Joint and gait problems.
Some dogs suffer from hip or elbow dysplasia, a condition that often doesn’t surface till the dog gets a little older. The muscles have been keeping the joint in place and once they start to weaken due to age, the problems start to show. Besides weight management, keeping the dog’s muscles toned is an important factor. It can be
done by swimming, gentle exercise and massage. Younger dogs with gait problems can also greatly benefit from the added mobility, putting less stress on the compensating muscles.
I have worked with dogs hardly able to walk at their first appointment and after three visits they were trying to play with the other dogs. Some respond very quickly and for others it takes a couple of visits to see an improvement.
Injuries, surgery and recovery.
If your dog is awaiting orthopedic surgery, gentle massage can help make the operation less stressful. By keeping the muscle tone and flexibility at their best, the healing process often goes more smoothly. The massage should be administered in cooperation with your vet, both prior to and after surgery.
Rehabilitation can often take a long time, and massage helps reduce the formation of scar tissues, decrease pain, prevent muscle atrophy and speed up recovery.
Please remember that massage is never a substitute for veterinary care.