Does your dog suffer from back pain?
Just like us our dogs can suffer from back pain too. But how do we recognise it in our faithful friends? As a McTimoney therapist I see dogs for a variety of reasons. Many agility dogs I see due to a drop in performance. Gun dogs may be brought to me when their endurance lessons or they are showing signs of stiffness when getting up from rest but there are many other simple things we can look for while at home with our dogs.
Signs of back pain in dogs.
- If a dog's skin flickers or flinches when we are stroking them or if their coat starts to stand up rather than lie flat there may be underlying muscle spasm
- Does your dog always sit straight or do they leave one leg out to the side
- Maybe your dog is stretching more than usual trying to alleviate a problem themselves
- Tail carriage can also be a good indicator. The tail should be carried in a relaxed manner and it should wag evenly from side to side
- Changes in behaviour or temperament may also be signs of discomfort and I would urge anyone in this situation to seek veterinary advise
So who should you choose to see, a vet or musculoskeletal therapist?
A vet should always be your first port of call as no one else is legally allowed to work on animals with out a vets permission. This is due to the Veterinary Act of 1966 and is in place for the welfare of the animal. The vet is also the only person allowed to diagnose a condition. This information is important so that any musculoskeletal therapist can treat a dog safely and effectively.
Prevention is better than cure.
- McTimoney therapy can help prevent musculoskeletal problems occurring and a 3-6 monthly check up is usually recommended to prevent minor issues building into more serious ones
- Make sure your dog is fit for purpose. So if you compete in dog sports build your fitness programme accordingly
- Rest your dog. Give your dog time to recover after exercise, do not repeat the same exercise everyday and give them at least one quiet/rest day per week