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Posted on 12-19-2013

After going for a while without a new blog post (miss us??), we're back for the holiday season with a story about our brush with greatness!  Have you ever come face to face with a living sports legend?  You know, maybe had a chance to shake Al Kaline's hand, or ask Mia Hamm for her autograph, or get your picture taken with Joe Dumars?  Well, here at Parkway Animal Clinic we haven't had the opportunity to do any of those things (at least not yet!) but we have gotten to give pets and dog biscuits, plus some therapy, to an honest-to-goodness retired sports superstar named Xandr.

Xandr is a 16 year old Jack Russell terrier (JRT for short) who's been coming in to the clinic for some laser treatments to help speed her healing after some over-exuberant tumbling around with her younger canine housemates.  We thought Xandr might be an interesting dog to feature in a blog post about our laser therapy option, since we knew she'd been very active in the dog sport of flyball in her younger years.  "Oh, yes," Xandr's owner said when we asked her a bit about Xandr's glory days.  "She hasn't raced in a long time and I'm not sure where she is in the standings now, but she was the first JRT to earn 100,000 points in flyball."  Well, that certainly got our attention!

For those of you who are not familiar, flyball is a tremendously exciting team relay race for dogs.  In any specific heat, two teams consisting of four dogs (and their four handlers) send one dog at a time down side-by-side courses.  Each dog jumps four hurdles on the course, triggers the release of a ball at the far end of the course, and returns with the ball to the start, and at that moment his or her next teammate starts a run down the course.  The first team to have all four dogs run error-free wins the heat.  Many heats make up a tournament, of course, before the winning teams are determined. For active, intelligent dogs with a lot of drive, flyball is a wonderful outlet--and also great fun for the dogs, owners, and spectators.  It is open to all dogs including mixed breeds and all purebreds.  Teams are divided into divisions by speed--dogs compete in their division against others of similar ability, so slower dogs and beginners have a place in the sport, too.

As for little Xandr, whose glorious accomplishments we did not at first suspect from her sweet ways and calm, affectionate manner, she definitely is one of the sport's shining examples.  If we're ever lucky enough to meet Joe Dumars or Al Kaline or Mia Hamm, we'd immediately be checking out their lifetime statistics online... and it didn't take us long to do the same for our newest sports idol.  We went to the website for the North American Flyball Association (NAFA), the sport's top sanctioning organization, and found out some pretty impressive facts about our little friend.  Xandr competed from 1998 to 2009, and she is still the number 3 ranked Jack Russell terrier, based on points won in races, ever.  That's out of 1577 registered JRT's, as of the date of this writing, and even though Xandr's been retired for over four years.  Oh, and among all dogs ever registered with NAFA--over 25,000--Xandr still ranks 15th. Yeah, and we actually know her!  And she likes us!  Okay, she probably likes anyone with a kind word or a dog cookie.  (Or both.  We're pretty confident she prefers both).

Ahem.  Before we got all star-struck, this blog was going to be about laser therapy at Parkway Animal Clinic.  (Remember?)  This is a treatment option Dr. Sutton is very pleased to be able to offer to her patients, as it fits very well into her philosophy of using non-invasive, alternative therapies when appropriate to lessen the need for medications if possible, and to work with an animal's own natural ability to heal.  When you think of "lasers" in a medical setting, you may think of surgical lasers, but the laser  we use at Parkway is a class !V "cold" laser.  We use a hand-held probe to deliver electromagnetic energy directly to whatever tissue needs the therapy.  The wavelengths used in this technology are in the visible spectrum, so this is also known as "light therapy."   The electromagnetic energy interacts chemically and biologically with the tissues, leading to reduced inflammation, decreased pain, faster healing, increased blood flow, reduced scar tissue, quicker recovery of nerve function in damaged tissue, and better immune response, while having no effect on healthy tissue.

We have several years experience now using the laser on dogs and cats (and one chicken named Stewie, but we don't really want to talk about that one, do we, Susan?)  Each patient has his or her own treatment plan developed by Dr. Sutton, which often involves a series of three to six treatments, 24 to 48 hours apart.  Treatments generally take two and a half to ten minutes a visit, are not painful or uncomfortable for the pet, and the owner can stay in the room during the treatment.  We have seen very encouraging responses to this therapy in animals with arthritis, muscle spasms, back and joint pain, sprains and strains, intervertebral disc disease, post-surgical recovery issues, injuries and wounds (including hot spots), even chronic ear infections.  In the case of age-associated arthritis, which is a condition we commonly treat with laser therapy, Dr. Sutton has found that this will often significantly delay the need for non-steroidal anti-inflamatories for the pets (and thus the associated side effects of medications).  Laser therapy can also be used in conjunction with conventional medications and other treatments when indicated. 

So if your cat or dog has any aches or pains and deserves the same care as a retired sports superstar, you should give us a call!  Just kidding, but we do think all our patients are stars.  Not every one of them has been nominated for their sport's Hall of Fame, perhaps--Xandr is nominated this year for the NAFA Hall of Fame, for real, and voting is in January, so move over Kaline, Hamm, and Dumars!  But at the end of the day, Xandr goes home and snuggles up as a loved pet (in a household of dogs that also includes Rory, a dog who is on the flyball team holding the current world record time, so apparently they are eating the dog equivalent of Wheaties in that house...)  As we keep our fingers crossed for Xandr, we'll be looking out for all your superstar pets too.  Pretty much, we figure they all want to feel better, plus a kind word and a treat or two don't often go astray either.  Happy holidays to all our two legged and four legged friends!


Lisa said:

I always thought my son, Rudy, would be great at flyball. Fun story!

2014-01-07 16:35:50

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