Tuesday, June 8, 2010

How Massage Helped Mabel

Mabel came to me last year. She is a gentle soul of a dog and is 5 years old. She is a rescued Rhodesian Ridgeback from the Caribbean. Her guardian, Dena, has worked very hard with her behavioural issues and Mabel is finally opening up and accepting affection and praise. Prior to her rescue she was abused, nearly starved and suffered from heat exhaustion and severe skin irritations.

On one of their winter romps in the dog park, Mabel somehow managed to injure her rear cruciate ligament and started to limp. Dena took her to the vet and surgery was recommended. The vet also prescribed aspirin and Rimydal. Well, Dena is a human holistics nut and balked at the idea of giving these types of medications to her dog. Unfortunately, seeing Mabel in pain made her cave in and she soon began giving her the meds. Mabel didn't fair well with the meds and began having reactions such as diarrhea and even vomiting blood. After a trip to a holistic vet, Mabel was put on a natural diet and packaged food was a thing of the past. Although the changes improved her coat and continuous ear infection, it didn't do much for her cruciate symptoms. The vet also recommended acupuncture and massage.

At the Acupuncturist, Mabel was so scared and was so afraid of the needles. She would literally hover in the corner. However, after the first few visits she saw improvement. If any of you have tried acupuncture on your dog, you will know it takes time and patience. Unlike us humans, they can't explain exactly which needles help and which ones don't. Also, there needs to be a development of trust between Acupuncturist and the dog. They did get through it and after a few appointments, Mabel seemed to be doing better.

In between the acupuncture treatments, I took over. I used massage to ease her pain and to promote good blood circulation. Although my concentration was mostly on her back leg, I massaged the entire dog to create balance. For Mabel, I alternated between a semi-deep tissue massage one week and relaxation massages the other. During my relaxation massages I always ended with a bit of lavender oil rubbed on my hands to create calm. Mabel, although hesitant at first, has come to love the massages and trots over to me and plops down at my feet. This is a large improvement from my first visit when she wouldn't even leave Dena's side. For Mabel, I always incorporate harp music and ask that Dena give her some Bach Flower Rescue Remedy at least 1/2 hour prior to our visits. Since I come to her home, she feels comfortable in her environment and thus less intimidated.

After about the fourth session, Dena noticed that Mabel was walking much better and sleeping better. Her walking was improving and her stress level had lessened. By about session 8, we noticed a real improvement. Dena believes that the acupuncture and massage have given life back to Mabel. I believe that it's true.

It is important to note that this therapy program was all under the guidance of her holistic veterinarian.

I still treat Mabel on an as needed basis. Every once and a while she gets a tweak when playing at the park or jumping up on the couch, and I'm right there to help her.

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