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Rehabilitation isn’t just for humans

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Meet Kiba, a handsome two-year old border collie-mix, a big, 75 pound guy. He’s a happy pup, full of vim and vigor, but he has a serious congenital condition known as hip dysplasia.

His was so severe that, even at his young age, surgery was needed for a total hip replacement on his right side. The left hip will also need to be replaced, but not for a year or so.

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Enter Dr. Aslaug “Oz” Mandel (aka Dr. Oz) doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) who runs Roaring Fork Animal Rehabilitation & Fitness. She works with a variety of animals  — dogs, cats, cattle and horses — whenever there is an injury, a congenital condition, surgical intervention, chronic pain or other trauma.

Kiba owners Ryan Siffke and Logan Cross brought Kiba to Dr.Oz a month out from surgery, which was successfully performed at the Colorado Canine Orthopaedics & Rehab in Colorado Springs, a partner of the Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

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The important question, as Dr. Oz explained, is “How can we help keep our animals happier?”

Imagine that your cat or dog is walking funny and seems to be in pain most of the time. A pet owner can call Dr. Oz for an evaluation. Dr. Oz also works closely with many of the veterinarians in the Valley who may have already diagnosed the problem.

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In dogs, hip dysplasia is an abnormal formation of the hip socket that, in its more severe form, can eventually cause crippling lameness and painful arthritis of the joints. It is a genetic (polygenic) trait that is affected by environmental factors. It is common in many dog breeds, particularly the larger breeds, and is the most common single cause of arthritis of the hips.

Hip dysplasia is also found in cattle after calving. The condition is uncommon in horses, but does occur. The incidence of this disorder is relatively rare in cats, but some breeds are more likely to have the genes for hip dysplasia than other breeds.

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According to the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, canine hip dysplasia is not automatically a sentence of doom anymore. There are non-surgical and surgical treatment options.

Dr. Oz is a certified rehabilitation therapist who is presently working on board-certification in a multi year-long process through the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Colorado State University School of Veterinary Medicine, where she received her DVM degree.

At her facility, located at the Orchard Plaza in El Jebel, Dr. Oz has keeps her eye on “being of benefit to the community.”

As she said, “Here we focus on the pet’s movements and how to regain function.” She noted that being a veterinarian has a lot in common  with human pediatricians, “Our patients can’t really communicate. Neither babies nor animals can talk.”

Kiba’s treatment — including surgery and rehabilitation — were covered by pet insurance. For these treatments to be covered, they must be included in the actual insurance policy.

As Dr. Oz noted, fitness is often lost when an animal is injured. She will prescribe individualized exercises to build strength, endurance and motor control for patients of all fitness levels. She works hard to help the patient recover from injury or surgery faster than limited activity would.

“We strive to make rehabilitation fun and productive by reducing pain to ultimately make the patient more comfortable,” Dr. Oz emphasized,  “Our goal is to help animals who have lost their ability to move normally.”

She added, “We work with geriatric pets, animals recovering from surgery, pets suffering from surgery, neurological conditions or weakness.”

For more information, go to animalrehabilitationfitness.com or call 927-0237. Appointments can be made online.

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