Did I hear you correctly?
Dog Massage!

pet advice

Did I hear you correctly? Dog Massage!

words by
catherine harper // Barossa Veterinary clinic

Yes, you read that correctly! Did you know that there is a profession for dog massage?

The professional title is Canine Myofunctional Therapist, MYO- means muscle, so in fact a professional therapist not only massages muscles but also understands muscle function and how important healthy muscle function is for pets.

Canine Massage is an emerging field of complimentary animal health and is seen as a valuable adjunct to pet health in the veterinary industry.

Therapists will utilise a range of hands-on massage strokes to maintain your pets’ physical and emotional wellbeing, in collaboration with your treating veterinarian.  

Treatments focus on soft tissue structures (muscles, tendons and ligaments) as well as joints, with treatment plans designed to suit a pet’s individual needs.

These needs may arise from a variety of sources such as injury, conformational abnormalities, surgery, anxiety and the most significant, particularly at this time of year, arthritis.

Colder weather plays havoc with our joints, bringing on the aches and pains, the same is true for our beloved fur-babies.

Our muscles tighten and our joints don’t move as freely; healthy joints feel stiff and arthritic joints begin to ache.

Signs of muscle or joint discomfort in our pets include:

  • Lameness.
  • Stiffness and reduced mobility.
  • Reluctance to climb or jump.
  • Slower to get up or down.
  • Yelping in pain or signs of irritability.
  • Intolerance to exercise.
  • Sleeping more.

Successful management of arthritis, as with most diseases, requires a holistic approach. 

This involves assessing your pet’s current health in conjunction with your veterinarian and then some home factors including their environment, current activity level, diet, interactions with family members and pets.

A treatment plan is established that will often encompass massage and provides appropriate guidance for homecare including targeted exercises that will help to manage and improve your pet’s particular problem.

Massage therapists work with your veterinarian to observe subtle signs of arthritis and other conditions including muscle loss and pain, trigger points and spasms. 

A calming environment and hands on treatment are used to:

  • Decrease muscle tension and pain.
  • Increase and improve joint flexibility, mobility and range of motion.
  • Increase muscle mass, tone and strength.
  • Improve joint stability.
  • Increase circulation to and within muscles.

If your pet has previously been diagnosed with arthritis, or you feel they are showing some of the above signs and would like to investigate massage as part of their management, Barossa Veterinary Service has their own Canine Myofunctional Therapist, Jackie Turner.

You do not have to be a client; we are happy to share appropriate information with your normal veterinarian.   

Jackie is passionate about her work and looks forward to introducing herself to wonderful clients and their beautiful fur-babies and letting them experience the calming, healing world of massage.

Catherine Harper


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