Case Study 2

Name: Cody
Breed: Spaniel
Age: 9 Years

Cody is a 9 year old English Springer Spaniel who dislocated his right patella (knee cap) two years ago. Arthritis had been diagnosed in his right front foot along with dysplasia in his right elbow.
He had been prescribed anti-inflammatories which were to be given if he appeared to be in pain and his owner Abi, was using a heat pad on his bed to help him be as comfortable as possible. Cody was also developing cataracts in both eyes.
Despite his various ailments Cody is always up for fun, with a grin that goes from ‘ear to ear’ and a tail and bottom that never stop wagging. He is a delight!

My first visit

I first visited Cody 18 months ago. To begin with I asked Abi to walk Cody outside on his lead so I could assess how he moved. I could see Cody was walking with a short stride and carrying most of his weight on the left side of his body.
Being a medium-sized dog I was able to use a massage couch for Cody. (Large dogs are massaged on the floor). As I ran my hands over his body, the look on his face and the tightness of his skin told me he was anxious. Given how many times Cody had been examined by a vet this wasn’t a surprise, he had yet to learn that massage was different from a veterinary examination. To reassure him I slowed the pace of the massage strokes and worked on those parts of his body he was willing for me to touch. As always I worked within the comfort zone of the dog. So when Cody was reluctant to lie on his side, I massaged his chest, neck and front legs with him sitting looking at Abi as she stroked his face and reassured him. I then massaged his back and hind quarters as he stood, leaning into Abi for physical and emotional support.

Cody released a lot of tension from his body during that first massage. He yawned almost continuously and a lot of heat was released from the taut muscles on his right side. After his massage he was walking with a more flowing, longer stride and picking up his front feet almost jauntily, in that happy manner that most spaniel owners love to see. Dog, therapist and owner were mightily pleased with the results!

Subsequent visits

On my second visit Cody was more willing to relax and I was able to work more deeply into his muscles. I advised Abi that Cody might be a bit achy after such deep work and that she may have to give him an anti-inflammatory if he appeared uncomfortable. On my next visit Cody greeted me with a toy in his mouth. Abi was delighted, telling me “He’s started playing with toys again. He hasn’t done that for quite a while. He’s much more like he used to be”.  On my 4th visit Abi was able to tell me “he’s no longer lame after every walk”.
I leave the final verdict on massage to Abi:

“Cody seems a lot more playful since he started having massage. He seems to suffer less with his limp and seems to be standing more ‘square’ than he used to. I would highly recommend canine massage and plan to continue regular massage treatment for Cody”.