2011/02/28

Physical Therapy for Cats

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Physical Therapy for Cats

Matthew Homfray

Few people think of physical therapy as a viable option for rehabilitating injured cats. It is usually assumed that cats will not cooperate, but contrary to popular belief, most do not resist treatment. Physical therapy can benefit most cats that have undergone surgery. It is helpful for cats with chronic disease or injury that causes pain, which may be displayed as limping, stiffness, aggression or social withdrawal.

How does physical therapy work?

After an operation, physical therapy reduces pain and swelling, increases strength in weakened muscles and improves the flexibility of joints.

Hot and Cold Treatments

Hot and cold treatments are known as passive rehabilitation techniques. They can be used immediately after a surgical procedure, and also to help chronic conditions such as arthritis. The application of cold compresses can reduce inflammation, pain and bleeding, and they can be applied for 20 minutes one to four times daily. It is important to place a layer of material between the cold pack and the cats skin so it is not uncomfortable.

Heat therapy can be used once the signs of inflammation have gone. Heat therapy increases metabolism and, when applied at this stage, helps decrease pain. Heat is usually applied for 20 minutes two to four times daily, but the applier must check the cats skin every few minutes to check it is not uncomfortably hot. Treatment should be stopped if the cat shows any signs of discomfort.

Therapeutic Ultrasound

Therapeutic ultrasound is another of the passive rehabilitation techniques. This increases the extensibility of collagen fibres, improves muscle condition and improves blood flow to the area treated. In doing this, it decreases pain and accelerates healing. Care must be taken in cats that have had metal implants to fix fractures, as reflection of the waves off the metal can intensify the heat and cause burns.

Another modern technique being pioneered by some clinics is phototherapy, also known as cold laser. This involves applying a low power light to an area that accelerates tissue repair.

Passive Range of Motion

Passive range of motion is the next step in the rehabilitation program. This involves extending and manipulating the cats joint, and can be started before the cat is fully weight bearing. This can be very important in cats that have had splints or casts applied, when the joints have been static for some time. By carrying out controlled movement, scar and connective tissue is strengthened and the effects of contracture are minimised.

Active Rehabilitation

Active rehabilitation can start once a cat starts using an injured limb more. This further increases muscle strength, muscle endurance and flexibility. There are various techniques available, such as the use of balls, balance boards, slings and aquatic therapy.

When doing the ball exercise, the cat lies on the top of the inflatable ball and is supported. The ball is gently rolled forward until the cats front paws come into contact with the ground. The ball is then bounced gently, which helps strengthen trunk muscles as the cat maintains balance. The ball is then rolled back until the hind paws touch the floor, and then gently bounced again. Cats may resist the therapy at first, but soon become accustomed to the rhythmic movement of the ball.

Balance boards are platforms with a curved rubber bottom. The cat is placed on the centre of the board with its feet shoulder width apart, and the board is slowly rocked from side to side. This is excellent for restoring stability in the early stages of weight bearing after fracture or joint surgery. Slings help support the cat during the early stages of recovery from many conditions where the nervous system has been affected, and are particularly useful as support for cats that have had pelvic surgery.

Aquatic therapy is best performed with a custom designed water tank and underwater treadmill. It provides outstanding rehabilitation for soft tissue injuries, arthritis, post surgery fracture care, post amputation care and neurological problems. It is excellent for increasing strength, flexibility and endurance, while reducing the risk of reinjury.

How long should the therapy go on for?

The length and frequency of therapy depends entirely on the type of injury, age and general health of the cat. Most fracture repairs benefit from therapy 2 to 3 times a week for 6 weeks, while chronic conditions such as arthritis require twice weekly therapy indefinitely (though this usually occurs at home). The owners motivation is the key factor in the success of the therapy, but with some simple demonstrations and a little effort, a huge difference can be made.

Is professional physical therapy in a clinic expensive?

There is a lot of variety among clinics, largely dependent on the expertise of the therapists and the facilities available. Expect to pay US$50 to $75 per session.

========

Dr Matthew Homfray is one of the veterinary pet experts at http://www.WhyDoesMyPet.com. Our dedicated community of caring pet experts are waiting to offer you advice, second opinions and support.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Matthew_Homfray
http://EzineArticles.com/?Physical-Therapy-for-Cats&id=500048




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Being With the One You're With

Carolyn Hax

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My last girlfriend, who was absolutely perfect, had to move to Morocco for her Ph.D. program. We tried to make it work long-distance, but neither of us could manage frequent visits, so we decided mutually to end things. We agreed that if we're still single when she moves back (not for years), we would try to make it work again.

In the meantime, we have both begun seeing other people. Mine is easily the greatest girl I've ever met who isn't Perfect Girl. But knowing P.G. is out there makes it hard to be satisfied with that.

-- Va.


It sounds as if you need to break up with current girl, arguably to be fair to her but also, pragmatically speaking, to see if you miss her.

I realize there's a risk that you'll mythologize P.G., and you'll wind up so used to being the lonely guy that you'll define yourself that way -- then panic one day, and settle.

But I don't think it's fair to make decisions based on avoiding that, not yet. Right now, your more immediate risk is of forcing yourself to stay with someone when your heart is somewhere else. Give yourself a little more time to grieve and rebuild.

Re: Perfect Girl:

If P.G. moved to Morocco for years and he didn't go with her, then she wasn't P.G. after all. Sacrifices are a necessary fact in life, and if you're not willing to make them, then you're not "meant to be."

-- Anonymous


I'll agree, with a qualifier:

Morocco + Ph.D. (equal sign) the possibility of a field that required her to go to that one specific place. If she was serious about and invested in this field before meeting her boyfriend, then I can absolutely see her wanting him completely and still not being willing to sacrifice years of work in her field.

If he was the one unwilling to move closer to her, then that could liberate him from his idea that she was Perfect. I.e., something stopped him.

Carolyn:

What stopped me was that my next few years are basically planned out for me in the form of one more year of law school, then straight to an unbeatable job offer at a big firm (the likes of which are barely hiring anymore).

As I mentioned, we were planning on staying together when she moved. We didn't anticipate all the logistical impossibilities.

Just thinking about it again is getting me sorta upset.

-- Va. again


So -- do you want (A) the law career even if it costs you the girl, or (B) the girl even if it costs you the law career? Don't project: Base it on how you feel and what you'd do today.

If (A), then stop mythologizing and start living your life.

If (B), then call her and say so. Then, if she is receptive, you get creative, starting with your law school's career office.

Carolyn:

The answer is I want the girl, but you seem to have forgotten she's with someone new.

-- Va.


So are you, and you still want her. If she prefers the new someone to your taking dramatic action, then she's not Perfect. Painful as that may be.

========

E-mail Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com, or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.



Copyright 2011 Washington Post Writers Group

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Universe Today - 10 new stories for 2011/03/01

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10 new stories for 2011/03/01

Endeavour Rolls to Vehicle Assembly Building for Final Flight

Endeavour was rolled a few hundred yards from the Orbiter Processing Facility to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at the Kennedy Space Center on Feb. 28. Credit: Alan Walters - awaltersphoto.com

NASA's Space Shuttle Program is inexorably and swiftly headed towards its finale.

With shuttle Discovery orbiting some 200 miles overhead on her final flight, launch preparations for the final flight of Space Shuttle Endeavour moved into high gear.

Endeavour was rolled a few hundred yards from her processing hanger at the Kennedy Space Center to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) where she will be attached to the external fuel tank (ET) and twin solid rocket boosters (SRB) which will power her final trip to space. See photo album below from Alan Walters and Ken Kremer. (...)
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Sky & Telescope Magazine Editor Emeritus, Leif J. Robinson, Passes Away,

Leif J. Robinson courtesy of Sky & Telescope / Dennis di Cicco

For those of us who have dreamed over the stars for years while reading Sky & Telescope magazine, we respectfully remember Leif J. Robinson, who served for 20 years as Editor in Chief. He passed away Sunday at the age of 71 at his home in Costa Rica. (...)
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Free Shipping and Free Returns

Unique Perspective: Shuttle Launch as Seen from Airplane, Balloon, and Freefall

I thought I had a great view of space shuttle Discovery’s final launch, seeing it from the Kennedy Space Center press site. But there were a few other people who had a pretty unique perspective on the launch. A passenger on an airplane, Neil Monday, who was flying out of the Orlando, Florida airport, recorded the shuttle launch with his iPhone, above. That is just awesome. Want more unique views of the launch?

(...)
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Scientists to go Suborbital for Research

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo during a test flight. Credit: Virgin Galactic

Think again if you believe the suborbital space market is exclusively for well-heeled tourists. The Southwest Research Institute has just inked deals with Virgin Galactic and XCOR Aerospace to fly up to 17 scientific research flights. Three scientists, including Dr. Alan Stern, former head of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA and current New Horizons Principal Investigator, will become some of the first scientists to fly on a commercial spacecraft to conduct scientific research. They will fly on board Virgin's SpaceShipTwo and XCOR's Lynx.

“We’re another step closer to the era of routine ‘field work’ in space research," said Dr. Dan Durda, another SwRI scientist who is scheduled to fly. "More and more researchers will soon fly with their own experiments in space, and do it regularly enough to allow the important advances that come with iterative investigations. I’m looking forward to that future and helping it become a reality.”

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Answer Now Posted for WITU #138

A launch image, but of what spacecraft? Find out the answer to last week’s Where In The Universe challenge back on the original post. We’ll have a new WITU challenge for you later this week.


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Meteorites May Have Delivered First Ammonia for Life on Earth

Researchers have teased ammonia of a carbon-containing meteorite from Antarctica, and propose that meteorites may have delivered that essential ingredient for life to an early Earth.

The results appear today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and add to a growing body of evidence that meteorites may have played a key role in the development of life here. The NASA graphic at left was released just last month, when researchers reported that meteorites may have also delivered Earth’s first left-hand amino acids.

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Review: Apollo 12 On the Ocean of Storms

David M. Harland has detailed man's first precision landing on the moon in: Apollo 12 On the Ocean of Storms. Image Credit: Spinger/Praxis

As one chapter in manned space flight draws to a close, it is human nature to look back, to draw parallels and to remember similar points in time. A new offering from Springer-Praxis details man's second landing on the surface of another world, the 1969 mission of Apollo 12. The book is entitled; Apollo 12 On the Ocean of Storms. Strangely, this is the first time that the full story of man's first trip to the Ocean of Storms has ever been written down. The story in-and-of-itself is compelling, filled with peril, discovery and friendship.

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Incredible Video of Shuttle Approaching ISS, Taken from Earth

The International Space Station and shuttle Discovery, about 30 minutes before docking, as seen from Earth. Credit: Theirry Legault.

Award winning photographer Theirry Legault sent us a note about some amazing new video he shot of the space shuttle Discovery getting ready to dock with the space station. Legault took the video on Saturday evening (Feb. 26, 2011) at 18:40 UT from Germany, showing Discovery and the ISS about a hundred meters apart, 30 minutes before docking. The image above is a still frame from the video, which can be seen on Legault’s website here. “It’s sunset on the ISS at the end of the video sequence,” Legault wrote. “The video is accelerated 2.5 times (acquisition at 10 fps, video at 25 fps). The altitude of the ISS is 360 km (200 miles)… and the speed of ISS is 17,000 miles per hour (27,350 kph) and its angular speed at zenith is 1.2° per second.”

Flash is required to see the video. The 900 frames of the sequence has been registered and combined by groups of 10 (processing with Prism and VirtualDub), Legault said. Find out more about Legault’s photography and tracking equipment at this page on his website.

If you recall, Legault has also taken images of the ISS and docked shuttle Endeavour transiting the Sun, and Atlantis and the Hubble Space Telescope transiting the Sun, as well as many other amazing images shot from Earth.

The detail Legault has captured is incredible, and a joy to see. Check out more on his website.


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Another Ceasing Cepheid

NGC 6823 is the emission nebula that surrounds NGC 6823, the cluster which plays host to the interesting Cepheid HDE 344787

Earlier this year, I wrote an article about a Cepheid variable star named V19 in M31. This Cepheid was one that once pulsated strongly and was one of the variables Hubble first used to find the distance to the Andromeda galaxy. But today, V19 is a rare instance of a Cepheid that has seemingly, stopped pulsating. Another example of this phenomenon is that of Polaris, which has decreased in the amplitude of brightnesses by nearly an order of magnitude in the past century, although some reports indicate that it may be beginning to increase again. Meanwhile, a new paper is looking to add another star, HDE 344787, to this rare category and according to the paper, it may be “even more interesting than Polaris”.

(...)
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Naturally Jupiter

As we know, Jupiter’s Southern Equatorial Belt has been missing beneath its icy clouds for almost a year now. While astronomers are able to use instruments like Keck – complete with infrared and adaptive optics – we here on Earth have to take our views of Jupiter a little more naturally. (...)
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