Thursday, 28 June 2018

The strength of dogs is awesome

Rufus is a 5 year Miniature Dachshund who I started to visit in 2016. He had a back issue presenting with recurring limping of front leg. This all stemmed from an injury when he was 1 with someone treading on him while out walking. 

Massage and physical therapy worked wonders with him. He loved it. His Mum loved giving it to him daily – turning petting time into therapy time. But after several months I was asked to visit as an emergency. On visiting I recommended an immediate visit to the vets where it was discovered he had 5 fenestrated vertebrae in his mid to lower spine. 

Rufus may be small, but he is so strong. When his Mum collected him from the referral centre, he immediately was able to walk on the grass for a wee. Several weeks rest, care and gentle massage and Rufus was back to normal. 

Until June this year when I was contacted again – he had 2 more fenestrated vertebrae on his lower spine with resultant weakness on his left side. Although he was in pain, he wagged his tail enthusiastically as he was taken to the referral centre again thinking he was going back to that great hotel. This time after the surgery his left hind leg still not working correctly. 

More weekly massage visits, more homework from Mum and more annoying crate rest for Rufus 

During the limited exercise phase of his recovery, the downstairs neighbour bought some turf slabs and carpeted their front patio which was all pebbled before. Rufus had his own local Dog Park. Handkerchief sized, but then that is Rufus sized too. That is neighbourly spirit and the power of cute Rufus eyes. 

His Mum was left with a new massage routine workbook which seemed to work. She wrote ““Les, this is just wonderful. I can definitely do this without worrying now. We had a little bit more of a neck massage with sighing and relaxing (him, not me!)” 

And then “Morning Les, I opened Rufus’s crate door this morning he straightaway lay on his side on the carpet and waved his left leg at me, staring at me, clearly saying ‘well, go on then!’. After 10 mins or so he rolled over for me do the other side. All this before breakfast! He loves it! We did a very relaxing 20 mins or so. We think you're wonderful.” 

3 weeks later and Rufus is almost 100%. Muscle wastage is being reversed. He is on short walks so his weight is going back down again. Stitches are all out. He starts hydrotherapy later this week. And he is happy. He was even diving into my bag to get to the treats he knows I carry. 

Size is not relevant with dogs. He may be a Miniature, but he has the strength and determination of a Maxi dog. His Mum said “Think how we would be if we’d burst a couple of discs. We’d be off work for ages”. Not Rufus. 3 weeks and he is back to himself thank you very much. The strength and determination of dogs is so inspiring. I love helping them and being inspired by them every day.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Two IAAT CPD accredited and promoted workshops for 2018 "Supporting your dog to reach their full potential through every stage of their life"

Cathie Forbes (Southdowns Canine Massage) and Dr Les Ellam (AchyPaw Canine Physical Therapy) have combined their knowledge to design a series of workshops which have been accredited and promoted by the IAAT (International Association of Animal Therapists). We are both qualified professionals in canine massage with several years’ experience in therapy and training. 

The series of one day workshops is called “Supporting your dog to reach their full potential through every stage of their life” and the first two in the series are now available for booking with more available next year. 

These first two workshops are interactive, informative, fun and practical. You will learn a full age-appropriate massage routine, exercises and passive movements. We will also be discussing a variety of therapies and conditions experienced by dogs. You can choose to attend just one of these workshops or both. Discussion, massage and exercise techniques will vary for the different age ranges covered in the sessions. 

The first session looks at Senior Years. It will cover basic anatomy; possible health and mobility changes as they advance into their senior years; some conditions they may be affected by, such as arthritis, and how these can be managed; video observation and discussion; massage overview and how this form of physical therapy may be used to help the senior dog; a massage routine that is appropriate for daily use and some gentle stretches and exercises to keep our golden oldies in top condition.
The date is Saturday 27th October and booking is available from the IAAT CPD site here

The second session looks the Earlier Years. Just because a dog is not showing signs of slowing down or discomfort, doesn’t mean that they won’t benefit from a daily conditioning massage and exercise routine. This workshop will cover puppy exercise and development; the importance of getting it right from the beginning; repetitive soft tissue injuries/strains and how to avoid them; video observation and discussion; benefits of massage; dynamic warm-up exercises and warm-up massage; adapted movement patterns and making simple changes that can make all the difference to your dog when they advance to their senior years.The date is Saturday 24th November and booking is available from the IAAT CPD site here

The venue is the historic Blatchington Windmill Hall, Hove, BN3 7LH. As it is difficult to learn canine massage without a dog, this is a dog friendly venue. We encourage you to bring your dog to work with during the day. These sessions are IAAT accredited and a CPD certificate will be offered. 

We would like to invite everyone - vets, vet nurses, reception staff, dog walkers, dog behaviourists, groomers, owners, in fact anyone who has an interest in the health of dogs. 

We look forward to meeting you and your dogs.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Pole dancing to help with canine mobilty - as demonstrated by Smiley Riley

Sometimes, the 'Memories' thingummy in Facebook raises a smile. Apparently it was a year ago today that Smiley Riley's Mum, Alison, went home with our 'walking over poles' exercises to help Riley raise his feet. 

Like the carpet post - you don't need to buy anything posh to help your dog with these proprioceptive exercises. Alison went to her Dad's and raided his shed. The garden was full of spades and other implements. Just enough height to encourage Smiley Riley to raise his legs as he walked over them but not too high to trip him up. Brooms are useful too. When we started exercising our Sarah this way, we discovered, to our amazement, we own 8 brooms. 

And you can alter the shape of the circuit. Straight lines, circles, haphazards anything so that the dog will gently, slowly and deliberately walk over the poles. It's not agility, it's not a jump. It's a controlled walk. 

Like the carpet post - you don't need to buy anything posh to help your dog with these proprioceptive exercises. Alison went to her Dad's and raided his shed. The garden was full of spades and other implements. Just enough height to encourage Smiley Riley to raise his legs as he walked over them but not too high to trip him up. 

If you haven't got a garden shed full of useful walking-over stuff, you can buy those long soft swimming pool noodles. We bought a whole bundle last year for a few £. They store easily too and can be used indoors on wet days. Thanks for the memories Smiley Riley xx

Friday, 8 June 2018

Carpets to help your dog - go bright, walk safe

“Apologies for all the mats and rugs Les” said Oscar’s Mum when I visited. Apologies? Oh no.......she deserved an AchyPaw Good Mum medal. 

She said that the wood flooring in her house didn't help with Oscar’s mobility. She found he was wobbly and slippy. Putting mats, rugs and carpets all around might not look co-ordinated but Oscar didn’t care. He just saw safety islands and places to walk. 

When dog Mums and Dads have opened the door to us, asking to be forgiven or explaining their irregular mats and carpets, they are met with a beaming smile from us and a “well done”. 

After Chris’s visit to Henry, we received an email saying “Here’s Henry on his new massive rug in the lounge - no more slippery lounge floor. His grandma and grandad bought it for him. Spoilt? Never!!”. And the rug matched his colouring. That’s cool. 

When I made my visit to little senior boy Blue, the floor was covered in dustsheets – not for re-decorating – but so Blue could walk around the whole house without slipping on the wooden floor. Now that was a great use of stuff you’ve probably already got around the house somewhere. 

And recently, handsome chunky Hector’s Mum mentioned the carpet but it was exactly what he needed to walk without worry of skidding or sliding. It needn’t cost the earth. 

Use your imagination and those bits and pieces you have around the house, as long as they don’t slide across the floor. Old mats, rugs, off cuts of carpets, yoga mats, dustsheets, anything is better than slipping legs on your dog. Don’t apologise – celebrate the multi-colour irregular mats, carpets and rugs. We do! 

Go bright - walk safe