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