Holistic Veterinary care


Back Pain in Dogs – The Hidden Disease

Every dog I see, I assess for back pain. More than half of them – maybe 60-70%, have at least one spot in their backs that is painful, compromised, not moving properly… When this happens the nervous system is compromised, and the bodies communication system is out of whack. This causes all sorts of problems – chronic changes in blood flow to areas of the body or organ systems, poor communication back to the brain, and so poor regulation or dysregulation of organ function, and the list goes on.

You know what the most worrying thing about this is? (Actually there’s a couple of worrying things, but let’s deal with this one first.)  Nearly all the clients I tell that their dog has back pain, and a problem here, have absolutely no idea that their dog has back pain! So we have all these dogs running about with a painful back that is often impacting on their health in multiple ways, and nobody has a clue that it’s going on. Which brings us to the second worrying thing. Most vets are 1) – not very good at assessing dogs for back pain (I know I wasn’t trained well in this at uni), and 2) – have absolutely no skills to release and heal the physical problem (they nearly all do what I was taught to do – give the dog some anti-inflammatories and rest). Anti Inflammatories and rest can help, but they hardly ever do anything to resolve the underlying problem- pain, tension, imbalance or a subluxation of the spinal joints from some sort of injury, or stress.

Dogs are so good at hiding pain. They don’t vocalise it, and given a ball to chase or something they love, they will simply ignore pain and carry on as if normal. I read an article recently about a competition dog. The owners noted the most subtle reluctance to do one particular move to one side – and this dog was still competing in agility to a very high level. They had the dog assessed by a vet with speciality in injuries and rehab, and it was carrying quite serious soft tissue injuries. These problems are very easy to overlook.

So what to do? Firstly, get your dog checked by a vet with expertise in this realm (call me if you are interested), or perhaps a dog physio, masseuse, or chiro (with a bit of a caveat- I have seen some who are a bit rough! If your dog seems uncomfortable, or it seems to hurt them, maybe not so good. Likewise with any practitioner.).

Secondly, they will need focused, expert hands on work to release pain and tension, and rebalance their body. I have developed a technique (Whole Energy Body Balancing or WEBB) over the last 18 years of practice – combining massage, connective tissue release, spinal release and mobilisation, and subtle energy work. Lately I am also integrating acupressure into these sessions as well, with great results. Usually 3-4 sessions is all your dog will need, though I have worked with one ex racing greyhound who has had 15 sessions before a real breakthrough shift for the better (though with improvement after each session along the way, and he had horrific injuries).

The difference in dogs has to be seen to be believed after this work – not only physically, but also massive emotional changes for the better. Clients consistently tell me that their dogs are happier, more playful, and healthier.

Here’s what Rufus’s Dad wrote after the sessions…

“My dog Rufus is a miniature schnauzer just over two years old. He was very active as a puppy, and in his youth, and loved running along the beach with me. He’d run like the wind and it was a pleasure to watch him enjoying himself so.

About a year ago he started slowing down and even having difficulty getting up from a resting position. So began a progression of vet visits to try and find what seemed to be a problem with his back or thigh muscles. Our long term local vet was very thorough in investigating the symptoms and conducted several tests over a period of time, but could find nothing obviously wrong. I even took him to a vet who practices chiropractic treatment, but to little avail. A low point occurred when Rufus started getting around using only three legs. It was so sad to see my still young dog hobbling about like an old man.

After hearing about Dr Ed’s work with animals a home visit was arranged and he worked on Rufus with his WEBB technique. There was a small improvement after the first session and more following the second but after the third he was running around like a puppy again!

Rufus has very expressive eyes and it hurt me to see his pain in them and be unable to help him. He’s now a happy dog again and I’m extremely grateful to Dr Ed for his excellent care and for helping Rufus enjoy life again.”

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“Thank Goodness for Dr Edward, the Home Visit Vet. Convenient, affordable, professional, and most importantly my pets are seen in a stress free environment. Thanks so much, from all of us.”

~ Sandi Wickman