Monday, 30 September 2019

The difference finding a Forever Home makes

10 and a half year old Staffie Bertie, found himself in Arundawn Dog Rescue a few weeks ago ( ) where Elaine put up a video of him walking with a limp. We offered to visit to help him in the kennels, but he was immediately fostered which is where Chris saw him the next day. 

At that time, his coat was quite dull and his fur was very tight, He needed a lot of myofascial release. 

4 weeks later Chris went round to see how he was progressing. First thing – he is in his forever home. His new Mum and Dad became failed fosterers. They said, “He saw a mat in the middle of the room. He lay on it. He crossed his paws. He gave a look of I’m home now”. 

Second thing - his Mum has been keeping up the massage with him from our workbook and said that he can jump up onto the sofa, which they were amazed the first time he did. 

Third thing – he has lost weight. He has started to get his Staffie wiggle back. His Mum said they could see a change in his shape, albeit slowly. He is walked twice a day and they are looking at starting hydrotherapy with him. 

Fourth thing – there are carpet runners in the hall so no slippy stocky Staffie legs. 

All in all, Chris was so pleased with his improvement. His coat is now glossy and loose. He was no longer guarding his body when touched, no reactive looks. Instead his muscles were all moving freely and his gait was balanced with a big grin as he showed off his moves. 

And his personality has really come out. He is a real Mummy’s boy and happily throws himself at your feet and smiles. 

Bertie has clearly landed on his paws.

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

One size doesn't fit all

13 year old Staffie Pickle was rescued 18 months ago when she was only 48 hours from being PTS. Her new Mum and Dad think she was kept in one room and possibly used as a breeding dog or maybe even a bait dog as she had big ‘cauliflower ears’ which still need constant attention. When they first put a lead on her to take her for a walk, she simply did not know what to do. She sat down and wouldn’t move. Luckily, she had brother Archie for a while who taught her how to dog. When he passed, she grieved but then settled into being the new head of the family. 

Despite all her past, she is a loving sweetheart. Her Mum and Dad are experienced Staffie parents – and are very bad at fostering. They nearly always end up as failed fosterers adding the new dog to their family. They used to have Archie and Pearl who I visited a couple of years back to teach them how to perform an appropriate massage daily routine 

They introduced me to Sussex Pet Rescue which, in turn lead to a training session for many of their volunteers. 

Although they knew what to do for Pickle, they also knew that one size doesn’t fit all. They wanted me to show them how to use manual therapy for Pickle as her needs were different from those of Alfie and Pearl. 

Pickle has a variety of issues including arthritis and Rhinitis. For these, and other conditions she takes a lot of medication. But alongside that, she is also on supplements and complementary therapy – hydrotherapy and acupuncture. Adding manual therapy is a good multi-modal mix. 

Over the last months, she has started to struggle with her hind legs – her Mum and Dad say that she sways. There are days that she really can’t walk and even on the good days, they have to be her advocate for knowing when is enough. On a good day, she will walk and walk but will then be stiff the next day. So they now decide for her when she needs to turn back. 

Because of her hind leg issues, she has put on muscle mass to her front legs. But these too have now been diagnosed with arthritis. She was very tight fascially having held herself tense for the past month or so with a stiff mid back. 

She truly enjoyed all the interventions, so much so that at the end, when I was taking pictures for her personalised workbook, she remained fast asleep on her Dad’s foot. Even when her Mum and I got up, she stayed fast asleep. Even when I got the treat box out to show them some appropriate stretching exercises, she didn’t move. I had to demonstrate the exercises on myself. 

That was Dad trapped for the rest of the afternoon. 

He did, however, manage to free himself to write a review on our page “Our arthritic Staffie, Pickle, has been a bit of a wonky donkey for a while now, and, although happy , she was obviously very tight and uncomfortable. Enter Les and his magic hands, and such a transformation!! You could literally see her muscles and stance opening up and relaxing. Such a fantastic thing for everyone who loves their dog. Predictably the session ended with a totally relaxed Staffie, fast asleep, grunting and farting happily as Les left. Results are still very much in evidence two days later”  

Friday, 13 September 2019

New ideas, new techniques, new modalities

Meet Charley – the amazing Red Lighting Magnetically Vibrating Chocolate Lab. 

Some months ago. we bought a Low-Level Light Therapy device to target some relief for Sarah. Recently I completed my certification for the application of Phototherapy. 

How does it work? The manufacturers explain it well here

And now we have a Pulsed Electro-Magnetic Field (PEMF) machine with a variety of mats. This site has a simple explanation of how that device works : “Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy can decrease inflammation and pain, increase the rate of tissue repair and regeneration. This painless modality can be used adjunctively with rehabilitation sessions or daily at home. PEMF uses pulsing electromagnetic fields to jump start and accelerate normal biological cellular reactions. A small battery current is pulsed through a coil to create the electromagnetic field and initiate the biological cellular reactions. Cells contain electrically charged particles called ions that govern all cellular processes. When the body is stressed (by illness, competition, environmental factors or age) the cellular membrane that conducts the essential ions into and out of the cell becomes compromised and is unable to efficiently do its job of managing the transport of these ions. The PEMF machine generates a magnetic field that creates motion with these ions immediately and positively directly impacts these and the membrane potential to stimulate them into action. The result is an increase in cellular communication and circulation, a decrease in inflammation and pain and a resulting acceleration of healing. There are no side effects seen with the use of PEMF.” 

Me, being the scientist I am, researched further and this, very technical, journal item explains it in great depth.

What does all this technical jargon this mean to our Sarah? Well, she is treated on the large mat every morning after her first walk, targeting both hips, knees, paws and lower back – all her achy bits. In the evening she is treated with the Vetcare light, targeting specific areas of issue. Both may contribute to ease her discomfort. 

Our Sam is suspicious of everything that he can’t eat (or pee on). And would wriggle off the mat. Now with the smaller mat, we can slide it under his elbow, which is where his arthritis is worse, and he just continues snoozing. Similarly, he can be also be targetted on that area with the Vetcare. 

What does it mean to us? We use the PEMF device on our hips, knees, back and neck……and it is so soothing. For a long while after, we feel young again – well……young-ish. But it is a device that we can see and feel working. If it feels as good on our dogs as it does on us, then that is a big addition to their multimodal therapy regime. 

Meanwhile, back to Charley. Like Sarah, his aches and pains are centred on his rear end. As a bigger boy, he can lie on the PEMF mat while having his photo therapy and being massaged. After that, we can then target any new niggles he has picked up – I this case, his elbow on which we used the smaller mat. All in the same session. 

After his second multi-therapy session, his Mum, who is now very observant to changes in his gait and behaviour, wrote “Charley has just woke up, bright eyed and bushy tailed. We went for a short walk- lots of energy, pretty fast I have to say, no sound of nails dragging, front paws back to front position, tail wagging. Thank you so much Les- happy doggy, happy mummy! Now we have to risk the temptation to overdo it.” 

Treatments evolve and improve – new ideas, new techniques and modalities are continually being introduced. Here at AchyPaw, we look into these developments and, where appropriate, offer and incorporate them into our treatment regimes. 

Have a read of our case histories and feedback and, if you think we could help you and your four-legged friend, give us a call or drop us an email. In order to treat your dog, we need a vet consent form – for the most part this is a no-fee formality to allow your vet to check our credentials and approve the treatment as a complement to any treatment they may already be providing. 


Tuesday, 10 September 2019

More mobility adaptations

Some weeks back I put up a post and pictures of our revamped steps around the house to help with Sarah’s changing mobility needs. New carpeted surfaces with more traction. Longer ramps with less of an uphill climb. Rubber surfaces on the new steps into the back garden. 

After I put the post up, Gizmo’s Mum wrote “Saw your post about ramps. Gizmo needs a ramp for very steep steps. Any tips please?” and included two pictures of the really s-t-e-e-p steps out of the back. Gizmo is only a small dog, so could be carried, but wouldn’t it be better for his confidence if he could feel he could do it himself? His Mum said “We tried one of those long plastic ones you get for cars but it was too bouncy and he hated it. So trying to work out how best to build one” 

I then crawled on the garage floor taking various pictures in various angles of the mega-slope frame that Chris made from our back door through the garage onto the front drive. We also supplied a rather quick diagram of how to do it – not quite IKEA flatpack standard but it was a start. 

This week I received a picture with a “We did it! Thanks so much for your advice both.” The steps were even eco-friendly and recycled being made out of a dismantled shed. As you can see, Gizmo at the top, loves it.


Monday, 9 September 2019

Adopt, Don't Shop

Dogs everywhere…and it was heaven! 

I went back for some volunteering with Arundawn Dog Rescue and this time I took an extra pair of hands – Chris’s hands. The dogs loved him – he had a very patient line of them at one point, queuing up and waiting for their turn. Typically working two hands at once. 

We worked with whoever was nearest at the time – sometimes they were resting on each other so one hand could slide over them both, sometimes they were within reach of both therapists so received a double helping. 

By the end, they were all asleep, rested and snoring and we both had wide silly grins. 

Best day. 


Saturday, 7 September 2019

Massage Diva

Charley’s Mum recently put up this post of their new nightly therapy routine “This is how Charley has his massage now Uncle Les .... candles lit, nightlights on, Coronation Street on. What a Massage Diva!!”