Tag Archives: acupressure

Before and after

Our friend Ben, a greyhound, had an accident on Saturday, 15th September 2018.

From what we can tell, he was chasing a cat who must have taken a hard right turn.  When Ben tried to follow (he was under cover of a line of bushes and trees at the time of the incident), his momentum carried him sideways into a tree.  He emitted a huge cry of pain but was luckily able to walk home slowly before being taken to the vet within 15 minutes of the crash.

His bruising wasn’t immediately apparent because bruising takes time to come up; the vet suggested that he might also have cracked a rib during the impact.

Ben's bruising after photo

Ben the greyhound shortly after the incident

But within a few hours, here’s what he looked like:

Ben's bruising before photo

Ben the greyhound on 15 September 2018

I visited with him on Saturday afternoon and again on Monday (17th September) to laser him thoroughly with specific acupressure and trigger points addressed.  To some extent, the laser helped to bring out the bruising and speed healing.  His mum was also giving him regular rubdowns with Sore No More lotion (which I use and sell in my practice) and also dosing him Traumeel drops which I also recommend to my clients as a ‘must have’ for their First Aid kits.

And today (Wednesday, 19th September 2018), I got these lovely photos of Ben who is happily out running again in the sunshine:

 

It is very rewarding to be able to help dogs using my scope of practice of massage, acupressure, and laser therapies.  It’s even more rewarding when the dog is also a close friend.

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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All dogs matter

 

All dogs matter

I often get asked ‘what type of dog benefits most from massage and laser?’

People think that a certain breed or size of dog has the most problems.  While it is true that some breeds have a higher likelihood of problems due to genetics – obesity or hip dysplasia in Labradors, for example – the reality is that all dogs benefit from touch therapies.  That’s purebreds and mixed breeds, toy dogs, medium and large dogs and extra-large dogs.

People also think that you only massage a dog once they are elderly and showing signs of discomfort.  While of course you should seek help in these instances, you can keep your dog more flexible in the joints and with good blood flow to the muscles by instituting a regular wellness program that includes massage.

And by regular, I only see some of my clients six- or eight-weekly, because we have their dog responding well to their treatments.  They move more freely and comfortably now and only need a ‘top up’ to keep in good shape.

So the other message I have in this post is that your dog’s massage therapy doesn’t have to break your budget.  If you get your dog into a regular massage program, you can easily plan for this expense and accommodate it.   This is so much better than trying to fund the ‘ambulance at the bottom of the cliff’ approach.

I practice on a mobile basis, and so with lower overheads (no clinic to rent, heat and insure), I pass on these savings to my customers.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

 

It’s just old age…

It happened again yesterday.

Someone asked me what I do for a living and I described my dog massage practice and how many of my clients are older dogs with varying degrees of arthritis and other orthopedic problems.

And then he said it.  “My friend has an old dog, he’s almost 10, and we’re pretty sure he’s got arthritis.  But then again, it’s just old age.

I tried to explain that there are many things we can do for dogs with arthritis which keeps them pain free and happy.  And because their pain is managed, they live longer.

Old Dog Buster

Buster, an older dog of 10+ is enjoying a new lease of life thanks to a combination of pain medication, massage, laser and weight loss

The message still wasn’t getting through…and then he described his friend’s dog:

  • he’s getting more aggressive; he even bit my friend one night when he went to feed him
  • he doesn’t run around much any more
  • he doesn’t come to greet me when I visit; he used to

I did my best to say that his friend needed to get his dog to a vet for an examination and that I would be too happy to see him for an assessment.  Behavior changes often occur when a dog is in pain.  And, just because the dog is older doesn’t mean the issue is arthritis.  We would need a working diagnosis from a qualified veterinarian.

He took my card; I hope his friend calls.  I can’t stand the thought of another dog who is in pain and doesn’t have to be.

It’s not about old age; it’s about the right care.

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

 

Hi from Kenny

I’ve been taking a break from my massage practice this week, doing some additional study (and enjoying every minute of it.)  One of the things I love about my clients is that they understand the need for me to have a break, but they also like to update me about their dogs…

Here’s one of my emails:

Just thought I would send you a quick message!

I hope all is going well on your holiday.

Kenny is doing as well as can be. He has had 2 panting episodes over the past week, one was all day Saturday and one started in the evening on Tuesday and lasted a few hours. We popped the thunder shirt on him which did seem to calm him a little.

He sends his love and wanted to tell you he is loving the sun and warm weather we have been getting here and he even had a bath the other day which felt amazing!

Kenny

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

Teddy’s journey – the bandages come off

Teddy has had two consultations this week to assist his recovery.

On Monday (a day after discharge), Teddy was at home resting near the log burner and constrained in either his crate or a playpen area that Jill had set up for him.  His pack mates – sister Verdi (shown in the background) and his mother, Maggie were a little confused by the new situation.  Verdi was showing some signs of dominance – growling at Teddy.

Teddy sleeping with compression bandage

Teddy’s amputation incision was covered in a compression bandage to help with swelling

Jill was using an ice pack on the incision area four times per day to help with swelling and pain relief (Teddy was also receiving pain relief through a Fentanyl patch which delivers pain medication through the skin and also Previcox, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug.)

On this day, I performed an acupressure sequence on Teddy to help his body recover from the anesthesia.  We also measured Teddy for his Walkabout Harness.

Teddy received a replacement Fentanyl patch on Tuesday.

I returned on Friday to see Teddy – with his bandages removed.  This is the first time I’ve been able to view his incision up close.

Teddy's incision

Teddy on the massage table, ready for a light treatment

Teddy was very tired on Friday and favoring his right side by sleeping mostly on his left.  This is not surprising since the comfort of the compression bandage and padding on his surgery site had been removed.

We will treat Teddy conservatively and manage his comfort in the early stages of his recovery.  Consequently, I only worked on Teddy in the above, resting position.  I gently massaged over his hips and back and he received cold laser therapy over his hips and his left forepaw (which has some arthritis).

Teddy was deeply asleep after his session – a sure sign that he needed the time out and that rest is the best thing for him.

Teddy has always been a receptive dog for massage and I expect him to be even more so post-amputation.

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

 

Megaesophagus

Megaesophagus is a condition where the muscles of the esophagus fail, similar to a limp balloon that has inflated several times and lost its elasticity:Limp balloonWhen the condition is present, the esophagus doesn’t contract normally and food can’t make it down into the stomach to be digested.  Food can ‘pool’ in the esophagus causing regurgitation.  Worse, the undigested food can be inhaled leading to a condition called aspiration pneumonia.  Megaesophagus can affect puppies and adult dogs.

Vets normally have to diagnose the condition from its range of symptoms which include:

  • Regurgitation of water or food
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss that is sudden
  • Frequent clearing of the throat
  • Sour smelling breath
  • Difficulty in swallowing or frequent swallowing
  • Aspiration pneumonia

Megaesophagus is a condition that can be managed, but it does take a dedicated and vigilant dog parent to do this.

Dogs with the condition have to eat and drink in a device called a Bailey Chair.  The chair allows the dog to sit in an upright position for an extended period of time.  A megaesophagus dog needs to be fed in the chair and kept upright for at least 20 minutes to allow gravity to take the food and water into the stomach.

Dogs with megaesophagus have special nutritional needs, too.  Since dogs with this condition can’t drink normally, they often need water added to their meals and to receive high moisture treats that are thickened with gelatin or other ingredients.

A megaesophagus dog needs a diet that is calorie rich and nutritious but without too much fibre.  Raw foods are a special risk to these dogs because of their sensitive digestive systems.  There’s also a risk of bacterial contamination, particularly if even small amounts of raw food are aspirated.

Prescription medications like Carafate liquid can also help these dogs because it provides a protective coating for the esophagus.

It’s also important to think holistically for these dogs, with support with Bach flower remedies, herbs and supplements.   In my practice, I work with the dogs to keep their digestive systems healthy through massage and acupressure and nutrition.  The spleen, liver and stomach all need support when a dog has megaesophagus.

In older dogs with arthritis, having to sit in a Bailey Chair presents additional challenges that require holistic veterinary care.

The good news is that megaesophagus doesn’t mean a death sentence.  It does mean that your special dog will need special care and attention to maintain its health throughout its lifetime.

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

Palliative care for dogs

In humans, palliative care is provided to patients to help relieve symptoms of chronic or serious illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s disease or cancer.  This type of treatment includes pain relief but also stress relief to enhance quality of life.

Palliative care is also available for dogs and is a viable alternative to immediate euthanasia when the vet and the family feel that the dog still has quality of life and any pain can be managed.

As a canine massage and rehab practitioner, I get involved in palliative care cases.  Some dogs are at the palliative care phase when I am called in.  Others have been my clients for a while and their life situation has changed.  Using acupressure, massage and/or low level laser, I’m able to help with pain management and give the dog a bit of TLC.  I often play relaxing music for the dog to make the time even more special.

In my experience, palliative care can be a very positive, transitional phase for the family.  It’s a time to say goodbye. If there are children in the household, parents are able to explain what will happen when a dog is put to sleep and the children learn to understand the vulnerabilities of a dog who is old or who is ill.

It will never be easy to say goodbye, but thanks to quality veterinary care and a greater understanding of pain management, more owners can opt for a palliative care phase for their dog – so they can enjoy as much time together as possible.