CASE STUDY : Buddy the Sheltie

by Catriona Dickson

The reason for massage

Buddy was an 8 year old Sheltie who had achieved Grade 5 in agility with one win towards Grade 6. While competing he lost his footing in the tunnel, flipped over and exited on his back. He seemed okay at the time but in the days following his owner noticed that he was refusing to jump up onto the sofa and that he wasn’t running around and playing with the other dogs like he usually did on a walk. In fact, it got so bad that he wanted to be carried after only 20 mins and needed to be lifted on and off the sofa.

Buddy was taken to see a physiotherapist who thought he had damaged his spine and recommended x-rays. He saw the vet and had x-rays done but no injury could be found. And after courses of Metacam and Loxicom had finished he was no better.

It was by chance, about a year later, when visiting another dog in the household that Buddy’s mum asked me take a look at him, having given up all hope anything could be done for him. By this time she was also struggling to keep his weight under control and he was approximately 3kg heavier than he should have been despite being on a restricted raw feed diet.

I gave Buddy a superficial Palpation (this is the kind of muscular health check that we perform free at Shows & Events). I found extensive scar tissue from strains along the muscles that run down each side of his spine, and signs of a strain to one of his Gluteal muscles. I recommended that he would benefit from massage. As a member of the Canine Massage Guild we recommend 3 massage sessions within a 3-5 week period as this yields the best results and if massage is able to improve a condition then you will see improvements within that time.

The outcome / results

It was amazing. After the first session the owner was delighted that Buddy was running on walks and playing like a puppy again. He was also able to go up and down steps comfortably. After the second session he was playing chase with the other family dogs and jumping onto the bed and sofa himself. He now goes on long walks and happily trots along under his own steam. He has also become a very naughty boy again!

Main areas of concern

  • Bilateral Grade II Strain on Longissimus in the region of T8-T13 • Grade II Strain to the Middle Gluteal on the right
  • Bilateral Trigger Points to the Iliocostalis at the tendon of insertion
  • Buddy also suffered with areas of over-compensation including: bilateral Trigger Points to the Rhomboids and debilitating wideradiating Myofascial Pain across the Latissimus Dorsi. Trigger Points to the Tensor Fascia Latae and Myofascial Pain to the right Quadriceps Muscle.

Bonus weight loss

After the initial 3 appointments I then continued to see Buddy monthly to further work on remodelling the scar tissue and since then he has lost over 2kg of weight and is returning to a healthy size for a small Sheltie. There has been no change to his diet but the amount of exercise he enjoys has increased greatly and those stubborn pounds are falling off.

Comments from the owner

Over the past year my Sheltie, Buddy, had become very miserable, slow and stiff. Despite taking him to a physiotherapist, having x-rays etc nothing was found and Buddy was getting no better despite being on Yumove. Nothing seemed to make a difference until Catriona treated him and found strains down his back which would be causing a very stiff and sore dog! Well, after one out of 3 treatments the difference is amazing, he is running on walks, he is so much happier and all of a sudden has a spring back in his step. We can’t recommend Catriona enough, anyone who has their dogs treated will know how talented she is, my dogs and I will forever be appreciating her work, thank you Catriona. It is priceless to see our dogs happy.

- Miriam Bogue, Montrose

Animal Therapy Magazine