Actually, it's not really controversial because it's not my opinion; it's sharing science and facts.
But just in case... HERE'S A PICTURE OF A CUTE PUPPY!
Recently I came across a case study in a veterinary publication that described a treatment plan for an older, obese pet.
The main issues were the overweight status (Duh! & if you're not sure on the impact of this "disability", take a look around my Instagram account as well as this website), decreased muscle and decreased endurance - my summation from what I read.
Basically, he was fat and out of shape. This caused him to fatigue on his walks, which were only tolerated for less than 5 minutes.
The author went on to describe the recommended food intake, body conditioning scoring and several GREAT things.
Here's where it fell short and why I though it IMPORTANT to write a blog post:
In regards to the mentioned "limited mobility", in rehabilitation-speak this means a limitation in movement. And limitations in movements are addressed through PROM (= passive range of motion), which the author recommended be done at the clinic and taught to the owners to do for him at home.
Follow me so far?
Only...this pet didn't have a significant "limitation in mobility" from the notes that I read.
He had decreased endurance on his walks.
He was fat and hadn't been exercising much so he didn't have much muscle.
There wasn't any pain detected nor was there any abnormalities like lameness.
PROM is a passive activity done by a person to another being on an area of the body, usually a joint of an extremity or in some cases, moving the entire extremity (i.e., "bicycle" exercises). It is passive. Therefore, the muscles are not contracting. No work is being done by the client/patient/pet. Therefore, if there is no limitation in available motion/mobility/movement, I would not be doing PROM to a pet (or person) that has a muscle loss and is overweight.
They need to move more.
People are busy and in general, compliance (the "stick-to-it") for home programs is HARD, y'all!
Your time is valuable!
If someone has extra time and wants to do PROM? GREAT! Do it. You will not create or cause a problem.
But you will not be strengthening or causing weight loss either.
- Another recommendation was for the pet parents to walk the dog 5x a day for 2 minutes. But t doesn't say how often they were walking their pet before (when he was tiring for less than 5 minutes). Chances are it wasn't 5x a day. Maybe twice - a.m. and p.m.
Sometimes, shocking I know, pet parents don't have a chance to take their dogs on a walk every day.
You need to find out what the baseline is and adapt to that with realistic benchmarks.
The recommendation was to increase it by a minute the next week. That's a 50% increase in work from one week to the next. And that now makes the total time 15 minutes up from 10mins the week before. (Are you still with me?)
That's a lot.
- In addition to PROM, it was recommended that "balance exercises" be done the clinic. I love me some balance exercises! They're great because they engage the whole body (pets' and humans') but it didn't describe him having a balance problem. So let's just call it good ol' therapeutic exercise instead. (Balance exercises ARE therapeutic exercise but not all therapeutic exercises are balance exercises.)
PROM is a great activity but I see it recommended all the time for diagnoses and issues in which OTHER activities would be far more appropriate, efficient and effective.
Diet is key and the recommendations for food intake that the author described in detail are spot-on because you MUST address this.
If obesity and muscle atrophy/weakness/loss is an issue, the best activity at the clinic to do would be the underwater treadmill. Two sessions a week for a month (even ONE session) has been proved in the research to result in a significant weight loss with a combined nutritional plan and supplemental walks at home. The underwater treadmill is a serious physical activity (swimming is NOT the same---I'll save that for another post). In the absence of an underwater treadmill, easy therapeutic exercises and a controlled, progressive walking program are best.
Your time is valuable! And I appreciate you reading this post and would appreciate your thoughts as well.
Now, I think you know the answer!