Helping Our Senior Dogs with Dr. Tanya Grantham
Dr. Tanya Grantham, DVM, with over 20 years of experience in veterinary medicine, appeared as a special guest on ‘It’s A Dog’s Life’ to discuss alternative therapies for animals, help for geriatric dogs, and success stories from clients she has had herself.
Dr. Grantham has a mission to make a difference in the lives of as many animals as possible and joined the podcast all the way from Africa. She is a member of the Complementary Veterinary Medicine Group as a registered acupuncturist and veterinary rehabilitation practitioner. Dr. Grantham owns Animal Health Solutions which consists of a veterinary health care team using integrative methods to best suit each individual animal. She offers physical rehabilitation, pain management, education, and community support, as well as traditional veterinary services.
Special Interest: Geriatrics
Early in the podcast, Dr. Grantham indicated a special interest in geriatric care (senior animals). She identified this particular group due to their wide range of ailments. Senior dogs, for example, will often experience some sort of joint pain, arthritis, differences in muscle patterns, and limited mobility.
Dr. Grantham stated “So not only do we have the joint issue, but then we have the secondary muscular issue, and then we end up with a dog that doesn’t want to move at all. And that’s where most people feel completely powerless. And so what I want to say to you is, if you find someone who is in the business, like myself, then you don’t have to feel that powerless, because there is help. And the first thing we have to do is manage the pain.”
Western, or conventional, veterinary medicine is often necessary at the beginning to relieve the pain and get a senior dog moving again, and get his spirits back. Then, according to Dr. Grantham, “once we can do that, we can actually start with physical therapy. And, for the old dogs that have got lots and lots of joint pain and joint issues, nothing beats hydrotherapy. With hydrotherapy, they can move in water where they don’t have concussive forces on their joints all the time.”
Dr. Grantham emphasized acupuncture can be a helpful tool when it comes to ailments like arthritis in our older dogs. Essentially, when a dog has arthritis (a degenerative disease), there’s decreased range of motion due to difficulties within the joints. Their leg(s) is no longer able to bend or move as freely as they once were. Since this is a painful condition, there are many dogs who no longer want to move resulting in muscle loss. And, the spiral continues downward unless action is taken.
Dr. Grantham stated “eventually the dogs don’t move at all, what we aim to do is reverse that spiral. And we’ll definitely be using acupuncture because it’s fantastic for pain. It’s also fantastic for disc disease. And, the moment we were able to start to get that dog more mobile, not only are we doing specific exercises in water, but my aim is also to empower the pet parent. So, if there is an exercise or there is an option for them to be performing at home, then I will be advising that.”
A slow walk is also recommended to ensure dogs can remain mobile. It’s okay that it’s slow; it’s progress. And, it allows a dog to keep her joints and muscles moving to retain function. According to Dr. Grantham, “we want them to actually engage those legs; each of those four limbs is used individually. This way it’s hard for the dog to cheat. The moment we get speed in the dog, the momentum carries the dog forward and then the leg that is the most painful just doesn’t get used. Whereas if we slow them down and we make them walk, and we make them walk on some uneven surfaces, we’re asking them to constantly adjust their posture and stimulate the tiny little muscles all over their body to say, oh okay, this is how I need to move and at a walk we obviously have less concussive forces than at a run.”
Her approach is to implement as many options as possible which coincide with one another in an effort to improve the dog’s quality of life.
At Animal Health and Hydro, ran by Dr. Grantham, offers a range of services for dogs and cats including:
- Canine hydrotherapy
- Feline hydrotherapy
- Veterinary acupuncture
- Light therapy
For horses, Dr. Grantham also offers veterinary acupuncture, sports massage and bodywork, and rehabilitation.
Contacting Dr. Tanya Grantham
If you are not in South Africa, and you are interested in discussing topics from the podcast in further depth, Dr. Grantham does accept virtual consultations as well. She can be reached at email@example.com or via the website by clicking here.
About Angela Ardolino
Angela Ardolino is a holistic pet expert who has been caring for animals for over 20 years and operates a rescue farm, Fire Flake Farm, in Florida. She is also the owner of Beautify the Beast, a natural pet salon and shop. After getting her certificate in Medical Cannabis Biology and Therapeutic use from the University of Vermont School of Medicine, she founded CBD Dog Health to provide high quality, all-natural medical cannabis products designed specifically for pets. Angela has seven dogs, Odie a 12-year-old mini-schnauzer, Nina an 8-year-old Doberman. Jolene a 7-year-old mutt, Maza a 7-year-old mutt, Rhemi an 8-year-old poodle, Potato a 15-year-old shih-tzu, and Miss Daisie a 15-year-old black lab, plus 4-10 more at any time she is fostering or boarding. She uses Full Spectrum Hemp Extract on all her pets at her rescue farm every day, and has since 2016. She is a member of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, the Veterinary Cannabis Association and has trained hundreds medical doctors and veterinarians about the therapeutic uses of medical cannabis on animals. Visit www.angelaardolino.com for more information.
About Dr. Tanya Grantham
Dr. Tanya Grantham, DVM, has over 20 years of experience in veterinary medicine. Dr. Grantham has a mission to make a difference in the lives of as many animals as possible. She is a member of the Complementary Veterinary Medicine Group as a registered acupuncturist and veterinary rehabilitation practitioner. Dr. Grantham owns Animal Health Solutions which consists of a veterinary health care team using integrative methods to best suit each individual animal. She offers physical rehabilitation, pain management, education, and community support, as well as traditional veterinary services.