Tag Archives: low level laser therapy

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

 

 

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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

 

Does my dog have arthritis?

Fireplace photo

Arthritis is a common condition in older dogs.  At first, though, owners may not always realise when their dog is suffering.  That’s because dogs tend to hide discomfort and pain from their pack.

Signs that your dog may be suffering from arthritis include:

  • Difficulty sitting or standing
  • Sleeping more
  • Weight gain
  • Reluctance to jump, run, walk or climb stairs
  • Decreased interest in playing or engaging in activities
  • Being less alert
  • Favouring a limb
  • Changes in attitude or behaviour

One day in 2011, Daisy let me know something was wrong.  We were out walking and she slowed down and stopped and the look in her eyes was one of pain.  She had finally let me know that she wasn’t feeling herself.

A series of x-rays confirmed arthritis in her lumbosacral spine and left hip.

Since then, she has responded to rest, conventional treatments, hydrotherapy, and other complementary therapies including my massage and laser treatments.

Quality of life for an arthritis sufferer can be attained – once the owner is aware of the problem!

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.