McTimoney for the aged dog as well as the athletic dog

07/02/2023 by in Case Studies, All, Dog, Dog, News

McTimoney for the aged dog as well as the athletic dog…

McTimoney chiropractic treatment is well-recognised as a gentle and effective modality for improving comfort and performance of all dogs, regardless of their size, ability and any pre-existing conditions. This is true of older dogs as well as those in sporting activities in their younger years. The technique works because it uses very light and quick adjustments at specific locations to stimulate the body to re-mobilise the joints involved, release muscle tension and improve nerve function. This all sounds rather scientific but what it means in practice is that where your dog may be struggling to move a limb properly, or move comfortably on all four limbs, McTimoney treatment can identify where in the body the issue is coming from. For example, it may be that the arthritic changes in your dogs’ hips are causing muscular tension in the back muscles and shoulders producing stiffness in the spine and through the forelimbs. This makes it harder for your dog to move, so you see symptoms such as reluctance to go for walks, stiffness when getting out of their bed, or even lameness as the body struggles to maintain the compensations. McTimoney treatment can identify where those compensations are in the neck, back and limbs, and using carefully targeted adjustments to reduce the pain and stiffness which have built up here, enable your dog to move more freely again.

Ruby, 12-year-old Gordon Setter bitch

One particularly extreme case where treatment has been highly effective is that of Ruby, a 12-year-old Gordon Setter bitch who first came to Nikki Routledge, McTimoney Animal Chiropractor for treatment over 18 months ago. At that time Ruby was showing all the signs of old age, including a very weak and snatchy gait with both hindlimbs, particularly the right hind. Poor Ruby was struggling to get upstairs at home and was even unable to stand properly on the tiled floor where she was brought in for treatment, with her feet sliding in all directions. She found getting up again once she had collapsed in a heap very difficult and Nikki’s first reaction was that Ruby might not be one who would respond favourably to treatment as she was so weak.

However, Nikki noted there were no contraindications to treatment. Ruby had been to the vet and was on medication but there had been little change. After her first very light treatment, Ruby improved markedly. She was much more confident in her movement albeit with some snatchiness in her gait still, but she had started to go up and down stairs again at home and she was far more stable on the tiled floor. Subsequent treatments then combined McTimoney treatment to realign the spine, pelvis and neck, with laser treatment to stimulate cellular responses in the long back muscles, hips and shoulder joints. Ruby continued to improve and with regular treatments every 3-4 weeks, she has maintained her ability to climb the stairs, jog around the garden at home and generally live a happy old life ever since. In fact, Nikki said “I was surprised when her owner Alan pointed out to me that I had been treating Ruby for 18 months as I think we both thought that treatment was going to be more of an ‘end of life’ care programme for Ruby rather than giving her back a quality of life that allowed her to still enjoy her daily walks and routine. Ruby enjoys her treatment so much she even knows when Alan says to her, ‘Let’s go to see Nikki’ and she goes straight to the car!”

Alan said “Nikki has been tireless and wonderfully caring in her treatment of Ruby which has undoubtedly given Ruby a bonus of 18 months of ever-increasing mobility and quality of life.

Initially, due to failing eyesight, Ruby had a bad fall into a water filled gully and splayed both front and back legs resulting in an inability to stand or walk without a sling supporting her back legs. We were warned by the vet that we may have to consider euthanasia. Ruby was simply not ready to give up and of course wanted to do everything to save her. We initially chose a course of laser treatment to help her and thank goodness Nikki and McTimoney was subsequently recommended to us by the Dulverton Veterinary Practice in Devon and Laura Harding a McTimoney chiropractor that is see myself.

McTimoney for the aged dog as well as the athletic dog

Following treatment by Nikki using the McTimoney Animal Chiropractic method the result was an immediate improvement and relief from the pain and thereafter slow but steady improvement in Ruby’s condition and happiness; she loves her visits and treatments and the constant supply of sausages she gets when being treated! Although blind now and slow in movement she still goes for a morning walk, still loves going out in the car and climbs the 15 steep stairs each night and morning and loves Nikki and going to her for her treatments”.

Nikki continues “While cases like Ruby’s are not typical of the active sporting dogs we see competing, they are immensely satisfying and emphasize why chiropractic care for older dogs is important. Ruby probably has arthritic changes in her hips, spine and possible lower neck and forelimb joints as these are common areas for degenerative change and are indicated by her reactions to palpation and range of motion tests in these areas. Ruby tightens up in the back to compensate for her hips. However, this puts pressure on the spine area so she compensates further by stabilising the back from too much movement and trying to pull herself forwards with her front legs, where there may also be arthritic change in the joints here too. As the muscles in these areas become tighter and tighter, Ruby becomes increasingly sore, resulting in her needing to transfer weight back towards her hips again, but due to the degenerative change here Ruby needs to compensate through her back and so a negative cycle continues. Treatment releases the tension in the back muscles, shoulders, and neck, therefore allowing Ruby to continue to compensate for her hips, spine and neck changes in a way that is comfortable. Also by maintaining her comfort and movement Ruby continues to use her muscles properly and this maintains the muscle development and tone. Loss of muscle in older dogs contributes to a general weakening of the body and inability to perform daily tasks, so it is important that we encourage our older dogs to be as mobile as possible to keep muscle strength and tone.”

So, what should you do if you suspect your dog is compensating in some way? Well, the easiest way to find a local McTimoney Animal Chiropractor is to go to the McTimoney Animal Association website and look for your local practitioner. They will be able to take your dog’s history and assessment the movement and skeletal alignment necessary to locate issues appropriate for treatment.

Alan concludes, “Ruby is still a big strong dog thanks to Nikki and we cannot thank her enough for the wonderful gift she has given and continues to give us all!”

The McTimoney Animal Association (MAA) is an independent regulatory body. All members hold a PGDip or MSc in Animal Manipulation (Chiropractic) from the McTimoney College of Chiropractic. Members of the MAA abide by a code of ethics and standards of proficiency as well as being fully insured to treat animals. 

Nikki Routledge MSc PGCLT FHEA MMAA AHPR Regd, McTimoney Animal Therapist, treating horses and dogs across Devon and Somerset. Nikki combines over 20 years of experience treating a range of animal clients with teaching in Higher Education for the McTimoney College of Chiropractic and Bridgwater and Somerset College. Nikki is Chair of the McTimoney Animal Association, a member of the Animal Health Professions Register, and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.  Contact Nikki on 07890 968115