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Buddy’s Story: Cleveland Veterinarian Uses Technology to Help Dogs in Pain

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Is your pet in pain?

It’s a common question for pet parents who want the best for furry family members and, as your friendly neighborhood veterinarians in Cleveland, it’s our job to offer as many ways as possible to identify and manage the pain that your pets experience.

The trouble is, our animals aren’t all that good at telling us what is troubling them or how much it hurts.

Consider these stats:

  • 20% of adult dogs are estimated to experience pain from arthritis, rising to 40% for senior dogs. (Dogs and cats are considered senior when the pass eight years old.)
  • 30% of adult cats have arthritis, while up to 60% of senior cats could suffer from arthritic pain as they age.
  • 60% of the dogs we see and 50% of the cats have some form of pain associated with dental disease.

Add in unpleasant things like ear infections, joint aches and post-surgery pain to those common complaints and there are plenty of ways your pet could be hurting, without being able to communicate it clearly to you.

Buddy’s Story: Cleveland Veterinarian Uses Technology to Help Dogs in Pain

Despite this, we all know when something isn’t quite right with our four-legged family members. Most of us spend so much time with our pets that even a small change in behavior doesn’t go unnoticed. It’s our reaction to such changes and knowing what to look for at home that helps to tell us when it’s time to visit an emergency vet clinic. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, of course, so any concerns you have are always worth running by a veterinary expert.

Even when a furry family member gets to us, there’s still a lot of work to be done isolating where pain exists, its potential causes, and working out a treatment plan that works for both patient and pet parent.

That’s where some technology often overlooked by other animal hospitals comes in…

Buddy’s Story: Laser Therapy Saves the Day!

Buddy Dunger isn’t just one of the most adorable senior Golden Retrievers you’ll ever meet, he’s also a prime example of how using emerging technology to alleviate pain in pets is a runaway success story for our medical team.

Buddy is 13 years young and glowing in his golden years. That wasn’t the case when he came to us earlier this summer, though, when his family noticed him slowing down and sometimes dragging his hind legs instead of walking normally. They brought him to Big Creek to see why this was happening and what kind of pain Buddy was experiencing.

Dr. Fegan identified areas of inflammation around Buddy’s hips and was able to diagnose arthritis without needing any X-rays.

Here’s what she has to say about Buddy’s case and the technology that was used to diagnose him:

“Often owners will assume that slowing down is a normal part of the aging process, but sometimes it’s more a case of your pet being in pain and unable to move so well.

Some slowdown is natural, but in Buddy’s case, as with many dogs and cats we see, there was a health problem that needed to be treated. Unlike people, our pets can’t tell us how much it hurts, so we were glad Buddy’s mom brought her baby in to have us help him with our infrared imaging and laser therapy equipment.”

Thermal Imaging - Discover Where it Hurts

Infrared imaging – also known as Digital Thermal Imaging – measures radiated energy and clearly presents pain points with vivid color images.

Doctors Fegan, Souders, and Zabik are the only veterinarians in Cleveland to have this infrared camera available to help identify pain in a way that is completely safe and requires no drugs. By analyzing these images, they can use their extensive experience to zero in pain points and explain the cause to owners with a clear visual aid.

That last point on medication is important, because Buddy’s mom didn’t want drugs or any invasive treatment, so the medical team turned to technology again and suggested she try laser treatment for her pup. This new service uses targeted light on the surface of your pet’s skin to stimulate cell regeneration and increase the circulation of blood.

Laser therapy has proved very popular since we started to offer the service. Our veterinarians and clients like it for three main reasons:

  1. It reduces inflammation,
  2. It visibly reduces pain levels for your pet,
  3. It promotes quicker healing, so your furry friend is pain-free for longer.

Before and after thermal image from Buddy

All of which is why we share his story, because Buddy’s doting mom is now happy to report excellent progress for her golden boy!

He no longer drags his rear legs, has increased energy, and the inflammation we found early on has completely gone. The before and after images you see in this section show clearly show that progress in a way that any owner can visualize and easily understand.

To put it simply, in his mom’s words: “Buddy has the pep back in his step!”

New Technology Advances the Ability of a Veterinarian

There’s no doubt that technology significantly shapes the way we work to protect your pet.

Although it is no substitute for pure veterinary experience and getting to know the dogs, cats, and pocket pets we examine on a regular basis, new technology like thermal imaging and laser therapy helps us to identify the origins of pain in your pet more quickly, then create an effective healing plan with more tools at our disposal.

What makes this even more exciting for us is that Big Creek Pet Hospital is the first veterinarian in Cleveland to offer pet parents this technology for pain identification and treatment.

Buddy and friend wearing goggles

In Buddy’s case this made all the difference, as his mom didn’t want to use drugs but definitely wanted to take action to ease her boy’s pain. In an affordable way, we were able to honor this preference and bring Buddy back to a place where he can walk without difficulty or distress.

Your furry family members can now be treated in a non-invasive way at this crucial early stage of injury detection, preventing serious, even life-threatening health problems further down the line. For pets this means a more comfortable life; for pet parents the technique saves time, stress, and money.

In assessing the laser’s effectiveness, Dr. Fegan’s estimates that four out of five pets she has treated have benefited from laser therapy. That’s a success rate that any veterinarian would be happy to hit, and why Buddy Dunger is now walking around happily at home, his pain a distant memory thanks to his observant mom!

For more information on using Laser Therapy for pain relief for you pet, click here.

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