Here's my Facebook Live intro for this post:
And now, the post itself...
Future Client: My dog has intervertebral disc disease. Can massage help?
Me: Yes, after initial treatment. Massage will benefit both compensating muscles and underused muscles that have atrophied.
In my last post I talked about rehabilitation overall—IVDD is a case where massage therapy comes into play as part of a rehabilitation and recovery program.
Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) occurs when a disc in the spine is either ruptured or herniated, then leaks (cerebral spinal fluid), which causes inflammation and pain. The disc is no longer acting as a shock absorber and cannot cope with the weight load on your pet's spine.
Breeds with short legs and long backs are most at risk, including (in dogs): the Dachshund, Basset hound, Corgi, Beagle, Cocker Spaniel, Pekingese, Poodle and Bulldog breeds. I would guess that Munchkin/Dwarf type cats are at risk as well, and possibly British Shorthairs and Persians, though I believe it is a much more rare condition in felines, based on what I've read (click HERE for more information).
Symptoms in dogs include:
Your first priority is to get your pet to the vet for an MRI or x-rays. Treatment may include total crate rest or surgery (and medication). Some dogs are able to walk right after their surgery, others take longer before they're moving around, while others never regain use of their legs.
Recovery will likely involve physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, core conditioning and of course, massage therapy comes into play to soothe the overcompensating muscles in the front assembly (front legs, shoulders and neck) that are working overtime to take on more weight to relieve the hind legs. Once healed from surgery (no massage therapy for 2 weeks minimum after surgery takes place), the underused and atrophied muscles of the hind legs will need stimulation from massage therapy as well, to help them rebuild.
Massage therapy also increases circulation, which gets blood to underused muscles that need it. Massage speeds up the body's natural healing process (which is actually part of the reason you don't want to start massage therapy too soon after surgery—this would overwhelm the healing process).
Going forward, you'll want to keep your dog's weight under control, keep her from jumping on or off furniture, and help her up and down the stairs. I also recommend continuing massage therapy on a "maintenance" basis, once the initial rehabilitation sessions are complete. Based on how the dog has recovered, Mom/Dad and I put together a schedule based on each dog's individual needs.
Thanks for reading!
Want 50% off your next (or first) pet massage session? Email/Call/Text me with the code word IVDD when you book — anytime before December 13th, 2019.
Also, keep in mind that a group of three-four massages close together (no more than one week apart each) is the best way to see results more quickly. I offer packages of four massages for large dogs ($216), medium/small dogs ($168) and cats ($120), which will save you 20%! (This package cannot be combined with the above 50% off first massage offer). You can also request a package of more than four massages—you will still get 20% off.
Booked with me before and you'd like to book a package? No problem. You will also receive 20% off the regular price when you book three or more massages.
I'm taking a break from FAQ posts for a while in order to prepare and post a special blog series December 13th-24th, The 12 Adoptable Pets of the Holiday Season (think the 12 Days of Christmas, but better!)…and in January, look for my 5 "What's Involved in Canine/Feline Massage Therapy" posts, taking you through the whole process, so you know what to expect when you're booking with me for the first time!
I'll be back to posting Canine and Feline Massage Therapy FAQ posts in February.
Click HERE to read the previous FAQ post.
Click HERE to learn how to do Hydrotherapy wraps for your dog! And please feel free to leave comments.
Regan is a certified Canine Massage Therapist (CCMT), has certification in First Aid and CPR for Pets, and some beginner training in Herbal Remedies and Aromatherapy for personal use.