Common Conditions

There are a wide range of conditions that can affect muscular health in your dog. Galen Myotherapy can be really helpful in alleviating pain, which helps your dog to move better and allows them to exercise in a way that can strengthen muscles and support joint health.

It is important to note that Galen Myotherapy treatments should form part of a multi modal approach to treating your dog. It does not necessarily take the place of painkilling drugs, or other physical treatments such as acupuncture, physiotherapy or hydrotherapy. Some dogs respond better to some treatments over others and many owners find a combination of therapies achieves the best results for their dog. I work with your vet and other therapists to help you achieve the best outcome possible.

Some of the most common conditions that can be supported with Galen Myotherapy are described in more detail below. There are many more that can be treated, so please don’t worry if your dog’s issue is not in the list! 

 

Osteoarthritis (OA)

OA is a progressive, degenerative condition of the joints and is also know as degenerative joint disease (DJD)

Up to 20% of adult dogs are affected and OA often occurs secondary to

  • physical injury
  • developmental disorder such as hip dysplasia, or
  • excessive wear and tear from ‘normal’ but repetitive activities

If your dog has OA, there will be a number of different inflammatory chemicals present in their joints as a result of many different mechanical and biochemical issues in their life so far.

Mechanical issues

These can include repetitive environmental activities such as jumping in and out of the car, chasing balls or taking part in high impact dog sports such as flyball and agility.

Biochemical issues

These can include infections of the joint or immune diseases affecting the joint.

The mechanical and biochemical issues cause damage to the joint, including cartilage damage, subchondral bone sclerosis, inflammation of the synovial membrane and periarticular osteocytes.

This damage results in OA.

Affected Dogs

OA is the most common cause of chronic pain in the canine. It is progressive and incurable but can be managed with the right, holistic approach. You might see the following signs and symptoms in your dog if they are affected:

  • Decreased range of motion in affected joints is found as your dog avoids movement of the painful joint as much as possible.
  • Lameness is likely as your dog becomes reluctant to bear weight on the painful affected limb. Reduced activity and reluctance to exercise and ‘slowing down’ result.
  • Muscle, tendon and ligament atrophy  (waste away) in the limb/s of the affected joint/s due to underwork as your dog avoids moving the painful joint
  • Compensatory changes can occur in the muscles that support other limbs because your dog will rebalance their weight due to the muscle atrophy in the painful limb/s.

Most of the pain associated with OA is thought to be from synovitis (inflammation of the lining of the joint), so it is important that the right painkillers are used to enable your dog to benefit from a multi modal approach including Galen Myotherapy, weight loss and targeted exercise.

How Massage can Help

Chronic stages of arthritis benefit from light massage over the areas affected. This helps to relax compensatory tension from the muscles which are supporting the affected joints and tissues. 

Deeper Galen Myotherapy techniques, targeted on areas of compensatory change further from the affected joint, help to keep these areas as supple and free as possible, rebalancing the kinetic chain

Myotherapy is an important technique you can use to warm muscles and joints prior to exercising your arthritic dog. 

Improved Circulation

Myotherapy mimics skeletal muscle movement which is vital in healthy circulation of blood and lymph. This promotes the delivery of nutrients and hormones to every cell in the body and the removal of toxins and other substances. This is a powerful tool and can help efficient return to optimum levels of a variety of parameters of homeostasis. 

Pain Relief

Stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system will encourage the release of endorphins, giving a positive psychological effect as well as reducing pain perception

Passive range of movement can decrease stiffness in affected joints and reduce pain. Reducing the tension in the muscles supporting the affected joint will also reduce pain, encourage better range of movement and improved mood as pain is reduced

A great source of information and advice is the Canine Arthritis Management website.

Hip Dysplasia

This is a developmental condition that happens when the hip joints become abnormal as your dog grows. It is more common  in medium and larger breeds and usually affects both hips.

It is believed that hip dysplasia is triggered by a mixture of factors including breed (genetic predisposition), rapid growth and diet. 

The hip joints are normal at birth, but gradually become more abnormal and start to show clinical signs at 4 – 12 months old when the disease can be quite advanced. The ball and socket of the hip joint no longer fit together properly and the joint becomes loose, lax, unstable and inefficient. 

As a result of the laxity, the ball of the joint moves around too much in the socket, which further mechanically damages the articular surfaces, including the cartilage. This eventually leads to osteoarthritis (OA) of the hip joints in chronic cases.

 Affected Dogs

In very early cases, puppies can simply appear quiet and reluctant to have their back legs touched.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty getting up from a down or sit position due to the inefficiency of the coxofemoral joint
  • Classic ‘bunny hopping’ gait as your dog avoids moving each back leg independently
  • Loss of muscle mass in the hind legs as the hip joint is moved less
  • bulky shoulders and neck as these muscles overwork to take the load of the hind legs

How Massage can Help

Prior to surgery, myotherapy can be used to treat and reduce compensatory issues by:

  • relaxing tense muscles
  • minimising adhesions
  • encouraging healthier soft tissues

Galen myotherapy has a powerful mechanical action, encouraging good lymphatic drainage and blood circulation.  Passive movement techniques are also used to stimulate synovial fluid production, this helps to prepare muscles and joints to reach as healthy a condition as possible. The healthier the soft tissues are and the better the range of movement prior to surgery, the more it will support the most positive outcome possible for your dog.

Compensatory Issues

Treating compensatory issues with Galen Myotherapy helps to rebalance the dog as much as is possible, so is a very supportive element of rehabilitation post surgery as part of a multi modal approach alongside veterinary, physiotherapy and other complementary treatments.

This overall management plan including myotherapy post surgery (or for cases where surgery is not an option) leads to an overall reduction in stiffness and inflammation around the affected joint. Also, because the kinetic chain is enhanced it will be possible for muscles to be strengthened where previously they were too sore or too tight to work properly. This strengthening helps to stabilise the muscles that support the hip joint.

Strength and Balance

Rebalancing and strengthening of the musculature supporting the hip joint is further enhanced with exercises in passive movement to improve the health of the joint itself. Passive movement stimulates the neural pathways of the joint and replicating the natural movement of the joint assists the formation of synovial fluid, positively influence joint health. 

All of these myotherapy techniques encourage increased mobility, which leads to improved gait and an ability to apply further physical techniques to further strengthen and condition your dog.

Elbow Dysplasia

Definition

Similar to hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia is a description of when the dog’s elbow joint doesn’t fit together properly. When the elbow flexes and extends, further damage can happen and will eventually become painful.

Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD), along with fragmented medial coronoid process (FCP) and ununited anconeal process (UAP) are three conditions that are described as elbow dysplasia when they occur within that joint. If your dog has elbow dysplasia they could have one, two or all three conditions in the same joint

OCD is a developmental disease of the growth plates and cartilage, mainly in medium and larger breeds. Areas of thickened cartilage occur when the endochondral ossification of the growth plates is abnormal. The thickened cartilage is prone to injury and fissures can result. The synovial fluid in an affected joint can then penetrate deep in to the layers of damaged cartilage, causing synovitis. If the stress continues, e.g. continued running up and down stairs as a puppy, the cartilage deteriorates further and a flap can result. The condition of having that cartilage flap is OCD.

Affected Dogs

This condition causes pain the affected joint and mild to moderate weight bearing lameness can result, usually before your dog is 8 months old.

In some cases OCD affects both elbows, making it more difficult to detect lameness

If the condition is chronic there is likely to be muscle atrophy (wastage) on the affected, or more seriously affected limb as your dog attempts to prevent pain by limiting movement of the affected, or most affected, joint.

In chronic cases there are likely to be signs of osteoarthritis with symptoms including reduced range of motion and crepitus (cracking or creaking noises).

Compensatory changes to the musculature will result if the condition is not detected early and becomes chronic. Muscles will become overdeveloped, often but not always in the contralateral limb, to compensate for the weight shift and reluctance to move the affected joint through its full range of motion

How Massage can Help

OCD tends to either be picked up at a very young age, in which case surgery is likely to be carried out or when a dog is much older.  In the older dog surgery is less likely to be carried out and if it is, is less likely to be as successful.

Surgical cases will become affected with OA as they get older (probably at an earlier age than a healthy dog) and non-surgical cases will probably present as lame with OA already very much advanced. This is some of the reasoning why myotherapy treatments for OA and hip dysplasia are very similar in cases of elbow dysplasia.

Pre-Surgery

Prior to surgery, myotherapy can be used to treat and reduce compensatory issues by relaxing tense muscles, minimising adhesions and encouraging healthier soft tissues through the powerful mechanical action, encouraging good lymphatic drainage and blood circulation.  Passive movement stimulates synovial fluid production and This helps to prepare muscles and joints and get them to as healthy a condition as possible. The healthier the soft tissues are and the better the range of movement prior to surgery, the more it will support the most positive outcome possible for your dog.

Post-Surgery

Treating compensatory issues with Galen Myotherapy helps to rebalance the dog as much as is possible, so is a very supportive element of rehabilitation post surgery as part of a multi modal approach with veterinary, physiotherapy and other complementary treatments.

This overall management plan leads to an overall reduction in stiffness and inflammation around the elbow joint. Also, because the kinetic chain is enhanced it will be possible for muscles to be strengthened where previously they were too sore or too tight to work properly. This strengthening helps to stabilise the muscles that support the joint.

Rebalancing and strengthening of the musculature supporting the elbow joint is further enhanced with exercises in passive movement to improve the health of the joint itself. Passive movement stimulates the neural pathways of the joint and replicating the natural movement of the joint assists the formation of synovial fluid, positively influence joint health. 

All of these myotherapy techniques encourage increased mobility, which leads to improved gait and an ability to apply further physical techniques to further strengthen and condition your dog.

Conditions

When joints are damaged or not aligned properly, muscles and soft tissues in other parts of the body start to compensate and can become sore, tight and painful

Performance

Working and Sporting dogs can carry a tough load on their bodies due to intense, repetitive activities. Minimise the risk of injury, improve performance and extend active years

Recovery

Working with you, your vet, physio, and any other members of team dog, Galen Myotherapy supports recovery from injuries/operations and a quicker return to good health

Getting Started is Easy

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Free Chat

Call or e-mail me and tell me all about your dog! I will do my best to answer any questions you have and explain what happens during the sessions

Book Appointment

Complete a ‘Doggy Detail’ form and reserve an appointment pending vet consent

1st Session!

Once I have the completed vet consent form we are ready to go! Your reserved appointment will be confirmed and I will meet you and your best friend for their first session

Contact Me

If you have any questions you can call me, or send me an email.

For emergencies please call your vet

Business Hours

If you are worried about your dog, it is important to get your questions answered as soon as possible. Always talk to your vet about emergencies, or if you think your dog has a new illness or their condition has changed.

I am here 7 days a week for general help and advice relating to Galen Myotherapy and will return your call or e-mail within 24hrs. 

If you call and don’t get through I am probably carrying out a consultation, so please leave a message and I will call you back.

Appointments Available 

Monday to Friday = 6pm – 8pm

Saturday = 10am – 8pm

Sun = Closed