the Month

Lady's Story Lady August 2015

Owning a pair of dachshunds with “dog-a-titude” can make for some interesting adventures for their owners. Our first adventure started with one of Lady and Jackson’s play sessions in 2011. We heard a yip from Lady as she ran under our bed. Unfortunately for Lady, she had run into a wire from one of the support beams for the bed frame. This had pierced a hole in her back.

In a panic, we contacted the Veterinary Medical Center and they advised us to bring her in immediately through the Emergency Service. Upon arrival, the staff had taken Lady in for evaluation and found that, she would need to undergo surgery to repair the hole and she had intervertebral disk disease (IVDD). Needless to say, we moved forward with the surgery and discussed our options for the IVDD. Initially, Lady was treated with antibiotics, Metacam and Tramadol. Once the wound was healed we no longer needed the antibiotics, but continued with the Metacam and Tramadol for the IVDD. We did not like the idea of keeping Lady on the Metacam, Tramadol, and Gabapentin so we looked at holistic options such as: physical therapy, acupuncture, veterinary spinal manipulation therapy (VSMT), and laser treatments.

We started bi-weekly treatments of acupuncture, spinal manipulation, and laser treatments with Dr. Polly Fleckenstein. Also, during our visits with Polly we also learned how to give Lady doggie massages. Since Lady also needed to strengthen her muscles in her legs and back, we also worked with Lis Conarton and the physical rehabilitation service. Lis started Lady with simple stretches and worked her way up to the underwater treadmill. Seeing my little dachshund wearing a life jacket and walking on the underwater treadmill was quite a sight!

Lady and Jackson August 2015

At this point in time Lady has finished her physical therapy and is making monthly visits to Dr. Fleckenstein for her acupuncture, VSMT and laser treatments. As a matter of fact, when we tell Lady that she is going to visit Dr. Fleckenstein she heads to the door with her tail wagging. We cannot say enough about the professional staff and services that are offered at the Veterinary Medical Center of CNY. We have been truly blessed to have found such a wonderful gifted staff. ~The Kleinwaks Family

Lady's Problem: Intervertebral Disc Disease

Current Treatments:

  • Electroacupuncture & Lacer Acupuncture every 4-6 weeks
  • Veterinary Spinal Manipulation Therapy every 4-6 weeks
  • Home exercise program including massage, stretches & exercise
  • Multi-Modal Pain Management Program

November 2014 VMC Pain Management Service Patient of the Month

VMC Pain Management Service's Patient of the Month

November 2014

Coco

Coco 11-14

CoCo:

  • 17 year old Shih-Tzu
  • Cervical Pain and Right Forelimb Lameness

Current Treatments:

  • Multi Modal Pain Management Program
  • Acupuncture
  • Mobilization & Massage
  • Laser Therapy
  • Home Exercise Program
  • Nutrition & Supplements

In August of 2013 we thought we would have to put down our beloved Coco. He was suffering from severe back pain. At times he could not lie down. Coco was in a great deal of pain. Walking was very difficult also, so much so that we would carry him around. We had Coco on many medications for the pain, however, it was not enough. At times he was still barely able to walk.

Coco 11-14We were recommended to the Veterinary Medical Center by our veterinarian Dr. Megan Williams from Animal Wellness of Skaneateles. Dr. Williams thought that with a good evaluation by their Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon, Dr. Robinson, they could make some recommendations for other therapies that Coco may benefit from.  Those therapies turned out to be acupuncture with Dr. Michelle Burnett and Physical Rehabilitation with laser treatments with Lis Conarton. Lis showed my husband and I how to work through Coco's exercises. Dr. Burnett was so patient with Coco while trying to get his needles in place for his acupuncture. Who knew that a 10 lb dog needed two people to hold him in place at times?

The first month brought very good results. Coco was 17 yrs. old at this time. His gait became much stronger and more balanced and his pain was much less. We have worked with Dr. Burnett on his pain management medications. This took some trial and error, but we were fortunate to get the right combination of meds to help manage Coco’s pain. At first we started coming every 2 weeks for treatments and after a few months were able to taper off to once a month which is where he continues today.

All this hard work paid off. Over one year later we are still going once a month.  Coco will be 18 years young in February. He is able to get around fine now: at times he will even attempt to sit up on his hind legs which he used to do all the time. When he is feeling really good (which is most days now) he will run around  the back yard like he used to.

VMC151

Without all the hard work of Dr. Burnett and Lis, Coco would not have the quality of life he has gotten back. Like for all of us it is all about the quality of life and being able to enjoy it. You can tell from his picture he has it back!!!! Thank You Dr. Burnett & Lis                                                                                                          ~ Coco’s Family

“Education may be key in understanding the link between species, however one will learn the most while quietly observing.”

~Lis Conarton