...When discussing a client's dog and writing out a case history file for their animal, contraindications may arise, causing a modifications or cancellation of treatment. The client will always be informed of any contraindication, will be told why the massage may need to be modified, how the massage will accommodate the contraindication factors, and the client may also refuse the treatment plan.
Acute pain and/or inflammation - Injury resulting in severe pain, heat, and/or inflammation should be examined by a vet first. Massage can only begin after the area of pain, heat, and/or inflammation has been resolved.
After meals - Massage impairs the body's ability to digest. Wait at least 90 minutes after your dog has eaten before massage.
Cancer - Light massage, especially acupressure, can be used safely for the palliative process, otherwise massage will increase lymphatic flow, possibly increasing the rate of cancer cell propagation).
Circulation problems - Massage in the case of edema is safe in short, frequent sessions. As for hematoma, massage could be dangerous, as it may cause small blood clots to break away and migrate to the heart, lungs, or brain.
Dermatological conditions - Mange, hot spots, septic foci, or ringworm can be severely aggravated by massage, so the therapist must be sure the patient is receiving veterinary care, and massage may only be done in non-affected sites.
Diabetes - Light, gentle massage can be helpful in short, frequent sessions, but deep massage could increase circulation, which can increase the rate that insulin and glucose are exchanged, possibly resulting in major blood sugar fluctuations.
Epilepsy - For palliative purposes, light, gentle massage can improve the dog's sense of well-being and ease superficial muscle tension, but deep massage will impact the circulation and nervous system to the extent that an epileptic seizure may be triggered.
Heart conditions - The circulation increase caused by massage may cause the heart to work harder, but massage may be done for palliative purposes only.
Infectious or contagious disease - Do not massage in the case of these types of diseases, including Kennel Cough, Distemper, Infectious Enteritis, or any viral or bacterial related illness. The possibility for contamination of equipment, including hands and clothing, is too great, and spreading such an infection is too easy. In the case of fever (when the body temperature exceeds 38.5 C +/- 1 degree), massage may work against the immune system and the body's ability to regulate temperature, and the infection could also spread deeper into the body.
In Season - Massage could cause significant blood flow increase, resulting in hemorrhaging.
Post-surgery - Hemorrhaging could result in areas not fully healed, therefore massage may only commence two weeks after surgery, or once the sutures have been removed, and only in areas that are remote from the surgical site. The surgical site will not be massaged for at least another six weeks after this.
Pregnancy - Neck, arm and leg massage is okay, but massage cannot be done over the abdomen or low back where the fetuses could be disturbed and labour triggered prematurely.
REMEMBER: Canine massage is not a replacement for Veterinary treatment. Any injury or illness your dog may have must be assessed by a Veterinarian prior to receiving any form of massage therapy. I will work closely with your Veterinarian for optimal, supportive healing.