The sore limping dog.

From: Dr Andrew Jones
Author: Veterinary Secrets Revealed

Greetings fellow pet lover and reader of the Veterinary Secrets Blog..

The sore limping dog.

My neighbor’s dog Pearl is a great, friendly always wanting to play and please Labrador who has TERRIBLE Arthritis.

She’s hard on her body- Playing hard though has damaged her joints.

She tackles my dog Lewis, then all of a sudden will let out a BIG Yelp…She’s One sore dog.

So What to You do Doc??

Anti-inflammatories..They aren’t helping much.

Surgery..It unfortunately won’t treat arthritis.

Supplements. Glucosamine and Flax are helping, but she needs something more. So we discussed massage- Pearl LOVES her daily massage, but best of All she is limping less!!

The following is some more specific info on massage..

If your wanting to learn more,?? Check out my book at

Key?? Points

Massage therapy works in a variety of ways

Repetitive low loads on muscle allows tissue elongation

Assists in moving fluid through the lymphatic system

Removes and replenishes tissue fluid

Improves movement in abnormal tissue (scars, adhesions)

Effect on mechanoreceptors may alter pain perception

The effects on cortisol, serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine levels have not been conclusively explained

Appropriate massage touch has many healing properties, although the methods are not always known

Key Therapeutic Points

There are multiple types of massage strokes and techniques–we will discuss the most commonly used ones for small animals

Contact should always be maintained between the massage therapist’s hand and the patient


Superficial, relaxed long movement with the tips of fingers or palms of hands

Very light pressure–.5-1 lb

Slow speed, 1 stroke every 3-6 seconds

Along length of muscles, in same direction hair grows

Used for soothing and calming effect


Most common move

Typically used every second move, at beginning and end of massage

Always use this stroke in direction of heart

Increases venous and lymphatic flow

Stretches muscle fibers

Relaxes muscles

Gliding motion with whole hand, with thumb following fingers

Use one or both hands with even pressure over muscles

Stroke every 2-3 seconds

Pressure applied can vary

Light pressure, 2-3 lbs, is soothing

Heavy pressure (10-15 lbs) has significant effect on circulation

Can be done very rapidly to warm up for exercise


Foundation of massage

Kneading, muscles squeezing, compression, wringing up, and skin rolling

Soothing at 1 stroke per second

Stimulating at 2-4 strokes per second (athletic warm-up)

Intermittent pressure and relaxation


Performed with thumbs or palmar surface of three fingers

Rhythmic, circular movements, small circles

Start at 2-3 lb pressure

In large muscles may gradually increase pressure to 5-12 lbs

Intersperse with effleurage


Use palm of hand or lightly clenched fist, alternating hands in rhythm

Use only on large muscle groups of large dogs

Use caution with increased pressure

Alternate with effleurage

Muscle squeezing

Relaxes tense muscles

Used on neck, back and leg muscles

Movement of hand is between extended fingers and heel of hand

Start gently with 5-10 lb pressure

Use in slow rhythm, 1 per second

Fast rhythm, 2-4 per second for athletic warm-up

Wringing up

Used on shoulders, neck and back

Increases circulation, relaxes muscles

Performed with palms, thumbs abducted at 90 degree angle

Both hands flat on body part, then wring muscle from side to side

Start at 2 lb pressure, gradually increase depending on muscle mass and size

Slow rhythm of 1 stroke or less per second

Skin rolling

Helpful in maintaining skin elasticity and to prevent adhesions

Lift skin between fingers and thumbs, push thumbs towards fingers

Performed slowly and lightly–no more than 2 lb pressure at most

How often should massage be performed?

This varies with patient and condition

Many human studies used daily, QOD or biweekly treatments

What should the duration of treatment be?

For acute injury, post-operative treatment, may be limited to weeks/months

For neonate, until gaining normally

For geriatric or osteoarthritis, canine athlete, permanent part of healthy lifestyle

Best of All, this is something that YOU can do at home to HELP Your Pet Heal!!

Its Your Pet..Heal Them At Home!!

Best Wishes

Dr Andrew J

Copyright 2005 Veterinary Secrets Revealed

Dr Andrew Jones

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