When a joint is diseased, frequently causing chronic pain, extra support is required from its associated muscles. This typically leads to the recruited muscles being overused, leading to painful muscular and fascial dysfunction, ultimately further reducing the range of motion of the joint. More muscles then begin to overcompensate whilst others can become atrophied due to lack of use. The result is a continuing cycle of pain.
Clinical Canine Massage can help to break this cycle of pain by addressing the primary muscle stress around the affected joint(s) and the secondary areas of overcompensation. In so doing, chronic pain can be effectively managed and range of motion can be improved. Massage influences the production of endorphins, the bodies' own highly effective pain killer as well as helping to increase circulation, lymphatic drainage and reduce oedema - all particularly important for dogs on restricted exercise. Note that Post-Operation, massage is contra-indicated for a period of time to allow for healing, this is typically a minimum of 4 - 6 weeks and veterinary guidance must always be strictly followed. Examples of conditions which may be supported by Clinical Canine Massage following diagnosis and obtaining consent from a veterinarian include:
BREAKS AND FRACTURES
A fractured bone is one which has been partially or completely broken and it is very painful. There are 4 classifications which are:
1. Closed. Complete fracture of the bone and the overlying skin is intact.
2. Greenstick. Incomplete with very small fractures in an intact bone.
3. Compound. Complete fracture with bone protruding through the skin.
4. Epiphyseal. Fracture of the epiphyseal (growth) plate.
The most common cause of a fracture is trauma. Whilst osteoporosis is very rare in dogs they can suffer from a genetic condition called osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), also known as brittle bone disease. Affected dogs suffer fractures more easily.
Note: Massage is contraindicated in the area of the fracture until the bone has healed. Following this, Clinical Canine Massage can play an important role in recovery.
CRUCIATE LIGAMENT DAMAGE, TPLO and TTA
Within the hinged stifle joint, the 2 cruciate ligaments cross each other and join the Femur to the Tibia. Assisting with joint stability, the cranial cruciate ligament (the most commonly injured) prevents cranial movement of the Tibia in relation to the Femur during weight bearing whereas the caudal cruciate ligament prevents caudal movement of the Tibia in relation to the Femur. When a ligament is damaged it is called a sprain and there are 4 degrees depending on severity. A milder grade 1 can quickly progress to a grade 2 if not carefully managed. The condition is usually the result of gradual deterioration and lifestyle plays an important role. It can affect younger or older dogs, it sometimes has a genetic link and some breeds (of varying sizes) are pre-disposed. A grade 3 or 4 sprain will require surgical intervention and typically involves re-shaping of the Tibia through either Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) or Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA). These surgical procedures alter the geometry of the joint and mean the ligament is no longer required.
HIP AND ELBOW DYSPLASIA
The hip is a ball and socket joint where the head of the Femur (the ball) articulates with the Acetabulum (the socket) of the Pelvis. When correctly formed, this type of joint allows the largest range of movement. However, it is possible for the hip joint to develop abnormally and when this occurs, it is known as hip dysplasia and it is the most common orthopaedic condition affecting dogs.
The elbow is a hinge joint involving the Humerus, Ulna and Radius and allows flexion and extension. These bones have various projections, articular surfaces, openings and depressions allowing for complex articulation. If this joint forms in an abnormal manner, it is known as elbow dysplasia.
Hip and elbow dysplasia are usually hereditary conditions and osteoarthritis will also be present to some degree.
The Patella is a small, sesamoid bone within the tendon of insertion of the Quadriceps muscle group. During extension of the Stifle joint, its function is to redirect the tendon, acting like a pulley or fulcrum, and also to protect it. It articulates with the Femur by gliding up and down inside a smooth, ridged groove called the Trochlea. Patellar luxation (or slipping kneecap) is when the Patella luxates, or dislocates, out of this groove. The condition is usually hereditary but it can have other causes and it is a painful condition. NOTE: There are 4 grades of Luxating Patella and Clinical Canine Massage is particularly beneficial for grades 1 & 2 but can also have a positive impact on grades 3 & 4.
A permanent, inflammatory, degenerative condition which affects the joints and has a progressive nature. Also referred to as degenerative joint disease (DJD), it involves the gradual deterioration of hyaline cartilage at the ends of the bones where joints form and the bodies subsequent reaction to this. It can be either active or silent and typically leads to a reduction in the range of motion of the affected joint(s). Osteoarthritis is frequently considered a normal part of the ageing process in senior dogs but it can also occur due to breed predisposition, certain activities, conformation and as a result of another orthopaedic condition. This condition typically responds very well to Clinical Canine Massage.
Also known as osteochondrosis, osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) is a condition which involves the joint cartilage. It occurs during development due to an abnormality within the cartilage cells and endochondral ossification fails to take place. The cartilage develops abnormally and a piece becomes loose or even separates which leads to painful joint irritation, inflammation, pain and an early onset of osteoarthritis. The condition has strong genetic links and certain breeds are predisposed. It usually affects medium, large and giant breeds, particularly fast-growing ones, and the most commonly affected joints are the shoulder, elbow and hock.
A degenerative disease which affects the vertebral bones of the spine. Bony spurs called osteophytes form along the edges of one or more vertebra and they can form a bridge linking the vertebra together. Spondylosis is not an inflammatory condition, although when the osteophytes grow it causes inflammation and pain. It is the bodies way of stabilising a weak joint and is a chronic condition, sometimes referred to as fusing of the spine. Whilst more common in older dogs, any condition which leads to a loss of stability of the intervertebral joints can lead to spondylosis. It is more common in longer backed breeds and also in bitches who have had several litters of puppies.
A NOTE ABOUT LAMINATE FLOORING
Dogs are Digitigrade, meaning that they literally 'walk on their toes'. When walking on a slippery surface, like laminate flooring, they will attempt but fail to grip with their claws. This makes things like getting up, lying down and even walking on it tricky. It is like us trying to walk on ice. Laminate flooring is THE biggest cause of muscular issues and injuries in dogs. In addition, it can also play a significant factor in the onset and aggravation of Orthopaedic Conditions. A very simple solution, if you have laminate flooring, is to put runners down. Your dog will thank you for it!!