TUESDAY, Aug. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Certain types of exercise
may help ease stiffness and pain in dogs with arthritis, a new
Using a special treadmill and a computer program, Austrian
researchers examined the movements of joints in the front and back
legs of dogs as they did three types of exercises: walking uphill,
walking downhill and walking over low obstacles.
They concluded that walking downhill doesn't appear to provide
much benefit but walking uphill and climbing over low obstacles
could both help dogs with arthritis.
Walking uphill may improve the flexibility of affected joints,
particularly of the hip, while walking over low obstacles may
improve the bending of the joints in the front and rear limbs, said
the team at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna.
Researchers caution that dogs who have recently undergone
surgery to the tibia, however, should probably avoid walking over
obstacles since that could potentially strain the tendon that joins
the knee to the shin.
They added that the exercises don't require expensive equipment,
are simple and can easily be supervised by dog owners.
"These types of exercises are often recommended to improve the flexibility of joints in arthritic dogs. Nobody has yet taken the trouble to test whether they work but we are happy to report that they are of real benefit to the animals," researcher Barbara Bockstahler said in a university news release.
The study appears in the current issue of the
American Journal of Veterinary Research.
The U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and
Skin Diseases has more about