Gemma (38kg) used to love running on the beach until one day she slipped and yelped - the owners took her to the vet’s where x-rays didn’t show any damage and she was fine the next day. A few months later she showed a slight limp in her right hind leg every now and then but of course she just loved chasing the ball and running around crazy with her doggie friends on the beach and that’s what she did so her mum and dad thought she must be fine. Until her right cruciate ligament tore!
Gemma had come from a severe abusive first home that the RSPCA Sydney took to court and because of her being unsure and sometimes quite stressed by strangers the owners decided against a stressful operation and being handled by lots of different people at the vet’s. Instead Gemma rested for four weeks and then got a knee brace fitted. With this the owners started myofunctional treatment plus little walks (to the street light and back). Every day they incorporated exercises and kept going with the myofunctional treatment. They were shown how swimming could be beneficial for Gemma and it didn’t take long until she could walk around the block. A few weeks later she didn’t need the knee brace anymore and her cruciate ligaments healed completely within a few months.
Husky Racing Team
For my practicum for the Diploma in Canine Myofunctional Therapy (CMT) I had to go to a place near Melbourne where we experienced a wide and very interesting variety of dogs to work with. We worked on 8 huskies (belonging to the same owner) that together formed a team of competing sledding dogs. These huskies were kept on a very lean diet as not to be too heavy for racing and of course their muscles needed to be in peak shape. The owner brought them each time a practicum was on and needless to say these 8 dogs won every race during the winter season. CMT can have such a big influence that it can make the difference between winning and not winning and that’s a difference of thousands of dollars.
Lulu, 5, was found lying in the yard completely paralysed. After 5 days at the vet's she returned home with no improvement and a referral to see me for myofunctional therapy. In the three weeks since the incident, she had just barely started to lift her head and showed tiny uncontrolled movements in her left limbs. She couldn't go to the toilet or drink by herself and her owner was doing the most amazing job caring for her 24/7. At the end of the first massage treatment a major breakthrough: Lulu moved her right hind leg for the first time in three weeks!!! After this her owner informed me that she saw little improvements every day and by the time I visited her for the second session one week later, Lulu was able to move her head, neck and upper body to the point where she could turn around to lick and groom herself for an extended period of time. She still had a long way to go but the cheeky look on her face told us that she would walk again one day. After three myofunctional treatments she was able to move all four of her limbs and this made her quite exuberant, trying to push herself off her bed. We just loved seeing her fighter spirit. A little later she got the nickname "Ms Wiggleworm" as she was just having a good old time rolling around and throwing herself off the bed when we tried to take photos of her and she wouldn’t keep still. It is amazing to see the massive improvement in her movements every week. Her fur is growing back too and massage has a big influence on the condition that the skin (the biggest organ) and hair is in as well. Soon she'll look like a Samoyed again and we’ll keep this story going until she’s walking again. Send her some well wishes please…
I work with shelter dogs and give them myofunctional treatment to help them against boredom, stress, restricted exercise and most of all to provide them some one-on-one time. The techniques that I apply tap into the “para-sympathetic” nervous system. This is the part of our NS that promotes calmness, a “it’s all good” sense and therefore can give the chance for healing be it physically as well as mentally. We often think of massage therapy as something that deals with the musculo-skeletal system or a spa-wellness-program but the truth is that a well-trained therapist can actually do much more than that. Once the dog is in a calm state of mind, the digestive tract is calm enough to do its work properly, the lymphatic system can work efficiently and flush out toxins which in return is beneficial for the liver and kidney. Hormones such as adrenalin (often due to stress) can be reduced and this has all to do with the increased function of the cardiovascular system thanks to the palpation of the muscles. When all the systems start working properly and support each other, the body creates what is called “homeostasis” or a body equilibrium. This is what we would like for all creatures, canines, humans etc. I hope that the shelter dogs feel better after their treatments and can be happier so they find their new home. When you adopt a dog from a shelter in Hervey Bay or Maryborough you will receive a free myofunctional therapy session after you bring your new friend home to say “Thank you for adopting".