Questions About Massage

If you’ve ever had a really good massage, you know how wonderful it makes you feel for hours or even days afterward. And surely you’ve noticed your dog or cat loves a good tummy rub or scratch behind the ears. It’s no surprise that massage is a pet-pleaser, too, and it offers animals some of the same benefits it offers people.

Why should my pet get a massage?
If you have a senior pet, massage can relieve age- related problems like arthritis, hip dysplasia, and the general slowing down that comes with the years. Massage also can be used to address behavioral issues or other health problems.

If your pet is anxious, massage can help soothe nerves and alleviate stress. If your pet is highly active, massage can alleviate spasms, trigger points, and the tensions that build with high activity levels.

If your pet has neck pain, back pain, or concerns related to bad posture, massage can help aid muscles return to their proper relaxed states, increasing comfort level and improving posture.

Alpha dogs particularly benefit from massage, as they stay busy with various tasks and rarely relax fully throughout the course of a day. Massage can help an alpha pet unwind for a little while.

A less common  reason to have your pet massaged is to help it during the grieving process. If your pet’s housemate has recently died or has moved out of the home, massage can help a pet relax and handle grief more openly.

Will my cat really tolerate a massage?
You may be surprised. Cats can often be more receptive to massage than dogs. They just show their unique personalities about it. A cat may tolerate less time on the table, and they will often end a session abruptly, but they seem to enjoy massage very much, and they may be quite demanding at the next appointment.
My dog is energetic and bouncy. Will he calm down enough for a massage?
Most dogs love massage and will settle into it willingly, although some do take longer to calm than others. Your pet’s first session may be short as he learns to understand this different kind of touch, but he will most likely love it in the end.
What is a session like?
After introductions the pet is encouraged to sit or lie down, and the session begins. Work can be done on a standing animal as well.  Sessions last the length of the pet’s attention span, and each session may be different from the last. Different areas can be addressed and different strokes used. Strokes used are similar to those used on humans. Your pet processes new ideas kinesthetically and he may get up and move around, taking a break during the session. This is normal, and often encouraged.

It’s best to massage a pet after his daily exercise routine and when the house is quiet, relatively free of distractions and traffic. With a few exceptions, a dog relaxes best in an area away from other pets and family members.

What do I do after the session?
Allow your pet the chance to go out for a potty break soon after the massage. Provide lots of fresh water, both during the day and overnight. If your pet doesn’t drink much, you might try wetting his meals with water to compensate. It’s a good idea to take a short walk the evening of the massage, if your dog is willing.
How will my pet feel after a massage?
Pets’ families report that their animals seem very happy after a massage — more energetic and happier, or more peaceful and relaxed. More energetic animals tend to relax  and those with low energy levels often feel perkier. Senior pets may act younger, and you may notice that your pet does things that he hasn’t attempted in a while. Be careful. Don’t let an older pet overdo, even if it suddenly seems to feel younger. If he wasn’t strong enough to do something before a massage, he still isn’t afterward, no matter how frisky he feels.

 

Questions About Acupuncture

How Should I Choose a Veterinary Acupuncturist for My Pet?
There are two important criteria to look for in a veterinary acupuncturist:

  1. Your veterinary acupuncturist must be a licensed veterinarian.
  2. Your veterinary acupuncturist should have formal training in the practice of veterinary acupuncture.

In most states, veterinary acupuncture is considered a surgical procedure that only licensed veterinarians may legally administer. A veterinarian is in the best position to properly diagnose an animal’s health problem and then to determine whether it will likely benefit from an acupuncture treatment, or whether its problem requires a chemical prescription, surgery or no intervention at all.

Because of the differences in anatomy — and the potential for harm if the treatments are done incorrectly — only a properly trained veterinarian should perform acupuncture on animals. The more your veterinarian knows about traditional Chinese philosophies and the western scientific basis for acupuncture the more you can be assured that your animals will be treated properly.

Why use acupuncture instead of Western medicine?
Acupuncture and Western medicine have the same goals: to eliminate disease and support the best quality of life. However, each approach is suited to specific circumstances. Western medicine is ideal for acute disease diagnostics and surgery. Acupuncture can be very effective in treating chronic conditions that Western medicine can help but not cure. Traditional Chinese medicine, including acupuncture, focuses on the underlying cause of disease, not just the symptoms manifested in each individual patient.

Conventional Western drugs act quickly but sometimes come with unwanted side effects. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal therapy often are used to avoid those side effects and, at the very least, to make them more bearable. By combining Western and Eastern medical knowledge, Dr. DuBose provides your pet with the most appropriate and best possible care.

Is acupuncture safe?
Yes. Acupuncture has little to no unwanted side effects and does not interfere with conventional medical treatment. We use only sterile, single-use needles.
How do you get the pet to sit still for treatment?
We use soft music, a cushy bed, aroma therapy, massage and very tasty treats to help your pet relax for therapy. At most, light restraint is used, but most pets cooperate with treatment because it is pleasant and helps them feel better.

 

Questions About Hydrotherapy

How long is each session?
Each session is a ½ hour. Initially, your dog may not swim the session until fitness levels increase. Remember that 15 minutes of swimming is the equivalent of 1 hour running, but without the impact on joints.
How many sessions will my dog need?
That depends on his condition and the rehabilitation that is required. Some post-operative dogs  visit us twice weekly for a few weeks then less often once their fitness improves. Other dogs come once a week for mobility and senior swimming or just for the fun of it. 
My dog is not confident in the water and does not like swimming, how can you help?
Many dogs that visit for hydrotherapy services are not typical “water dogs.” Some take a few sessions before they find their confidence and  enjoy their swims. We have found that many of these same dogs soon turn into real water babies, however.
Are there conditions for which hydrotherapy is not recommended?
Yes, open wounds, bitches in season, or infectious or contagious conditions including  gastric upsets, kennel cough, ear, eye or skin infections and  bleeding.

 

Questions About Rehabilitation

Can healthy dogs benefit from rehabilitation?
Absolutely. Performance dogs, dogs with weight issues, arthritic pets and animals that have recovered from previously treated conditions are perfect candidates for our rehab program.
Can physical rehabilitation help my healthy pet to prevent future injuries?
Physical rehabilitation can certainly play a role in the prevention of injuries. It is critical that owners maintain the musculoskeletal health of their pets and recognize any injuries or problems. Early detection may prevent further problems from occurring.
How do I start my pet on a rehabilitation program?
Speak with your veterinarian about physical rehabilitation. A referral is needed for the evaluation and treatment of your pet. If you are having difficulty speaking with your veterinarian about a referral, contact us and we will gladly contact your veterinarian for you.
My dog doesn’t seem to have any problems; why would I bring him to you?
The old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” holds true in veterinary physical rehabilitation. An evaluation can help us pinpoint early on any structural problems or imbalances and address them before they become an issue. Preventive care including regular massage and adjustments can help your pet to weather the daily demands of play, exercise, minor accidents, and aging with greater success. Keeping your dog’s body finely tuned will pay dividends in the long run. More importantly,  you’ll get more mileage out of him.
My dog needs surgery. When should I bring him in for therapy?
Therapy is usually discussed and planned in advance or directly after surgery. It is best to discuss therapy at the time of surgery so that sessions are scheduled shortly thereafter. Gentle therapy often can be started the day after surgery to reduce post-operative pain, swelling and inflammation. In certain cases, “pre-hab” is recommended to better maintain muscle that may be lost during the recovery process or to help obese pets lose weight before their procedure.