In the winter of 2010/2011, Molly developed a limp that plagued her after our favorite activities—going for long walks or running beside my bicycle. I would put her on strict rest, then try to slowly build up to previous activity levels over the course of months. She’d do fine—then relapse.
At last in August 2012, X-ray revealed a calcified tendon in her right shoulder. Rare amongst couch dogs, it’s a common sports injury in agility dogs, caused by repeated hard landings on the forelegs. Molly doesn’t do agility (she’s too hard on the obstacle course), but she loves to help shovel the driveway—by leaping mid air after flying snow.
Molly’s vet offered three options: She could take Rimadyl (a common pain killer for dogs) every day for the rest of her life; she could take monthly steroidal injections in her shoulder, or she could go to the University of Minnesota for specialized surgery to her tendon.
I didn’t like any of these options. I object to using any drug long-term because I’ve known pets who suffered more from their meds than from their original medical issues. In some cases, drugs have shortened the pet’s lifespan. As for surgery, I had to take into account a very long recovery process—not to mention thousands of dollars in expense.
About the same time, I saw a poster advertising Dakota Canine Massage by Claudia Jahraus. I didn’t have to think long about giving her a call. Soon Molly had her own massage therapist who came right to her house twice a month.
How was massage supposed to work? By helping the body heal itself. Massage stimulates blood flow, thus bringing maximum nutrients and oxygen to the tissues—the building blocks Molly’s body needed to repair the damage. To maximize the benefits, I had Molly on a homemade diet with supplements specifically for her condition—glucosamine and chondroitin, vitamin E, and omega-3 found in fish oil.
After a month of massage, her limp disappeared. We’ve never seen it again. Claudia continues to see us on a regular basis just as part of Molly’s healthy lifestyle. We’ve already saved $400 by not having to use Rimadyl. And today, Molly is pulling her dog cart and running beside my bicycle just as if nothing ever happened.
Except … we don’t jump after snow anymore.
Massage can benefit a host of ailments, from sore muscles to faltering organs. Does your dog or cat have a special health need? Why not give massage a try?