Category Archives: dog care

Continuing education in pain management

In some professions (like mine) unless you choose to belong to a professional association that requires it, there is no requirement for continuing education (“CE”) or lifelong learning.

Long before I became Fear Free certified, I pledged that I would invest time and resources each year to additional study and I list everything I’ve done on my website to give my clients transparency and assurance.

This weekend has been a study weekend for me.  I’ve just finished a course in the Effects and Management of Chronic Pain in dogs and cats.  Chronic pain presents challenges for a number of reasons including:

  • recognition by the owner that their animal may be in pain
  • scoring of pain and tracking of improvements – a communication challenge across practitioners (owner, vet, massage/rehab therapist)
  • trigger points, myofascial pain syndrome, and compensation in movement which must be resolved to manage the pain (this is where my skills, in particular, are important)
  • setting realistic goals for the dog’s future activity

I was pleased to see the course endorse things I already do in my practice, such as having owners keep a journal of their dog’s movement and pain.

What I particularly liked is the description that arthritis is not an old dog’s disease – it’s a young dog’s disease because development of osteoarthritis is typically secondary to a conformational issue.   For those of you who wonder why I insist on gait analysis, this is why!

I cannot emphasise enough that we need to use our observational skills with our dogs because they are non-verbal communicators.  This video from Canine Arthritis Management ‘In Silence’ puts this important issue into perspective.

So in signing off, I use the words of basketball coach John Wooden, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”

Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

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Demonstrating dog massage

I’ve been practising as a professional canine massage and rehab therapist for 10 years.

Because there are still dog parents out there that are unfamiliar with complementary care options for their dog, especially low impact ones that can be achieved in the home environment, I always look for ways to provide demonstrations – in person –  of what I do.

Last week, I was invited to participate in a pet night at our local PetStock branch.  Izzy, my greyhound, is very experienced at being a demo-dog.  In fact, I think she’s a very successful marketer!

Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

At the vets

Today, Izzy was at the vets for her fourth Synovan injection for arthritis.

Izzy isn’t afraid of the vet, but she isn’t comfortable on the hard floor, either.   She’s used to carpet, a nice cushioning dog bed, or my bed – and because it’s winter, the hard floor can also be cold.   Physical discomfort is a form of stress.

My Fear Free solution has been to bring a cushioned mat with us to the vet for each visit and the mat has the added benefit of providing a surface that isn’t as slippery – also useful for a dog with arthritis.

Izzy can wait in comfort in the waiting room and the mat makes the exam room less stressful, too.

Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Cooking for my dog

For many of us, cooking for those we love is a way of expressing our affection.  I have always enjoyed cooking for my dogs – using fresh ingredients and creating tasty treats.  In fact, before I even decided to train in canine massage and rehab, I was already making treats for dogs as a business (Canine Catering).

Five years ago, I started my Cooking for Dogs class to teach other owners how easy it is to make yummy additions for dog food using simple and fresh ingredients.

Over the last 3 months, here are some of the things I’ve made:

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Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Bad teeth revealed as biggest problem for pet greyhounds

Dental disease is the most common health issue facing pet greyhounds, according to the largest ever study of greyhounds treated in first opinion veterinary clinics. The research, led by the Royal Veterinary College’s (RVC) VetCompass programme in collaboration with the University of Bristol Vet School, reveals that 39 per cent of greyhounds suffer from dental problems, which is a far higher percentage than for any other dog breed.

greyhound dental disease

As well as bad teeth, the research revealed that traumatic injuries, overgrown nails and osteoarthritis are also major concerns for pet greyhounds. Overgrown nails affected 11.1 per cent of greyhounds, wounds 6.2 per cent, osteoarthritis 4.6 per cent and claw injury 4.2 per cent.

Greyhounds in the UK are typically used for racing during their early lives, with an increasing number rehomed as pets after their racing careers are over. The results of this study, which is published in Canine Genetics and Epidemiology, adds significantly to evidence available for the debate on the welfare issues surrounding greyhound racing. It will also help breeders and regulators to prioritise activities to mitigate the worst of the harm to greyhounds from their racing careers, as well as help greyhound rehoming organisations advise adopters on optimal preventative care options.

Researchers studied 5,419 greyhounds seen by first opinion vets in 2016. Key findings include:

  • The most common disease in greyhounds was dental disease (39.0 per cent affected). This is much higher than reported for other larger breeds such as the German Shepherd Dog (4.1 per cent) or the Rottweiler (3.1 per cent);
  • Urinary incontinence was more common in female greyhounds (3.4 per cent) than males (0.4 per cent);
  • Aggression was more commonly reported in males (2.6 per cent) than females (one per cent);
  • The median lifespan for greyhounds is 11.4 years, compared to the 12 years previously reported for dogs overall;
  • The most common causes of death in greyhounds are cancer (21.5 per cent), collapse (14.3 per cent) and arthritis (7.8 per cent).

Dr Dan O’Neill, Veterinary Epidemiologist and VetCompassTM researcher at the RVC, who was the main author of the paper, said: “Pet greyhounds are now a common breed treated in general veterinary practices in the UK. Retired racing greyhounds can make very good pets, but these results sadly show that they also carry health legacies from inherent breed predispositions as well as impacts from their prior racing careers. These potential problems include bad teeth, behavioural issues and arthritis. Our new VetCompass evidence especially reveals a worryingly high level of dental disease. This awareness should encourage all those who care for the greyhound to prioritise preventive and remedial strategies for these issues and therefore to  improve the welfare of this lovely breed, both before and after rehoming as pets.”

Dr Nicola Rooney, co-author and lead researcher on Greyhound Welfare Project at the Bristol Veterinary School, added: “Greyhounds can make fantastic pets and live long healthy lives, but it has long been suspected that they are particularly prone to dental problems which can negatively impact upon their quality of life. Here we have the first evidence that levels of dental issues are higher in greyhounds than in other breeds. This highlights the importance of conducting research into ways of improving dental health.

“At Bristol we have been conducting a three-year research programme to further understand what causes dental problems in greyhounds and methods to avoid them. Combined with the current RVC study, this is an important step to understanding and improving the future welfare of greyhounds.”

Professor Steve Dean, Chairman of the Kennel Club Charitable Trust (KCCT), explained: “I must declare an interest in this study as my additional role as Chairman of the Greyhound Trust reveals my enthusiasm for this lovely breed. It will come as no surprise to those who love greyhounds that dental plaque is a significant condition in this breed. This latest study from the VetCompass initiative reveals the extent of the problem and should stimulate interest in further work to understand why periodontal disease is such an issue for both the racing dog and the retired greyhound. Effective research could also have a far reaching impact for several other breeds that suffer a similar challenge. The VetCompass programme has been helpful in revealing breed specific problems and this study is yet another informative analysis   of extensive clinical data. The Kennel Club Charitable Trust regards the financial support it provides as a successful investment in clinical research.”

Paper

Greyhounds under general veterinary care in the UK during 2016: demography and common disorders by O’Neill, D.G., Rooney, N.J., Brock, C., Church, D.B., Brodbelt, D.C. and Pegram, C. in Canine Genetics and Epidemiology [open access]

Source:  University of Bristol media statement

It makes my tail wag when the poop is in the bag

A common problem for most communities is ensuring that dog parents take responsibility for their dog’s poop.

This brochure at the Town of Needham offices caught my eye…a plea to dog owners and walkers to bag it and trash it…

What initiatives does your town have to ensure poop is scooped?

Municipup says

Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Pets are a priority when moving

Is it a case of the tail wagging the dog, or every dog having his day? However you define it, the cat is out of the bag when it comes to pet owners and moving into a new home.

A new survey from US company Mayflower reveals pet priorities are often equal to or more important than human-focused amenities when American dog and cat owners decide on new homes and communities.

african american man with labrador dog in new apartment with cardboard boxes

Overall, pet owners say one-third of their overall decision to move was related to their pet, and survey respondents cited willingness to pay significantly more and even forgo perks like shorter commutes and updated kitchens in favor of pet-friendly features.

The 2019 Mayflower Mover Insights Survey explored the process of moving or preparing to move with a pet, including just how much pets factor into choices about home and community features. According to the survey, cat and dog owners who have moved recently say their pet influenced which new home they chose by 39 percent and which new community they chose by 26 percent. Additionally:

  • Pet owners who plan to move say their pet will influence their choice of home by 48 percent and their choice of community by 33 percent.
  • Pet owners who are likely to move in the next five years are willing to pay an average of 32 percent more each month to get the pet-friendly features they want, such as a fenced-in yard and plenty of indoor space, as compared to their current monthly housing costs.
  • Kitchen vs. Canine: Half of future movers (50 percent) want an updated kitchen, and the other half (50 percent) prioritize a pet-friendly feature.
  • Pet vs. Place of Business: While nearly half (49 percent) of future movers want to live close to work, the other half (51 percent) prioritizes pet-friendly features in their new home.

Mayflower’s survey also found more than three-fourths of past movers and future movers with pets didn’t stay close or don’t plan to stay close to their current neighborhood or part of town when choosing their next home. Yet, more than two-thirds of past movers tried to stay close to their pet’s favorite human and furry friends, their favorite park and their vet. The pet-related decisions meant more than staying near their old neighborhood.

“In the last few years, we’ve heard more and more from our customers about the impact moving has on pets. With every move, we strive to ensure the process is smooth for both our customers and their animals by providing expertise, information and constant support,” said Eily Cummings, director of corporate communications, Mayflower.

Settling in: Stressful or smooth for Fido and Fluffy  

Pets may get the priority for perks when their humans relocate, but moving is still a stressful activity for dogs and cats. Mayflower’s survey also shed light on pets’ experiences during moves.

  • Half of pet owners (50 percent) reported their pets struggled to adjust to their new home – especially the feline friends. Nearly two-thirds of all cat owners say their cat had difficulty adjusting.
  • Prior to a move, almost half of pet owners (47 percent) sought information about moving with a pet, including researching online, talking with others who have moved with a pet or speaking with a vet.
  • To smooth the transition, eight in 10 pet owners gave their pet extra attention and showed them where things were in the new home.
  • Nearly half of all future owners (48 percent) will introduce their pet to the new home prior to moving in to minimize their dog and/or cat’s stress.
  • More than half of all survey respondents (53 percent) said their spouse/partner added or will add more stress to the move than their pet did.

However, there’s still good news for pet owners: more than nine in 10 owners say their pets adjusted to their new setting in less than a month. And, more than 90 percent of pet owners agree that wherever they and their pets are together is instantly home.

Survey Background and Methodology

TRUE Global Intelligence, the in-house research practice of FleishmanHillard, fielded an online survey of 2,904 American cat and/or dog owners who have moved with their pet(s) within the past five years or are likely to move with their pet(s) within the next five years. The survey was fielded between January 11 to January 20, 2019. Sampling was conducted to balance age, gender, and, for the nationwide sample, geographic region. Some questions were asked with a “Not Applicable” option. Those questions have been reported based on the total number for whom the question/item was applicable. To clarify the different experiences of cat and dog owners, statistics referencing cat and dog owners specifically include only those respondents with a dog(s) or a cat(s) and exclude respondents who own both.

Editor’s note: Additional survey data is available by request. If interested, please contact Bonnie Stack at 314-982-1730 or bonnie.stack@fleishman.com.

About Mayflower

Mayflower is America’s most recognized and trusted moving company. With headquarters in suburban St. Louis, Mayflower maintains a network of 300 affiliated agencies.

Source:  Mayflower Mover press release