There are many modalities that help the arthritic patient: acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, laser, and herbal therapy. (Most of these have been discussed in other blogs.) A great new trend to help arthritic patients– and even dogs who suddenly can’t walk or stand up — is called Canine Fitness.
At first glance, the name seems relatively obvious; however, the certified canine fitness practitioner does more than just provide physical therapy to an arthritic patient. Those who are certified in Canine Fitness techniques help balance an animal’s body. These balancing techniques do not replace diagnostics performed by a veterinarian, but augment veterinary services.
For example, Bo was a six-month-old beautiful black German shepherd puppy who did not like to have his tail touched and was a bit cow hocked. (Cow hocked means his heels were closer to each other than his toes. Described another way, his toes were turned out rather than having his feet parallel with each other – just normal for most breeds.) Thorough evaluation during a Canine Fitness session included evaluation of the range of motion of Bo’s hip and pelvic joints. In his pelvic region, some muscles were tighter than others. Massage and warm compresses helped release those tight muscles, allowing free movement of Bo’s pelvis; he even stopped resenting having his tail touched.
Upon completion of his first Canine Fitness session, Bo’s owners were given exercises to help him sit squarely which develops symmetrical inner thigh muscles; intern, this would lead to straightening his feet. It did not take long for Bo’s posture to improve as he was such a young boy.
As a Certified Canine Fitness provider, I do not diagnose or treat; instead, a Certified Canine Fitness provider guides the owner to help their dog return to full function, just as a physical therapist or chiropractor does for humans.
Just as a physical therapist for humans needs to be certified, a Canine Fitness provider must also be certified – for the protection of the pet and — as of January 2017 — we’re pleased to be able to offer this additional modality to patients. Contact us if you’re interested in a virtual or in-person appointment.