Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Detective work is sometimes necessary when working with a dog

Ronnie the Golden Doodle is coming up to 5 now. Last year he was left blind by an unknown illness. But since then, he had been getting on with adapting to being a happy dog again. He can even find stones thrown in shallow pools by tentatively patting along the bottom until he finds it, dives down like a heron and brings it back up with a “Found it Mum” expression. 

We first started seeing Ronnie due to his mild hip subluxation. But his Mum said that recently when she has been massaging him, he has been putting his front arm up almost in a “I need it there now Mum” pose. This puzzled her but think about the way Ronnie is now moving. He is still charging around after his brother but when he knows things are close by, or when he is looking for something, he is ‘feeling’ with his front legs. Imagine a puppet dog – they walk with stiffer front legs – rather like the Lippizana Stallions. That will place extra stress and strains in different parts of the body. The chest muscles will be used for different purposes – in Ronnie’s case, to help with feeling his way. 

He was clearly asking his Mum to concentrate the massage there to help open his chest. He loved his entire therapy session going into, what his Mum calls, his Happy Coma. 

Monday, 22 July 2019

When two become one in AchyPaw Canine Physical Therapy

Whoopi Rose Monkey may only be 1 year old, but she’s a veteran at massage already. Not so much with her, but by watching her brother Harry receive his regular sessions from Chris. During each session, she’ll be receiving the Reiki that is passed her way as well. 

When she first attended the sessions, she had to separated in an adjoining room as she just thought “Hmm…humans on the floor….must climb on them”. But as she became used to Chris sitting on the floor with her handsome brother, she would join in, but slightly less enthusiastically. 

Now she has her own reason for physical therapy having developed a limp from her front end. She was very tolerant and accepting – she is still a wriggly pup remember. Chris was soon able to find the reason for the limping which was a very tight right shoulder and compensating left hip. She allowed all the techniques and clearly enjoyed the therapeutic touch. She wound down remarkably and was quite calm at the end.

Brother Harry did not get missed out of course. In between Whoopi Wiggles, he came up for his own therapy. He always greets Chris like an old friend, coming up with his tail wagging. Another example of how the dog who is not being treated can benefit as well. When it becomes their turn, they know what to expect. 


Wednesday, 17 July 2019

It helps when the whole family is involved

Ted is very well named as he is like a big cuddly bear. He is an almost 8 year old Akita Collie cross who was diagnosed with bilateral cruciate issues which his Mum hopes to treat conservatively. 

Their first method of treatment was weight loss. I know that doesn’t sound like ‘treatment’ but for any weight-bearing issues, getting some of the extra kilos off will be most beneficial. His weight had crept up to 35 kg with the reduced exercise but now is going down into the upper twenties. He still has some way to go, but gradual is better than nothing. 

He has some muscle wastage on his hips, understandably, as he protects his knees when walking. An aim with the physical therapy routines for Ted was to build those muscles up again while maintaining the tone in the front leg muscles which are taking some of the extra strain currently. 

The whole family was involved in the session. Each took their turn at feeling how his muscles were before therapy so they have a base-line and then again at the end plus each went through some of the massage routines they were shown. A real family involvement.

This means that everyone will be able to help Ted start his rehabilitation and maintain it. 

They also took onboard the household adaptations suggested. Things like raising the food and water bowl so he doesn’t have to place undue pressure on his knees. They all went round the house bringing back objects saying “Is this tall enough? Or what about this?” Who knew that one house could contain so many simple bowl raisers? 

They also all got involved with the simple strengthening exercises he was given – which Ted thought wonderful. 

He was in his element with so many people caring for him and helping him. With such a good family support system around him, Ted is now in many good hands for his conservative treatment plan. 


Monday, 15 July 2019

Prevention rather than cure – or – Make hindsight your foresight 

When we treat, we also teach, educate and empower. Sharing the skills of how to help a dog with their Mum or Dad is an integral part of each and every visit. How to start with massage and exercise and then things to add as mobility improves or changes. 

Massaging your dog is not only beneficial and makes them feel good but if you have another dog in the family who is sitting there watching, you can work with them too. You don’t need to wait for an issue to happen. 

Recently I went to treat little Maisy. There are two other rescue dogs in the family. Maisy’s Mum wrote “I’m also practicing a little massage with our other two, Binky and Milly as they get jealous when Maisy’s sessions start! It’s great to have that skill now to share with our other two pooches.” 

Our Mr Sam might not need as much help as his sister, but each has their own therapy session. There are many more examples I can think of where the sibling has benefitted from the newly acquired therapy skills of their Mum or Dad. Luther and Hugo, for example. Luther was the dog who needed help. Typically, while working on him, his Dads were working on Hugo. 

After I visited Sophie, her Mum wrote back “Molly's on the same regime - prevention rather than cure is my new motto !!!” 

And after a session with Jack, his Mum wrote “I was massaging Jack under Pixie’s watchful gaze, and he did his get up and wander off routine. The very instant he moved off she flopped at my feet waiting for her massage too. She was pretty comatose by the time Jack decided he’d let me do a bit more!” 

Archie’s Mum had a training session with me. But in pictures you can see sister Molly peering over his shoulder. Their Mum wrote “Thanks so much for this and of course for your time yesterday I feel sure that both Archie and Molly will benefit hugely from the techniques you have shown me.” 

Bailey and Ruby were another couple who posed together after the Bailey’s treatment session. Whoopi might still be a puppy, but her Mum Sarah does the same exercises with her that she does with her senior brother Harry and now has added knowledge of things to look out for 

And it’s not just the manual therapy. Included in each and every therapy visit that we make is advice and assistance. Ways you can make your home more dog friendly, simple adaptations such as rugs not slippy floors, steps and slopes. Seeing things through a professional experienced eye can benefit. These changes are going to help ALL the dogs in the house – helping to prevent any injuries occurring in the first place. That’s means we can use hindsight as foresight for other dogs in the family. 

If you want us to come and show you how you can help all the dogs in your family through manual therapy, exercise advice or household adaptation, please give me a call. If there is more than one carer, we’ll teach you all. We are always affordable and accessible. 


Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Carpets and runners and mats

Jessica Jayne is an 8 year old Collie / German Shepherd cross. When she was 3 she had an X-Ray on her shoulders to detect why she was showing sign of lameness but no issues were found. 

She still has intermittent lameness on her shoulders which comes and goes. Her Mum and Dad thought that professional help might be advisable now before this becomes a continual problem or before she starts to compensate her gait. 

While I was working with her, I was looking round the house seeing simple household adaptations that could be made to maintain the good work from manual therapy. The floors were laminate – except for one runner “which she lies on a lot – she likes that”. Just explaining why, made it all clear to her Mum and Dad who were going out that afternoon to get more. 

The water and food bowl were on the floor – “She seems to eat and drink very quickly and the bowls skid all over the floor”. If she has issues with her shoulders now, bending down to the floor to eat and drink is not going to be fun. 

Try it - get on all 4s on a laminate floor. Put socks on your hands and knees. Place your favourite chocolate in front on you. Without using your hands, try to get that chocolate. Yes, you’ll be skidding all over too. Another simple and cheap rug or mat in front of the bowls will solve all that. Feeding time will become fun again and won’t have to be rushed.

Jess was very receptive to manual therapy and her Mum and Dad thought that they’d easily be able to find 15 minutes each day where they can go through a routine with intention. NOT petting. NOT fussing. But sitting with her thinking about the muscles that are under their hands and why they’d benefit from some work. 

With the massage routine, simple but effective exercises, warming-up, cooling-down and cheap household adaptations, Jess should able to enjoy her walks over Stanmer Park for a long time. 


Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Mixing and matching therapies

A successful competing athlete will almost certainly have a team of therapists behind them - physio, massage, laser etc – and probably will train in a variety of ways. This will ensure their whole body is fit and primed and not just the part they use in their sport. Likewise, canine athletes can benefit from this multimodal approach. 

Eili Dettmering is a vet who also practices acupuncture and laser. She visits our Sarah each month for an aculaser session which has become a very important part of her own multimodal treatment regime. Eili has two handsome dogs who regularly receive laser and acupuncture therapy from her. For the past year they have been visiting us to receive a different and complementary therapy – manual therapy. 

Are they being ‘therapied-out’? Of course not. Each therapy works on a different element of the body - energy flow, muscle, joints and even emotions. Mixing and matching these will ensure their bodies are kept in peak condition for their sport which involves weaving, running, jumping, twisting and turning. Add to this mix a sensible balanced diet and supplements and you’ve got a perfect combination. 

Benny has been doing a lot of weaving lately in his sport. This has translated to extra tightness in his mid to upper back. Manual therapy can and did, help sort that tension (see the videos of the post-massage zoomies later). 

But your dog doesn’t have to be an athlete to benefit from combining treatments. Our Sarah is on conventional medication but also has massage, hydrotherapy, Reiki from her Dad and aculaser to help with her arthritis and mobility. Each works together to maintain her quality of life and her own special character.