At Farthings Veterinary Group we offer pet massage therapy performed by our qualified pet massage therapist, Frances Gaudiano RVN BVNA DipIDerm BSAVA PhysioMerit, who studied at the Galen Myotherapy Centre in Coolham to earn her certificate in the subject. The course involved in depth study of anatomy and physiology as well as massage techniques applicable to pets.
At Farthings, all pets must be seen by a vet prior to being referred to a massage therapist. Generally pets are seen for the following conditions:
- Arthritis and other degenerative joint diseases.
- Muscular tension/injury.
- Post-operative rehabilitation.
What is massage therapy and what pets may benefit from it?
Massage therapy can aid in recovery of injured muscles by enhancing blood flow to and from the site of injury. To simplify, massage acts to bring in fresh blood and nutrients while flushing out old tired blood and waste products. In this way, healing can occur more quickly and pain can be eased by reducing swelling and inflammation.
Massage can also be used to lubricate the joints by practicing range of motion. By moving the joints through their natural planes of action, suppleness and flexibility can be increased. We do not stretch cats or dogs as one would do in an exercise class, rather we work within the normal range, trying to maintain regular movement and increase joint flexibility whenever possible. This is especially helpful for older pets that may be inhibiting their gait due to pain. By easing stiff muscles and lubricating the joints, older pets can move more easily and sometimes regain abilities lost to them with age.
Patients with terminal illness can also benefit from massage therapy as a form of palliative treatment. Massage can help relax the affected pet and ease some of the discomfort. Alternatively, massage therapy is also helpful to canine athletes that need to maintain a high level of fitness and flexibility. Owners can learn appropriate warm-up and warm-downs from our massage therapist.
How is massage therapy performed?
After an initial veterinary examination (which may or may not include radiographs) pets are referred for three massage treatments, one week apart. It often makes the pet feel more comfortable if he/she has its own blanket to lie on during the treatment. Massage treatments last about 30 minutes and the owner is encouraged to stay in order to help settle the pet and to learn some simple techniques to use at home. Most pets wander about the consult room for the first few minutes but eventually are happy to lie down and get the treatment. We do not ever restrain pets to do a massage as this would be counterproductive.
What happens after treatment?
After the first three treatments, the pet is reassessed by a vet and a treatment plan is either modified or curtailed. Some conditions can be treated with only three sessions but some chronic conditions may require periodic treatments over several months or even years. Most insurance companies cover pet massage as a form of rehabilitation therapy.
Even if your pet is not suffering from an injury, massage therapy can be useful for an overall quality of life improvement. Senior pets can benefit greatly from the suppleness and circulation benefits of massage therapy. If you are interested in having your pet treated, please contact the practice for an appointment with a vet.