Thursday, 23 March 2017

Links between Canine Behaviour & Mobility issues

Meet Wilf 

Sometimes behaviour and mobility are more related than imagined. 

Wilf is a handsome 7 year old Cockapoo who was referred to me with repeated limping and stiffness in his rear legs. The vet had said that he has possible arthritis of his spine and hips but does present with stress and anxiety. 

Talking to his Mum and Dad, they said that he has always been slightly anxious and would frequently bark if someone came too close to them. Despite his size, he is very protective to his humans. He also tends to be reluctant around larger dogs, preferring to stay away. 

Two years ago, he developed a pneumonia type infection from which he recovered but then he started to display the occasional limp with yelping every now and again when being lifted into the car. Sometimes, in the evenings, he also struggles to get up as though he is stiff. Clearly something going on. 

When I walked in, I was met with Wilf in full barking territorial mode. But I did as I do, and placed the massage mat down on the floor and sat by it. It took seconds for him to wander away from his Mum, sniff the mat and plonk himself by my legs. This was going to be a doddle. 

He drifted into doggy bliss until I touched his left hips when I received a definite look. He didn’t pull away, it was just that look you recognise after years of doing this of “OK….that is a little sore…..but not enough for me to walk away”. 

The session was mainly about empowering his Mum with a daily routine to help to alleviate his discomfort and hopefully enable him carry on enjoying himself without being anxious of other dogs possibly knocking him over which would cause him more pain. With Wilf, this was so easy – he loved the lot. Effleurage – mmmmmm, skin rolling – ahhhhhhh, kneading – bring it on. The works. 

As the pictures show, by the end of the session, Wilf was anything but anxious or stressed. 

A few days later, his owner wrote to me saying “Thank you Les for  a terrific session. Wilf had his first session with us last night and even turned over himself, so clearly loves it. Thanks again"

I think that is a result

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Videos of canine massage workshops

I've now created a YouTube playlist on my AchyPaw channel with clips from several of the classes and workshops I have delivered over the years, including this one.

The video clips can all be found here

Meet Kizzy – or "when the world takes a full circle"

Alison heard of me from a local dog groomer and asked me over to try and help her dog Kizzy who has been displaying issues with her right leg for the past six months after a suspected fall.

When I walked up to her door, Kizzy’s Mum came out and said “I know you”. Indeed she did. This was Alison, the person who taught me all about human massage way back in 1996/97 at City College Brighton. Here was someone who gave me my qualifications TWENTY years ago and now here I was helping her with massage therapy. Spooky. How the world turns.

After a quick “Goodness…what have you been up to?” and twenty year catch up, I was introduced to the adorable frisky Kizzy - a 4 year old Parson Jack Russell/Springer Spaniel cross (yes….THAT frisky).  She immediately showed me how much she loves to bounce and play and lick while hiding her right rear leg.

She has become quite clever at hiding the point of issue while just getting on with being Kizzy. But that is what dogs do. Alison is a trained professional human physical therapist but was looking at Kizzy as a parent/guardian rather than through her trained therapist eyes. Once she could see how Kizzy was compensating with her gait and how she felt, she knew how to help.

Kizzy had been diagnosed as suffering from a probable luxating patella on her right rear leg, but of low grade currently. Alison was advised to look for physiotherapy as first treatment, keeping any surgical intervention as a later option.

Despite Kizzy having a therapist as a Mum, she took a while to accept massage. However, after 30 minutes or so, I asked Alison to feel where I was working and Kizzy looked round to her as though to say “Erm, no Mum…..Dr Les can do it thank you”. Oh, how the world turns! But soon Mum will be as good as me.

Between Kizzy and I, we identified several places on her body where she needs and wants massage which Mum now has to do, plus some simple gentle weight-bearing and stretching exercises to build up the muscles and mobility of her rear right leg. Hopefully, we can help her regain her confidence in using that leg and start walking comfortably again. 

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Relax HAOK9 Massage Diploma Level 2 : March 2017

A further 6 professionals from the Healing Animals Organisation qualified for the Level Two Diploma after learning another 10 massage techniques, passive movements and stretches, exploring a variety of conditions they may encounter with dogs, conditioning and wellness in dogs including a warm-up and cool-down routine plus a unique lymphatic drainage routine. They then practiced a number of active exercises. 

Classes run by AchyPaw are far more fun than traditional workshops where PowerPoint is overused as can be seen in these pictures where even the dogs get involved. Before the professionals attempt any move on a dog, they try it out on themselves first to gain a first hand experience of what it feels like 

We even have a singalong to one of the new myofascial release moves - The Locomotion