National Specially Abled Pets Day

Posted In: Behavior & Training, Feline Health & Wellness, Canine Health & Wellness

May 3rd is National Specially Abled Pets Day (formerly “Disabled Pets Day”), a day to celebrate these amazing and heroic animals, help to educate the public about caring for differently abled pets, and find homes for those without one. Originally founded in 2006, the decision was made to change the name when founder and Animal Rescue Advocate Colleen Paige felt that it just didn't fit. "The name held too negative a connotation,” said Colleen, “because these pets are very able! Pets that become challenged due to disease, birth flaws, or injuries, tend to develop greater senses than your average pet. Most of the time, it's as if they never had to readjust to life...and we need to keep up with them!"

Pets might have different abilities because of a condition they were born with, or a disease or accident that occurs during their life- but in many cases, pet owners find themselves needing to adapt to their pet’s change in abilities simply due to natural aging. For many pets, this can take the form of a decrease in mobility or energy levels, which can be a sign of chronic pain. Thankfully, there are many ways to manage a pet’s pain and help them regain mobility in their old age!

AMCMA operates two Integrated Veterinary Pain Management Centers at both of our clinic locations, which focus on complementary medicine.  Finding the best combination of medications and physical therapy modalities that are best suited to a specific pet. Supplements, medications, and state-of-the-art equipment can greatly reduce pain and improve a pet’s quality of life. Exams are focused on finding where pain is affecting patients, and then therapy can be focused on specific areas of the body. Specialized diagnostic equipment improves the detection of pain when used in conjunction with traditional diagnostic tools.

Our Integrated Veterinary Pain Management Centers are located in each of our veterinary hospitals. Pain management services include:  Underwater Treadmill, which allows pets to either return to their previous state of mobility or aid in their transition to new state of mobility; Rehabilitation Services which help pets return to previous states of mobility or help a pet adjust to a new state of mobility through the use of assistance, multiple mobility devices and exercises; Class IV Laser Therapy which targets specific body areas to relieve pain and inflammation, stimulates tissue regeneration, and helps the body release endorphins to fight pain naturally; Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy, in which a patient's own blood cells are processed and injected back into the specific joints where arthritis is occurring. The high concentration of growth factors and healing proteins help reverse the joint damage and aid the body in restoring healthy joint tissue; PainTrace, which is a wearable monitor that quantifies acute and chronic pain. Real-time pain levels are acquired using skin-mounted sensors that process a biosignal generated by the nervous system; Ultrasound Therapy, in which high frequency sound waves target a specific area with heat and microscopic vibrations at just the right depth to help heal internal injuries. There are many benefits of ultrasound therapy including pain relief, reduced swelling, and increased blood flow; Nutrition Counseling- pet obesity is the number one health problem encountered today.  Not only does the extra weight place stress on joints and ligaments, but fat tissue also promotes inflammatory conditions inside the pet's body; and finally Chiropractic Care- AMCMA works with experienced individuals in veterinary chiropractic care to bring these resources into our facility to treat pets.

You may have read about one of our recent Pain Center patients, Suzy Q, a pit bull mix who was brought to the Humane Society of Missouri with both of her hind legs paralyzed. Suzy just recently celebrated her first birthday, and while she still isn’t able to fully walk on her own without support for prolonged periods of time, the therapy she has received in our Pain Center has allowed her to live a much more mobile, normal life. She has been adopted by Dr. Susan Roecker, our Pain Center Supervisor, and has become the official mascot of the Pain Center!

Whether a pet has lost abilities due to old age, or they have other injuries, diseases, or conditions that limit their abilities, all pets are deserving of love and care- especially those who may be harder to adopt out because of their perceived limitations. But with the right care, you can help these pets live their very best lives, just like Suzy Q!

The Animal Medical Center of Mid-America has veterinarians at three locations that can answer questions about your pet’s health. Call 314-951-1534 or click here to request an appointment online.