Free muscular health checks for all dogs at Crufts are being offered by one caring association at Crufts this year.
“A muscular health check can help to assess your dog for common muscular and myofascial issues which may be show up as a gait irregularity, lameness, postural change or general discomfort that can often be hard as an owner to pinpoint” says Natalie Lenton, Chairperson of the international association the Canine Massage Guild. “Its about helping the owner to understand more about what’s going on with their dog underneath the skin and what they can do to help”
Injuries and lameness are naively frowned upon by many spectators round the ring with some dogs being held tied to an injury that they have suffered from months ago that has now been rehabilitated due to a lack of peoples’ knowledge. Natalie goes on to explain, “the number one cause of a gait irregularity in a dog is a muscular injury, known as a Strain. A strain happens when the muscle is over stretched which causes the fibres to tear which then causes a bleed into the tissue along with inflammation. It takes 6 weeks for a muscle to repair but this is when the muscle is at its most vulnerable; and so quite often what we see is intermittent or on/off lameness”
Active and well exercised dogs are more commonly likely to sustain an injury and can be likened to a human athlete. The more a ‘body’ does the higher the likelihood of injury is. “It really is a normal part of life for dogs and humans, after all being a couch potato is even more detrimental to health so the Canine Massage Guild will be at Crufts helping to raise awareness and help owners understand that actually a muscle injury or fascial issue like a trigger points is a normal part of life that can easily be helped with clinical massage. The body isn’t a machine and it accrues stress and habitual patterns of tension to cope with movement. Massage can help to restore dysfunctional muscle so it can work optimally again”
When a muscle is strained, collagenous scar tissue forms in the muscle. Whilst this is an important part of the bodies initial healing process, when scar tissue is left in the muscle it can reduce the muscles flexibility by up to 50%. So what do owners see? “a gait irregularity or any deviation from their natural movement is the most obvious sign” says Natalie “a postural issue such as kyphosis or lordosis (ed. Roaching or Swayback), stiffness, coat changes, slowing down and even behavioural changes that are pain related such as anti socialness with other dogs, nibbling at their back end or even self mutilation”
“Clinical canine massage isn’t a pampering therapy. It’s a rehabilitative therapy that gets results in 1 to 3 sessions is affordable and importantly non invasive”. Natalie reports that common results owners see is improved gait, posture and general movement, no stiffness, improved character, more willing to be groomed, petted, handled and examined and generally a happier, pain free dog.
You can take your dog along to Hall 5, Stand 111 for their muscular health check between the 9th -12th March at Crufts. Click the image below to download your Free Muscular Health Check Voucher and enter the free prize draw.