Wednesday, 24 March 2021

“I feel we will both benefit from not feeling like victims to her condition”.


The lovely Gracie was a good example of how we can help you to help your dog.  She is a 4 year old Lab who has chronic lameness on the right fore-leg.  Veterinary X Rays showed OA changes bilaterally over her elbows with suspected bilateral elbow dysplasia.  The vets suspect she might have osteophytes on the anconeal process on the flexed lateral elbow views which will cause her limping when these catch during movement. 

They offered her Mum a couple of options.  Conservative management with pain medication, weight control or referral for a CT scan.  If these showed a fragmented coronoid process, they could consider removal, although they suggested that even if we surgically remove these fragments, she might not show huge clinical improvement.

Her Mum wanted to try conservative therapy with massage and exercise as a starting point.  This could potentially help relieve Gracie’s lameness but would also be a perfect plan for long-term maintenance by massaging her regularly.  Then, if Gracie showed little improvement after a while, option 2 could be commenced.

Gracie showed all the classic signs of protective standing where she had been over-using her other limbs and muscles to protect that left arm from discomfort.  This, in turn, had caused compensatory issues with those.  Helping ease the tension that had arisen should hopefully start to re-balance her gait.

As the session continued, Gracie settled feeling more comfy and relieved.   

As well as demonstrating and preparing an appropriate massage routine, her Mum and I designed a series of exercises which would gently start to use the weaker leg again.  An addition was our special quick and effective Locomotion warm-up and cool-down routine.

At the end of the session, Gracie gave us both a huge long downward dog stretch, something she hadn’t felt able to do for a while. 

Later her Mum wrote “I received her/our workbook and printed it out for reference and will start today. We have already bought a message mat which we shall use just for that so that she knows what is happening!  She has enjoyed her warm ups prior to walking and warm downs too!.....So, now to some pleasurable work for Gracie and me! We have a lot to learn and enjoy over the next few months. Then I will reassess how she is and take further steps from there” 

And a few months later…..”She is doing very well!  Running with other dogs.  We keep up the evening message - she demands it!”

She also wrote “I feel we will both benefit from not feeling like victims to her condition” which is exactly what I hoped to achieve with our ‘Helping you to help your dog’ philosophy.


Monday, 22 March 2021

Helping you to help your dog


As a Canine Physical Therapist with over 8 years of experience treating our own dogs and, as a successful business, hundreds of other dogs, I have discovered that, where seeing a professional undoubtedly helps, that isn't the whole story.

The therapist can't always be on hand 24/7 but you, their carer, on the other hand, are more likely to be.  By teaching you a regular massage and exercise regime that, together with a personalised workbook with illustrations of the techniques applicable to your dog, you will be able to support your dog.  This applies equally whether that’s an agility dog with warm-up and cool-down routines, a less able dog through disease or recovery from surgery, or an older dog needing help with mobility and arthritis.

With this focus towards helping you help your dog, I have found my regular dogs benefiting far more from this regime than just the therapist's visit.

The dogs get a massage whenever they need it rather than when it fits the diary - even daily if necessary.  They get their stretches, their exercises, their rehabilitation whenever is convenient. 

In addition, we can discuss easing access for your dog - flooring and non-slip surface adjustments, ramps to ease passage up/down steps and refer back to your vet for issues that may require further investigation.  Lifestyle changes like this, will help all day long and every day.

A famous person once said “The way you protect your power is not to hoard it, but to pass it on”…well actually it was Buffy in Season 7 but you get the idea.  Rather than just showing you a couple of massage strokes, which might mean you having to go back to the therapist time and again, we help you develop your own skills and empower you with a full physical therapy routine that you can apply regularly with your dog.  But we will still be there for help should you need further assistance.

Give me a call or drop me an email if you’d like to have a 1 to 1 session where we help you to help your dog.   Sessions will be held here at AchyPaw HQ in Saltdean.