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Diagnosed Conditions

Below is a list of common diagnosed conditions that would benefit from canine massage therapy - this list is not exhaustive and any injury, strain, muscular issue would benefit!



Frequently known as OA and can cause weakening and subsequent damage of the articular cartilage of the joint.  This articular cartilage covers and protects the bone ends. The main function of this articular cartilage is to provide a smooth, lubricated surface for articulation and to allow for low friction during movement.  If the articular cartilage become brittle this will subsequently lead to increased friction of the joint. If the cartilage becomes too thin then the bone ends can rub together which will ultimately result in the bones wearing each other away. 

Osteoarthritis and cartilage damage can be the result of many things such as trauma, growth deformities, infection and age related issues to name a few.  

The symptoms your dog may exhibit could be lameness, an unwillingness to participate in activities they used to love, stiffness, change in behaviour, visual muscular atrophy and pain symptoms.

Treatment for osteoarthritis will tend to be pain relief, weight loss, exercise modification, adaptations made within the home, diet and supplements, injections into the joint space and finally surgery.

Myotherapy can help by reducing the tension within the surrounding muscles, increasing circulation which will then enable tissues to repair and thereby reducing swelling.

Myotherapy will also give a sense of pain relief due to the nervous system releasing feel good hormones reducing pain perception.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is commonly thought to be a congenital problem/disease but actually occurs whilst your dog is growing and the hip joints become abnormal.  It is thought that this condition occurs due to rapid growth and diet although breed and genetics do play a role.  

Hip dysplasia is probably the most common orthopaedic problem to affect dogs.  The ligaments and joint capsule which are designed to stabilise the hip joint become loose within the first few weeks of life. The articular cartilage causes erosion of the joint, the ball of the femoral head can become deformed due to bone remodelling which can widen the joint’s load-bearing surface in an attempt to compensate and stabilise the joint. As a result, the socket becomes shallower because it has been worn down due to the widening joint.  Diagnosis of this condition is usually made in puppies between six and twelve months of age.

Initially puppies may be reluctant to have their back end touched, may be stiff and lame, not enjoy exercise as they one did, problems getting up and down from a lying position and oddities in their walking pattern.

How myotherapy helps in this scenario is dependant upon how severe the condition is.  On the whole dogs with this condition do end up having to have surgery so myotherapy can help pre surgery by conditioning and preparing the muscles.  Myotherapy also plays a huge role in the rehabilitative phase in getting the muscle firing again as well as realigning the the muscle fibres.  During the latter stages of the recovery period myotherapy will also help to breakdown underlying scar tissue.

If surgery is not indicated then myotherapy can help by rebalancing the muscular system, strengthening individual muscles and treating the compensatory issues too.

Elbow Dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia is the most common cause of forelimb lameness in young, large and giant breed dogs. On the whole a dog will have a limp on one or both front legs. This is generally seen by the dog nods its head when the good leg is placed down and lifting of the head when the bad leg is placed on the ground. Some dogs that limp on both front legs will not have a limp, but will have an unusual “paddling” gait.

The lameness is often triggered by prolonged rest and exercise. The reason for this is when a dog wakes up it will be lame due to stiffness brought about by the body not being used which will be released after warming up through free exercise but will become lame again after cessation of exercise.

Most dogs will be diagnosed before they are two years old but in some instances some dogs will not limp until they are older.

Together elbow dysplasia and elbow osteoarthritis are the commonest causes of forelimb lameness in dogs of any age.

Smaller dogs can also be affected by elbow dysplasia and this should be considered in any dog with forelimb lameness that has not been caused by trauma.

Myotherapy again can support pre-surgical conditioning and post-operative rehabilitation as well as reduce loading issues on the joint along with soreness, pain and tension throughout the body.

The treatment can also be extremely beneficial for releasing compensatory tension and muscle spasms in the lower neck and behind the shoulder associated with elbow dysplasia.

Osteochondritis Disseances

Osteochondritis Dissecans or OCD occurs when the growing cartilage becomes thicker than normal which then prevents penetration of the bone marrow vessels.  Under these conditions the bone formation does not proceed normally and cracks from in the cartilage.  Inflammation and irritation then results when the cartilage fractures, detaches and then becomes lodged within the affected joints.  Joints most commonly involved are the shoulders, stifle, elbows and hocks.

Treatment would be similar to that as OA and will have a similar effect.  The aim of treatment is to work on secondary and compensatory muscular issues, supporting muscular health thereby promoting normal movement of the affected joint.

Myotherapy would not be applied directly over the affected joint due to that it may disrupt the area and make the area more painful.  The treatment, although not treating over the affected area, is designed to bring fresh oxygenated blood to the area which ultimately encourages the dog's own natural healing processes. 

Subluxing Patella

This a condition where the there is a displacement or dislocation of the patella from its groove.  The patella is supported by a tendon that allows it to move up and down but if the patella becomes displaced or dislocated it then moves side to side which then causes lameness.   More often or not the patella will dislocate during exercise causing an abnormal walking pattern similar to that of a skip.  Ordinarily the patella can spontaneously relocate into its groove.  If the patella is permanently displaced and cannot be repositioned then other marked deformities will occur such as an inability to flex and extend the joint.

In milder cases myotherapy can help to create a muscular balance within the pelvic region which can help to stabilise the joint.  In severe cases surgery may be required in which case myotherapy will be beneficial in both the pre and post surgical phases.

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