Case studies and what to expect

Canine Physical Conditioning and Massage Therapy

Thomas The Labradoodle
Thomas the Labradoodle had been suffering with persistent front limb lameness that was getting worse and general stiffness for over a month. His owner Joyce was very worried about him and despite investigations at the veterinary surgery and pain medication, Thomas’ condition was deteriorating. An existing client recommended the massage and Thomas came to see me for treatment. After the first session Thomas was even more lame than before and this is normal and dogs tend to get worse before they get better. Especially someone like Thomas who was very lame to start with had stiffened up his muscles to cope with walking and the massaging softened his ‘support system’. This is also why he needed to get plenty of rest for his muscles to have time to rebuild themselves the correct way as he had been using himself the wrong way and therefore built up all the tension we found.

Although it is worrying and seems counterintuitive, he will be sore after the treatment and the increased lameness and stiffness could last up to four-five days. On the sixth day Thomas had a complete turnaround and was back to his happy old self. He got toys out of his basket to play and was bouncy and happy. He was hardly ‘dipping’ on his bad leg anymore. He was looking so good the owner took him off Metacam, the anti-inflammatory medication.

Thomas came for two more treatments and I showed Joyce how to massage him at home as I find the more owners become involved and treat their dogs, the better the final outcome. On the follow-up treatment a few weeks later, Thomas was in fabulous condition: his muscles were supple and his whole demeanour was happy and cheeky! Joyce regularly massages him and it has become a bonding session for them. With the great work that Joyce has done, there should not be a need for any further treatments from me for a long time. Here is the lovely email that Joyce sent me after Thomas’ treatments:

Hello Pia

I can’t thank you enough for the care shown and treatment given to Thomas. You welcomed us into your home and made both of us feel so very welcome and relaxed.

There is no way that, after just three treatments, I could ever have hoped that Thomas would have improved to the extent that he has – he was so very lame when I brought him to you that I feared the worst. However, Thomas’ coat is gleaming, he has virtually no sign of ever having limped and we now have our boisterous boy back! Not only that, he has learned how to relax when being massaged. I clearly have a job for life!

As I said to you, whenever and wherever possible I have been singing your praises and will continue to do so!

Kind regards, and thank you again!


Mindy the Cairn Terrier
Mindy is a young Cairn terrier that was referred by her vet to come and see me for myotherapy. Mindy was suffering with hip dysplasia with consequent osteoarthritis in the hip and unfortunately also in the stifle (knee). Mindy would wake up in the night and cry and was generally uncomfortable. She also had swelling around her hip and stifle.

I treated Mindy twice with massage but I felt we could achieve more with her doing exercises so Mindy came for a rehabilitation session. Now, anyone who knows terriers knows that they need cajoling and we went through plenty of treats to get Mindy through the exercises. I gave Mindy’s owner all the exercises on paper so she could carry on doing them at home and I would see her again in six weeks’ time for a follow-up.

When I next saw Mindy her owner told me that she had just seen the vet, who was surprised not to feel any swelling in her hip or stifle. Mindy had not had any crying fits and had become more flexible and confident in moving. She was not any easier to take through the exercises though! Her owners now do regular exercises and massage with her to keep her muscles around the hip and stifle from tensing up and she can enjoy a normal, happy doggy life.