The oh-so handsome little Blue is between 16 to 17 years old, partially blind and hard of hearing. His vet described his mobility issues as ataxic with pain on hip extension and hunched painful lumbar spine. He is on anti-inflammatory medications and well as supplements.
His Mum invited me over to see if physical therapy could help him with his wobbles and stiffness. He already goes to hydrotherapy once a week for 15 minutes, which he loves. As well as rear end issues due to his arthritis, his pronounced back stiffness was causing him to hold his head at an angle. He needed a full front-to-back session to help make him more comfortable.
Despite his seniority, his Mum said he can be a bit of a barker and fidget. But after he found the massage mat, he stayed there for 40 minutes before having a little walk round the house (with a noticeably straighter back) – then returned for more.
The aim for Blue was simple – to make him more comfortable. If we could help straighten his back, restore confidence in using his rear legs and ease out his neck he will be a lot more relaxed. He adored massage on his neck muscles as they were rather tight due to his head tilt.
Working backwards, his shoulders needed plenty of maintenance massage since they are taking extra compensatory strain. Then down to his spinal muscles – lots of massage and myofascial release needed there. Ending with his thigh muscles which benefitted from pumping massage techniques to build those back again restoring his confidence in using them.
He even found the neck and back stretching exercises fun too. He likes his treats for sure!
Later that evening his Mum messaged “Hope this doesn’t disturb you but just wanted to share that Blue is cleaning his back leg tonight! I haven’t seen him do that in ages! Thank you so much for today!”
You don’t need to wonder if it’s too late to try something new in a treatment regime. You don’t need to question whether they’d still benefit in their advancing age. Physical therapy can help the continuing health of your dog and maintain their muscular health from puppy hood to silver face. Age is never a barrier. And little Blue is a poster boy for senior dogs.