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Rain Rot and Hot Spots: The Sores of Summer

Posted on by Charlotte Jusinski

Hot, humid weather is upon us in most parts of the country, and while it often means outdoor summer fun and vacations, it can wreak havoc on your animals’ skin. Two common side-effects of muggy weather are “rain rot” (aka dermatophilosis) in horses and “hot spots” (aka acute moist dermatitis) in dogs. Both conditions are common and treatable, but can cause frustration in animals and owners alike until they’re cleared up.

Rain Rot

rainrotLet’s start with the less sinister of the two. Rain rot, also called rain scald, is a persistent and irritating issue for horse owners in more humid climates. It’s actually a bacterial infection (caused by Dermatophilus congolensis) – and, as it were, many horses carry the bacteria, but don’t necessarily show symptoms of rain rot. When the skin is compromised in some way (usually by biting insects), the bacteria causes an infection that causes raised mats of hair. Underneath that hair there are scabs, and when those scabs are removed, there is either a small oozing wound, or bare, gray skin.

Depending on the location of the infection, your horse may not be bothered by rain rot at all. If it’s on the horse’s back or withers – aka, underneath where a saddle would go – it could itch and hurt when the horse is being ridden, but other than that, the animal may not even know anything is awry. In many cases, the most irritating part of rain rot is curing it! Cure requires removal of the scabs, which can tickle or sting.

Most cases of rain rot can be cured just by removing the scabs and opening up the affected skin to the fresh air. Bathing the horse and softening up the skin and scabs is generally the best way to go, and softly curry-comb the area and watch the painbrush-like tufts fall off. Allow the horse to dry completely and brush again. Mild shampoo works, but an anti-microbial shampoo is best; according to Merck, the best weapon against the bacteria is Chlorhexidine. (Fun fact: antimicrobials are the active ingredient in many human mouthwash products. For more mild cases, there are reports that a spray bottle with 1 part Listerine and 1 part water can help clear up rain rot!)

It may take a few weeks for rain rot to clear up, especially if your horse doesn’t like the feeling of you working with the scabs. Keep repeating the bathing-and-brushing routine until the horse’s coat is back to looking the way it should be.

Rain rot is one of those rare conditions that can spread from species to species, so be sure to wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly after dealing directly with the affected area on your horse.

It is often said that rain rot will clear up on its own, but since it has the potential to cover large parts of the body and could spread from horse to horse, it’s always best to clear it up as soon as possible. For more severe cases of rain rot, in which multiple layers of the skin have been compromised, a vet’s attention may be required for antibiotic injections.

Rain rot, since it is a bacterial infection, is spreadable from horse to horse (either by direct contact or via biting insects), so be sure to use different tack and grooming tools as you work with other horses. Also bear in mind that things like fenceposts, which horses may use to scratch, can become infected with bacteria as well and may transmit rain rot to another horse.

Hot Spots

hotspotA dog that is perfectly fine one day suddenly develops a massive, raw, red, bleeding, oozing sore on its side, or behind its ear, or by its tail! What in the world happened? Chances are it’s a hot spot, and yes, we won’t mince words – it’s awful. But thankfully they are easily treated, and can be prevented.

Even the tiniest bit of moisture on a dog’s skin can create the perfect environment for a hot spot to form. The skin doesn’t always need to be scratched or broken for bacteria to take hold. A small red spot can turn into a palm-sized sore literally overnight. Long-haired dogs are particularly susceptible to hot spots, because their hair can trap moisture more easily, so vigilant grooming is an absolute must.

The most important thing to do for a hot spot is to get it to dry out. This can require clipping or shaving the affected area, and if the spot is sore enough, your dog could put up a serious fight if you try to do this yourself. If you have never dealt with a hot spot before, it’s generally a good idea to call your vet anyway to make sure it’s not a more serious problem – but if your dog is acting difficult when you try to touch or examine the sore, you will definitely need a veterinarian’s help in treating it.

At least once a day – and maybe three or four times a day in the beginning – clean the hot spot with an antibacterial soap, perhaps something prescribed by a vet, and dry it extremely well. If it has started to scab over, once you have moistened it with soap and water, rub it gently with a wash cloth to remove the scabs to allow fresh, dry air to get to the area.

Unless otherwise advised by a veterinarian, don’t dress it or bandage it up! It’s important that fresh air flows to the area and that moisture doesn’t get trapped by the skin; this could cause the hot spot to grow even larger, or for new ones to form.

If it is an area that your dog could reach to lick, it’s best to employ some Bitter Apple spray to make the area taste terrible so your dog won’t bother it again. Bitter sprays are made precisely for reasons like this, and won’t irritate the sore area, and are a great tool to get your dog to leave its wound alone.

If the hot spot has penetrated multiple layers of skin – or even if it hasn’t, and is just seriously infected – your vet may prescribe oral antibiotics to speed up the healing. It’s always a good idea to talk to your vet if you have any questions about whether your dog’s hot spot is healing properly.

Even the most well-taken-care-of dog can develop hot spots, so, while neglect can lead to sores, a hot spot doesn’t necessarily mean the dog has a bad owner. As far as prevention of hot spots goes, especially with dogs with longer hair, it is very important that you examine your dog daily (especially in humid summer months) to see if there is any spot that seems red or sore. Pay special attention behind the ears, because this is a prime spot for warmth and moisture. Always dry your dog well after baths and swims, and keep an eye on its skin for a few days after each water-related activity.

Brush your dog often, and, in longer-haired dogs, avoid mats – mats are a perfect vehicle for holding moisture near the skin. Besides, mats can irritate the skin even without added water. One very important time to keep an eye on your dog is if they are wearing an e-collar (aka the Cone of Shame). A cone, while a vital medical tool, can trap moisture around the neck and ears, causing a prime hot spot-forming environment.

Sometimes, hot spots can be indicators of another problem. A dog may have been scratching at its ear because of an infection, and that self-trauma may cause a hot spot. A dog licking at the base of its tail may be trying to reach an irritated anal gland, but causes a hot spot instead. A dog trying to lick to relieve arthritic pain in its paw may cause a hot spot there instead. If you have any indication that your dog may have some issue other than just the hot spot, certainly talk to your vet.

All in all, summertime is a wonderful time of the year for fun with your animal, but remember that each season comes with its own health challenges! Just know your animal and pay close attention to your pets’ health and everyone should enjoy this fantastic season together.


Why isn’t my cat jumping up any more?

Posted on by Charlotte Jusinski

jumping-catCats are notorious for jumping onto just about any surface that will hold them – and often knocking down anything they encounter. But what if your cat suddenly stops jumping to the heights she used to?

As cats get older, many develop joint pain that they are hesitant to show. Cats are very different from dogs in that they rarely show pain, and are experts at hiding it. Therefore, signs of pain must be picked out from your cat’s daily life – and one of these signs is a hesitance or refusal to jump up.

Especially if your cat used to jump all the time, but is getting older and now must be lifted to its food bowl on the counter, your cat probably has some arthritic pain. It could also be experiencing some other type of pain; many cats are prone to urinary tract issues, and any other abdominal pain may prevent your cat from jumping up. If you suspect something may be wrong (and remember – it can be really hard to tell!), contact your veterinarian, as it may be time for a check-up.


The blogger’s cat Cedric has pretty eyes, but they don’t see much.

Another more rare possibility is that your cat is going blind. I bring up this possibility mostly because my cat, Cedric, went blind around 3-4 years old, and he stopped jumping higher than the couch. He was never much of a jumper, but he noticeably became a ground-dweller when he started to lose his sight. I don’t blame him; I wouldn’t want to be teetering on some high surface if I couldn’t see where I was, either.

Also, keep this in mind: There is a belief among many Persian owners that “Persians don’t jump.” Every cat is different, but it seems to be a trait of this regal and dignified breed that too much jumping or roughhousing is not to be tolerated! So, if your cat is a Persian, its sheer lineage may be the reason it doesn’t jump.

Of course, remember that the Assisi Loop can help with your cat’s pain, whether it’s caused by arthritis, an internal issue, or a urinary tract issue. If you think the Loop could be effective, feel free to contact Assisi Animal Health or talk to your vet.


Treating long-term chronic arthritis with the Assisi Loop

Posted on by Charlotte Jusinski

The Assisi Loop is an effective treatment for arthritis in dogs, cats, and horses.  We have published several blog posts about this.  We also have an excellent overview of tPEMF and arthritis on our website here.  Animals are living longer, which means more of our pets are suffering from the debilitating pain that can come with arthritis.  Our new Manager of Client Relations and Sales has a dog with chronic arthritis.  Before she even started working with Assisi, she began working with the Loop.  Here’s her story of using the Loop for the first time to treat her beloved Blake.

dog with osteoarthritis - Assisi Loop

Blake is a 10-year-old rescued Pit Bull Terrier who was adopted from the Santa Fe Animal Shelter (New Mexico) in 2005, when he was about a year old. He sat in the shelter for 3 months before he found his forever home – and perhaps that long wait can be attributed to his slightly strange looks.

Blake has chondrodysplasia – a developmental abnormality that is essentially doggie dwarfism. While some breeds, like Basset hounds and Dachshunds, are selectively bred to have chondrodysplasia, it sometimes occurs in other breeds by genetic accident.

As a result, Blake has very short and bowed front legs and an elongated back, earning him the nickname “Low Rider.” He often gets stopped on the street by tourists in Santa Fe (where he lives with his momma, Assisi’s Manager of Client Relations and Sales) asking to take a picture of such a cool-looking dog. Unfortunately, though, Blake’s bone condition also causes many medical issues.

He first started limping and developing arthritis in his front shoulders, elbows and wrists when he was just a year and a half old. Many years of glucosamine/chondroitin/MSM supplements kept him moving fairly well, but cold weather and age have slowing effects on Blake. What his momma didn’t realize, however, was that he was also developing severe arthritis in his entire spine.

Blake with Loops on back-shoulderEverything came to a head in 2011, when Blake and his momma were living in Knoxville, Tennessee. One day Blake could barely walk, and trembled uncontrollably. His momma took him to a number of different vets before, finally, the neurology team at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine isolated a slipped disc in his back. After a week, despite medication and acupuncture, Blake was immobile in his back legs and in constant pain.

Momma scheduled an MRI for him at the University of Tennessee, but was afraid that the disc problem would require costly surgery. The MRI was scheduled for a Tuesday at 7:30 am. Suddenly, at 3:30 am that same day, Blake stood up, walked casually to his water bowl, and took a drink. The disc must have popped back into place – and not a moment too soon!

While he was able to avoid the MRI, Blake’s back issues persisted – though thankfully not with the severity of his incident in Knoxville. After moves to New Jersey and then back to Santa Fe, Blake usually acted normal, though occasionally – often after a day of exertion, like a long walk – he would get “pain attacks,” where he’d sit and tremble until his momma gave him some Previcox (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug). After taking the pill, he’d lay down and sleep the rest of the day.

After years of spot-treating Blake’s spinal arthritis, Momma (also known as Charlotte Jusinski) found out about the Assisi Loop. She received her first two Loops during a cool, rainy spell in the weather, when Blake was especially “creaky.” She Looped Blake’s back for 30 minutes (one 15-minute treatment with each Loop) three times a day for a week, then backed it off to about twice a day, and once a day after that. Blake’s “creaks” slowly disappeared.

Assisi Loop treating arthritis

Now, Blake only uses the Loop as necessary. He hardly gets his “pain attacks” at all any more – and, once in a blue moon when he does, his momma Loops his back for 30 minutes and he is ready to face the rest of the day (instead of sleeping off medication, like before!). He once again enjoys his walks and doesn’t creak around the house when it rains or when it’s chilly. When he presents with a little limp in his right front leg (which he first started limping on at 18 months old), his momma Loops his leg once, and he is good to go for days or even weeks.

Blake is a great ambassador for pit bulls, with a smiling face and a sweet disposition – and, while we all agree that dwarf dogs are adorable with their silly little legs, remember that any bone disorder (no matter how cute) comes with its own set of challenges. Blake is ready to face all those challenges now that his momma has the Loop in her arsenal!


Nine Unusual Signs Your Dog is in Pain

Posted on by Charlotte Jusinski

hurt-dogWhen you suspect your dog is in pain, it makes sense to look for the usual suspects – a limp, a cut, a spot that makes your pet yelp when you touch it. However, dogs instinctually tend to hide pain as long as possible, so oftentimes symptoms go unnoticed.

To stay as in-tune with your pet’s well-being as possible, always watch for changes in behavior – almost any change could signal an injury or illness. Here are a few often-overlooked signs that your pet may be in pain.

Grouchiness or Moodiness – We always want our pets to be happy and carefree, and when they’re in good health, it’s usually easy to tell they’re content. However, if your dog starts getting “testy” with things he didn’t mind before – maybe he growls at his canine friend when the other tries to play, or even snaps at a human when they reach down to pet him – it could be a sign that something is wrong. Arthritis could make usual games painful on his joints, or maybe an inflamed organ makes the usual cuddle session uncomfortable.

Having “accidents” indoors – While it’s normal for puppies and newly-adopted dogs to take a little time to get used to the concept of going outside to use the bathroom, sometimes pets that have been successfully housetrained for years can start having accidents indoors. This could be an indicator of any variety of issues, including obvious ones like a urinary tract infection to Inflammatory Bowel Disease. It could also be a sign of other issues, however – perhaps your pet doesn’t want to climb down the stairs to the yard because his legs hurt, or straining puts stress on an aching back so your dog puts off “going” as long as possible until he just can’t hold it.

Panting – even in the dead of winter, sometimes dogs will pant. If they just went on a long walk or are sitting next to a roaring fire, this makes sense – but panting can also be a sign of pain and stress.

Different sleeping habits – If your dog usually jumps onto the bed to sleep with you, but suddenly stops doing so and seems to prefer the floor, this could actually be a sign that jumping up is painful for her. Also, sometimes pain can cause a dog great anxiety, since they can’t understand where it’s coming from or how to make it stop. This anxiety can lead them to try to “hide,” perhaps under a desk, the bed, or in a corner of the yard. If your dog suddenly seeks a hiding place, it could be a sign that they aren’t feeling well.

dog-droolDrooling – Dogs often hypersalivate when they are in pain or are anxious. Some dogs (we’re looking at all you Newfies and St. Bernards) are naturally drooly, but keep an eye on those jowls. If they get extra-slobbery, it may be time for a trip to the vet.

Lethargy – It’s common to see an older dog moving slowly down the street. Usually, we just assume it’s because the dog is older… But let’s look closer at the cause. When an older human moves slowly, why is that? Usually because they have arthritis, their muscles are sore, or they are feeling weak. It’s the same in dogs! When a dog starts to move more slowly than they used to, there is a reason, and sometimes that reason is joint pain and stiffness. Even if a dog is older, it doesn’t have to mean it has to move slowly and be in pain.

Yawning – When a dog yawns, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s bored or tired. Yawning is a calming mechanism in dogs, used in stressful situations to calm anxiety – and we all know that pain can certainly cause stress and anxiety.

Stiffened body posture – when a dog has pain on one side of its body or the other, it’s easy to tell. Limping is usually a pet owner’s first indication that something is wrong. But what if the pain is central or bilateral, and doesn’t cause the dog to favor one side in particular? This is when it’s important to watch for a stiffened body, ginger walking, ears pulled back, “whale eye” (where the whites of the dog’s eyes show), hesitation to turn its head or bend its spine, and laying or sitting tensely.

Change in Appetite – Pain can cause many changes in dog behavior, and a common one is that your dog won’t want to eat any more. It could be painful to get to the dog dish, or the pain could be making your dog nauseous, or the anxiety and stress caused by the pain just causes your dog to lose his or her appetite. If your dog has just had surgery, especially, it may not want to eat – check out our post about dogs that won’t eat after surgery.

In the end, you are your dog’s best friend, #1 advocate, and closest ally. You know your dog’s behavior best, so if anything seems out of place, visit your vet (don’t necessarily try to treat your dog with human painkillers – definitely talk to your vet first), and remember that the Assisi Loop can help with inflammatory issues and can help bring your pet back to optimal health.

For a more detailed investigation into veterinary pain management, check out Assisi’s interview series with Dr. Erin Troy – part one explores Dr. Troy’s pain management certifications and how it can be difficult talking to pet owners about pain.


Pain Management for Animals, Part 1

Posted on by Assisi Animal Health

We are pleased to introduce a 3-part series of interviews with Dr. Erin Troy, Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner. In part 1 of the series, Dr. Troy talks about the process of getting certified in pain management and how to educate pet owners to recognize and treat pain.Pain Management for animals

Assisi Animal Health: I understand that you received the title of Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner.  Tell me a little bit about what that means and why you chose to do that.

Dr. Troy: I started the whole process into physical rehabilitation about 12 or 13 years ago, and one of the things I realized a couple of years into it is that we can do a lot of rehabilitation therapy – but if the patients are not comfortable, we’re not going to do them any good. So, I started figuring out what I need to do first to get them comfortable – to get their pain controlled – and then rehab them.  It started me on this adventure, so to speak, of starting to seek more education and training and then I fell into the IVAPM – the International Veterinary Association of Pain Management.

When I joined them, I read about this certification program. For me it was a personal and a professional goal – being 20 years out of vet school, I didn’t want to get stale and flat, I wanted to keep the learning curve up.  Your brain gets a little saggy when you’ve been out of school for a while.

The depth of what it brought to my practice was the best part – it opened up our eyes to not only helping our acute pain or surgery patients with all the things we do for that, but certainly our chronic pain patients as well. For us, it became this multi-layer opportunity to provide a better level of care for our patients.

What is it that you have to go through to get this certification?

To qualify to take the test, you need 80 hours of pain-related continuing education.  Five years ago, that would have been very, very difficult.  Now? Pain is everywhere. (laughter) Well, pain education is everywhere.  Pain is everywhere too, but education on pain in the veterinary field is far easier to find now than it ever used to be.

Within three or four years, you have to get your 80 hours of pain-related CE, and you have to document what you use in your practice with pictures and descriptions. They have a list of things that you have to meet the minimum number of including non-steroidals, drugs, all of what we use in rehab.  That includes the Assisi Loop™, the laser, the hydrotherapy tank, the physio rolls that we use, masseuses and acupuncture.

You have to do two cases and they have to be of publishable quality, and you sit for an exam.  Along with working 60 hours a week and having families and those kinds of things, that’s probably why there are less than 100 people in the world that have this certification.

You’ve said that you use studies in the human world to help pet owners understand their pet’s pain. Can you talk more about that?

So much of what we get is from the human world.  When I talk with clients about technologies like the Loop and like laser, I have a list of references that I send them to on the web that are human.  For some reason, people still put more credibility into human studies than animal studies.  I have a lot of families that will read some of the studies done on the targeted pulsed electromagnetic therapy in people and say, “Cool.  Where do we start?  Sign me up for my dog.”  I like that.  I like that that exists.

The one study that I share with a lot of people was the study I read about using this technology for women following breast surgery.  It was a pretty simple study.  The numbers were impressive.  Half the group used morphine only.  Half the group used morphine and a Loop.  The group that used morphine and the Loop used half the morphine than the other group did.  That kind of speaks for itself.  So when you try to relate that degree of pain to chronic osteoarthritis patients or trauma patients or IVDD patients, people have a much easier time understanding.

Believe it or not, there are still people out there that have said to me, “I didn’t really think that dogs felt pain.”  Those are the people we need to educate.  We need to educate them gently and we need to educate them with support — not be judgmental — because they wouldn’t be in our office if they weren’t looking for help, in some way.

How do you talk to pet owners about pain and help them to understand it?

I try first to ascertain which side of the fence they’re on.  Are they there because they think their dog is in pain, or are they that middle-of-the-road group that says, “Doc, she’s been limping for about two weeks, but she’s not in any pain because she’s not crying.”  If I had a nickel for every time I heard that.  Or are they the people who come in for their every-three-year visit to get their rabies and their dog is barely hobbling in and they don’t recognize it.

The first group is pretty darn straightforward to deal with because they’ve already acknowledged that their dog is in some level of discomfort.  I really try not to use the word “pain” because I find that some people feel either guilty about it or that we’re being judgmental about it, so I’ll say uncomfortable, discomfort, tender, sore and then work toward what we call “the four-letter word” around here.

We have a list of indicators of pain. It’s a great checklist for them to look at because there are things like:  not covering in the litter box when the cat used to cover, or can’t get in and out of the covered litter box, or can’t get on and off the bed, sleeping in a different fashion, ears pulled back, eyes dilated, panting. There’s a big one in dogs.  I say to clients, “Does your dog do any panting at home?”  “Yes.  He does it in the middle of winter and I don’t understand that.”  I tell them, “Your dog is panting because he’s sore.”panting-dog

So when families come in with a focus on getting my dog stronger or keeping my dog from falling or helping my dog be able to climb back into the car or on the bed - if I find pain, I educate the client that “I cannot get your dog stronger until I get him more comfortable.” Because you don’t want to work sore muscles.  You want to get them comfortable and then you want to work them.  Clients get it.

Is it important to try to catch pain as early-on as possible?

The more pain you have that’s not addressed, the more pain the pet develops, and then the harder it is to control pain.  From a pharmacological point of view, if we have a dog that comes in with 3 out of 10 pain, we can control that much more successfully than if they wait another 6 months and come in with 7 out of 10 pain.  Then you’re throwing everything at them – everything you’ve got including strong narcotics to get that pain down to a manageable level.  So that is why we have single-handedly taken on the responsibility of educating every pet owner we can.

First of all, pain is bad.  Then it’s how to know that you have pain, then how to determine where it is and what it’s from and how to treat it.  If you can’t convince people that pain is bad, you’ll never get to the other steps.

Do people actually have trouble understanding the concept that pain is bad?

Some people think pain is okay.  I had a woman tell me the other day, to my face – and she’s an educated woman – that she had to take her dog off of pain meds because he was running around too much.  And I said, “What you’re telling me is that you would rather that he be painful and less active than pain-free and active.”  She said, “Yes.” And I said, “That’s not a medical problem.  That’s a behavioral problem.  That’s where we put the leash on, take him for walks, and we have lots of things to deal with.”  I told her that it’s not fair to use pain as a restraint device.

How do you talk to pet owners who haven’t yet embraced the idea that pain is bad?

We talk about the physiological problems with pain and what it does to the brain and what it does to the rest of the body, and what compensation pain is all about.  We deal with a ton of compensation pain. For instance, a dog comes in with a chronic tear to its cruciate ligament and for a variety of reasons the owners have elected not to do surgery. The owners look at me like I’m crazy when I’m palpating up around the neck and shoulders and front legs of the dog and they’re like, “No. No, doc. it’s back here.”  And I tell them, “I understand it’s back there, but feel this up here.  Your dog has been shifting her weight forward for so long.  Now she’s got a problem in her shoulder and her elbow.  It’s all connected.  Pain just travels through the body.”

So when you talk about the depth of what the certification brought to your practice, the simple acknowledgment that “Pain is bad” is a big part of that piece.

Yes.  Absolutely.  It’s acknowledging the pain, recognizing that it is bad, learning how to assess it, and learning how to prevent it.  We want all our patients walking out of here looking as good as possible. Because we know they will heal better and it will be less stressful on their family.Dr. Troy

Dr. Erin Troy is the owner of Muller Veterinary Hospital and The Canine Rehabilitation Center in Walnut Creek, California. Watch for Part 2 of this series where she’ll tell us about the cases she used to get her IVAPM certification.  She will talk more about integrated pain management with the Assisi Loop as a part of the treatment protocol.



How to use the Assisi Loop and how soon you’ll see results

Posted on by Assisi Animal Health


Assisi Animal Health relies on veterinary professionals to determine when to prescribe the Assisi Loop for their patients.  We also rely on their assessment of the animal’s condition to determine the most effective protocol recommendation.  People who are new to our technology frequently ask us how often to use the Loop.  The Assisi Loop is effective at accelerating healing, reducing inflammation and increasing blood flow.  This means that the Loop is effective for a variety of conditions.  Below we offer some general recommendations to answer this question.Assisi Loop

How often to use the Assisi Loop:  

Regardless of what is being treated, we recommend that you start with 3 to 4 15-minute treatments per day for acute and chronic or degenerative conditions.

  • For acute conditions (such as post-surgical treatment or recovery from a trauma), we recommend that you continue 3 to 4 treatments per day for the first week or so and then taper off for the next 7 to 10 days or until the condition is fully healed.
  • For chronic or degenerative conditions, we recommend that you continue with 3 to 4 treatments per day for 7 to 10 days and monitor the animal until you see improved mobility and less pain response.  Again, you can taper down to 1 or 2 treatments per day or even 1-3 treatments per week.  With some chronic and degenerative conditions, the patient may get to the point that they would only be treated as needed for pain, particularly if it is a condition that is prone to flair-ups.

Ultimately, you want to consider that the Assisi Loop is catalyzing the anti-inflammatory cascade as well as accelerating the body’s own healing properties.  (See post about the the effects of PEMF here.) We rely on veterinarians to assess the animal and to work with the pet owner on the best treatment protocols for each case.  For example, you may have a pet on Rimadyl or other anti-inflammatory medications and your goal would be to work toward discontinuing these drugs.  In this instance, you would keep the Assisi Loop treatments at 3 or 4 times per day until you have fully discontinued the medications, then you can begin to reduce the number of treatments per day as your pet continues to show good mobility and low to no pain response.

How soon will I see results?

For acute inflammation, you should see noticeable relief after the first or second treatment.  With chronic or degenerative issues, you may not see notable results for 1 to 2 weeks.  You’ll want to continue the treatments as recommended above for continued healing.

**Please note that in order to get the full number of treatments from your Loop, you’ll want to allow 2 hours after every 15-minute treatment so that the capacitor can recharge.  Otherwise, the capacitor will draw from the battery and reduce the number of treatments available.**


Why won’t my dog eat after surgery?

Posted on by Assisi Animal Health

Surgery is kind of a big deal. Even some non-invasive procedures, such as an MRI and ultrasound, still require full anesthesia, and it’s never fun waking up from that induced slumber. Think about the last time you had to be put out, or even just made groggy, for a procedure – you sure didn’t feel like yourself for the rest of the day, did you?

how a pet feels after surgery

Pepe with his “halo”

Dogs have the same reaction to coming out of anesthesia. Every dog, like every person, is different – some will want to sleep, some want to be near their humans, some want to be left alone. Some may cry and others may seem to feel just fine. A common side-effect after surgery is not wanting to eat.

Most dogs can typically go a day or two without food without any adverse effects, so if your dog skips a meal or two, it generally isn’t cause for great concern. After surgery especially, it’s to be expected that your dog may not want to eat his regular food.

Don’t try to feed him anything too rich for his first meal back. Like in humans, anesthesia can cause nausea, and special food like human foods or treats can upset the stomach even more (we know you love your dog, but put that bacon cheeseburger away for another time). If your dog doesn’t seem to want to eat much, try offering some rice cooked in chicken or beef broth, or a little boiled chicken. They’re bland enough that they shouldn’t upset his stomach, but tasty enough to still be desirable.

dog not eatingAnother cause of inappetance in dogs after surgery could be the medications prescribed. Just like in humans, certain painkillers and antibiotics can make your dog nauseous and cause him to turn up his nose at his food. If a medication causes your dog serious discomfort, vets are usually happy to change the prescription to something that doesn’t have negative side effects.

Lastly, don’t underestimate the power of pain to change your dog’s behavior. Especially the first night after surgery, the surgical site will undoubtedly be painful, and your dog may be turned off by food simply because he is sore. This pain should lessen after a day or two, and a device like the Assisi Loop can greatly help with post-surgical pain and swelling, and can promote faster healing. Learn more here.

If you’re concerned that your dog still isn’t feeling well after 24 hours, it’s always best to check in with your vet.


What is targeted Pulsed ElectroMagnetic Field (tPEMF) Therapy?

Posted on by Assisi Animal Health

Lulu-cat with arthritis being treated - CopyPulsed electro-magnetic field therapy has been around for a long time.  New advances in research by Ivivi Health Sciences have made the Assisi Portable™ the easiest and most effective way to deliver targeted PEMF therapy. (To learn more about the science behind Assisi’s technology, go to the research page on our website.) By emitting a burst of microcurrent electricity, a field is created which evenly penetrates both soft and hard body tissue around the target area.  This electromagnetic field causes a chemical cascade, which activates the well-known Nitric Oxide cycle.  Nitric Oxide is a key molecule in healing for humans and animals.  The compound is released when we exercise, and when we are injured, for the body to naturally repair itself.

The Assisi Portable™ increases Nitric Oxide production to help speed healing of soft and hard tissues–that includes skin, tendons, ligaments, bones and organs.  The specific ratio of frequency to burst width used by the Assisi Portable™ has been found to be the most effective at delivering the amount of current that is similar to what is already used by the body.  More is not always better, and too much Nitric Oxide production can actually slow healing.  When choosing a PEMF device, it is good to know that more power is not correlated with faster healing.

In general, tPEMF can be used to speed healing, reduce inflammation, and lower pain levels.  For any kind of orthopedic injury or surgery, the Assisi Portable™ is a great tool to use in the recovery stage.  The field penetrates fur, bandages, and casts to reach all the tissue in the target area.

The added benefit of using tPEMF is that pain medications can be greatly reduced or stopped altogether.  This is especially important for dogs who can be seriously injured by pain killers, and cats, who are even less tolerant of pain medication and can have kidney failure from small doses.

Any illness which is caused by inflammation may be successfully treated with the Assisi Portable™.  There are numerous reported cases of animals with arthritis getting their quality of life back–running, playing, and jumping after not having felt well for years.  There have also been reports of internal inflammatory problems such as pancreatitis and cystitis resolving in 24 hours.

Bill with loop under his blanketIt is not known how tPEMF therapy acts on nerve tissue, but multiple cases of degenerative nerve conditions have shown to improve or resolve with the use of the Assisi Portable™ twice a day over the course of a few months.  In many cases improvement is immediate.

Treatment depth is about 2/3 the diameter of the applicator, extending out on either side. Targeted PEMF therapy can be used in both acute and chronic conditions.  There are no side effects, and no potential drug interactions or interactions with implants such as hip replacements.  Whether using on a bruise, sprain, tear, or chronic condition such as arthritis, or myelopathies and neuropathies, tPEMF therapy can be used as a primary treatment or adjunct therapy.  For chronic conditions such as arthritis, it often takes a week or two for results to show.  For many animals it replaces pain medication as a long-term treatment.




Meet Assisi Veterinary Advisor, Dr. Deirdre Chiaramonte

Posted on by Assisi Animal Health

Introduction to Dr. Deirdre Chiaramonte by John Wilkerson, Chairman of Assisi Animal Health

I am delighted to share with you that Deirdre Chiaramonte, DVM, has joined our growing Assisi Animal Health Team as a Veterinary Advisor. Deirdre has years of hand-on experience in rehabilitation, a passion for animals, coupled with the desire to see them get the best care available.   Her personal understanding of how the Assisi Loop works to improve care is an invaluable asset to the team.  During her first 90 days with Assisi Animal Health, Deirdre has interviewed many veterinarians who are regular users, to hear about their experiences and needs.  This feedback is proving invaluable in designing additional PEMF products and as we formulate the clinical trials so many of you have asked for.   Hope you enjoy our Q&A interview with Deirdre. ____________________________________________

Dr. Deirdre ChiaramonteTell us a little about your background and how you became interested in veterinary medicine.

Medical technology was fascinating to me as a child. My dad is an orthopedic surgeon and my mother was a physical therapist. My father had great success using technology similar to the Assisi Loop for non-union fractures in people. My parents’ work sparked my interest in pain management at an early age.

Graduating from Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine was a great platform to launch into my career. The (integral) anesthesia department was wonderful and was ahead of its time regarding pain management. After Tufts, I realized I wanted additional training, so I moved to New York City and completed a rotating medicine and surgery internship at Animal Medical Center. Still thirsty for education, I later completed an internal medicine residency and remained on staff for over a decade. It was during this decade that all my ‘new’ puppy and kitten patients had grown up and become my very own geriatric patients with health and mobility problems! With generous donations, teamwork and ingenuity we created the first rehabilitation center in NYC!

As the director of the Rehabilitation and Fitness Service at the Animal Medical Center, I became acquainted with the Assisi Loop. After years of using other methods to ease patients’ pain and promote healing, I was thrilled to have a new modality for pain management. Since starting my own mobile pain management practice in New York City, I am appreciative of the benefits of the Assisi Loop for at-home continued care. In this tough economy it is a welcome product.

Tell us about your transition to working with Assisi Animal Health.

Last Fall, Assisi asked me to help them develop an understanding of how Assisi’s customers were using the Loop and to hear their feedback. I was astounded by how they had really thought outside the box in many of their cases. I was also impressed by the successful outcomes with the application of the Loop.

That’s great. Please share some of the feedback that was most impactful for you as a new member of the Assisi management team.

The most exciting ‘gee whiz’ use of the Assisi Loop was with cervical and thoracolumbar IVDD. In the veterinarian’s opinion, the Loop either prevented the need for surgery or made the recovery much better for the patients with faster return to ambulation times or a reduction in pain medication usage. Another use was in a repeated urinary obstruction case that was headed for surgery but now uses the Loop on a chronic basis. I have heard of more than a few NSAID-intolerant patients and the Loop has really made a tremendous difference in their quality of life. I always get a chuckle when the pet owners inquire about the Loop for their own use! (*Note: Please contact your medical doctor*)

Now that you’ve talked with members of the Assisi Family about the Loop, what will you be focusing on in your new role?    

One of my first projects is advising the Assisi team as they identify various evidence-based clinical trials they would like to see completed.   As we know, this is a challenging endeavor based on randomization, case selection, measurement outcomes and placebo affect. But we have reached out to and been contacted by a number of sophisticated research-oriented veterinarians and expect clinical trials will soon be under way.

My second project will be to share what I have learned from Assisi customers-to get the word out regarding the amazing benefits of the Assisi Loop. In time, we will build our online library with case reports, webinars, videos etc. to help explain the remarkable benefits and safety of the Assisi Loop to the veterinary community.

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us!  We’re pleased to have you on our team.


How is PEMF different than TENS therapy?

Posted on by Assisi Animal Health

How the treatment works:

TENS works on nerves and basically interrupts the body’s pain signal.  It is usually used for pain management and masks pain, similar to pain medication.

Assisi works off a different mechanism of action and accelerates a biochemical process in the body to accelerate healing.Lulu-cat with arthritis being treated

How treatment feels:

To interrupt the nerve signals, TENS units put in a level of energy that can be ‘felt’ and is often uncomfortable or at least noticeable to the animal.

The Assisi microcurrent works in a much more gentle way and will not disturb animals who are already in pain.  Occasionally animals will notice a subtle difference.  We attribute this to the increased blood flow which creates the sensation of warming.

Close up of Bill with LoopHow treatment is applied:

TENS units are capacitively coupled – they have to be attached to the tissue with two terminals. The electricity passes between the two terminals.

The Assisi Loop is inductively coupled and can be placed over dressings/bandages.  The signal is able to treat more surface area and greater depth.

Overview on the terms:

TENS – Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation.

tPEMF – targeted Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy which is the type of therapy the Assisi Loop offers.


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