Category Archives: dog care

Teaching others the benefits of dog massage

Last weekend, I held my first dog massage workshops in five years.  These half-day workshops cover my own 12-step relaxation massage sequence for dogs along with the basics of gait analysis, senior dog care and keeping records on lumps and bumps.

Today, I received this text:

“Hi, Coffee and I came to your massage class last weekend and, when we were doing hands on, I noticed a golf-ball sized lump on her.  I took her to the vet and they have operated and removed it, so just wanted to say thanks as would not have come across it if it wasn’t for your class.”

I can’t wait to do more workshops on a variety of holistic dog care topics…and I am so happy that Coffee’s lump was found in time – all because of massage.

And here are some photos from the weekend:

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Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Unlikely Best Friends

I’m always a little surprised when, after I explain that one of my services is to help owners measure and fit dogs for mobility carts, that I get answers like “I’d never do that to a dog.”

Stories like this one, an ad sponsored by the Kleenex brand, show you why some dogs can do very well in a cart – and experience quality of life while also sharing unconditional love.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Dog bite prevention – we may be on the wrong track

Scientists at the University of Liverpool have shown that educating pet owners about canine body language may not be sufficient to preventing dog bites.  They’ve published their research in the Journal of Veterinary Behaviour.

Dog bite photo

At a time when data suggests dog bite incidents are increasing, the team at Liverpool interviewed victims of dog attacks to gain further understanding into their perceptions of the experience.

They found that in some cases there was no interaction with the dog before the bite occurred and therefore no opportunity to assess behaviour.  There was a common tendency for victims to blame themselves for the attack, rather than the animal, or in cases where the dog was not known to them, they blamed the dog’s owner.

Warning signs

Even those who felt knowledgeable about dogs, perceived that a bite “would not happen to them”, and so despite the warning signs would continue acting in the same manner, suggesting that education on body language was ineffective as a preventative measure.

My comment:  This particular part of the research resonates with me.  I’ve seen dog trainers, working with client’s dogs, be super-confident despite the feedback that both the owners and myself would be giving them.  And then, they’d do things with the dog – such as reaching for their collar – which would instigate a snap. 

Working with dogs is a privilege, but we should also be humble enough to treat each dog as an individual…

“Preventing the situation from arising at all may not always be feasible. Reducing the damage caused when a dog does bite, through careful pet dog selection and training, is something we should aim for.”  says Dr Carri Westgarth, a dog behaviour expert at the University’s Institute of Infection and Global Health.

Raising awareness

The researchers highlight that there is not enough knowledge of how dog bites occur to know how to prevent them entirely. Raising awareness that ‘it could happen to you’ as often used in other campaigns such as drink-driving, will be required for successful dog bite prevention.

More work is also needed with dog breeders to supply dogs that are less likely to bite and that have inhibited bites that do less damage, moving away from a victim or owner ‘blame’ model to explain dog bite injury.

Source:  University of Liverpool media release

Dog buns

It seems that there’s a new trend in grooming and photographing dogs – it’s called dog buns, as seen from these photos downloaded from Instagram and Pinterest:

Dog bundog bun 3While I understand that some people think these photos are cute or funny, I don’t agree in tying up the ears of a dog.  The ears of a dog are sensitive tissues, with many acupressure points.

Tying up of the ears can interfere with blood circulation and, if left in for any period of time, the area is a breeding ground for bacteria – particularly in wet conditions.

Leave your dog’s ears alone!  The only dog buns I like to see are these ones:

Izzy, Greyhound, adopted in October 2014 (Photo by Dany Wu)

Izzy, Greyhound, adopted in October 2014 (Photo by Dany Wu)

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

A dog’s perspective of your trip to the vet

This is a great video made for veterinary practices – reminding them about the layout and setting they should provide for their dog clients.

I particularly like the reference to stress and the effect it has on recovery time.  That is one reason why I recommend massage, done by a professional, when a dog is recovering.

Massage will help to reduce the anxiety and aid blood flow and recovery.  I also use acupressure to help clear the anesthetic medications from the dog’s body.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Old dog face

DoggyMom.com:

What a lovely perspective on having an older dog…it does creep up on us yet they are a joy to have in your household – making you value time even more.

Originally posted on No Dog About It Blog:

What is it that changes in a dog’s face that suddenly makes her look old? Is it the lightening around her muzzle? Or, the increasing milkiness of her eyes? Or, is it the way she smiles, flashing that toothy grin at us?

What is it that we first notice? Is it a moment or an accumulation of moments? It seems like one day we are looking at our dog and seeing a young and energetic face, and the next day we see an old one in its place. It always seems like a surprise to me when I finally see it.

A couple of months ago, I took a candid shot of Cupcake standing out on the patio. What I saw on my camera’s viewing screen made me stop and stare.  “Wait. What happened?” I thought, “That doesn’t look like Cupcake. That looks like an old dog.” And it was. It was my Cupcake, in all…

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Drug trials in pet dogs with cancer

Physiological similarities between dogs and humans, and conserved genetics between some dog and human cancers, can allow pet dogs to serve as useful models for studying new cancer drugs, says Dr Timothy Fan of the University of Illinois.

Timothy Fan, professor of veterinary clinical medicine. With his personal dog, Ember

Timothy Fan, professor of veterinary clinical medicine. With his personal dog, Ember  photo by L. Brian Stauffer

In a meeting sponsored by the National Cancer Policy Forum of the National Academies’ Institute of Medicine in Washington, D.C., Fan and 15 other experts in the field described the benefits of using pet dogs with naturally occurring (rather than laboratory-induced) tumors in early cancer drug trials.

“We have a lot of dogs in the United States, approximately 70 million of them, and it’s believed that about 25 percent of pet dogs will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime,” he said. “We’re using dogs to help guide drug development for people, but at the same time we’re offering new, innovative therapies that would otherwise never be available to dogs, to help them as well.”

Several attributes make pet dogs attractive subjects for such studies, Fan said.

“Dogs tend to develop cancer as a geriatric population, just like people,” he said. “Because the tumors develop spontaneously, there is heterogeneity in that tumor population, as a human being would have. The size of the tumors and the speed of growth of those tumors are comparable in dogs and human beings. So there are many attributes of a dog that develops cancer spontaneously that recapitulate the biology that we see in people.”

Some studies have already begun using dogs to test new cancer therapies. Starting in 2007, for example, Fan began testing an anti-cancer drug called PAC-1  in pet dogs with naturally occurring lymphomas and osteosarcomas. The results in dogs allowed the scientists to advance PAC-1 as a potential therapy against human cancers. The drug is now in phase I human clinic trials.

“Another example in which dogs have been important in demonstrating drug activity was an anti-cancer compound produced by the pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences,” he said. “The company produced a pro-drug, which must be activated by a naturally occurring enzyme in human leukocytes before it can become effective. Mice and rats lack this enzyme, but dogs have it, so the compound was tested in dogs.”

There also are limitations to the use of pet dogs in cancer drug trials.

“There are some tumors that will not be that relevant,” Fan said. “Colon cancer, for example, is heavily driven by diet, and we don’t see much colon cancer in dogs. So pet dogs might not be a suitable model for colon cancer in humans.”

“There is heterogeneity in the human population and in dogs. So I would argue that if your drug agent produces positive results in dogs, that would give me greater confidence that those findings would be translatable to people.”

Source:  University of Illinois media release