Canine Sports Medicine
Sports Medicine in General
One of the common misconceptions is that our services are only necessary AFTER an injury or neurological condition has occurred. And while we do see many patients in this state, it is much more in the interest of the pet owner to see us BEFORE the injury occurs. Naturally, we never know when an injury will occur. However, due to the nature of their work / play, many dogs place heavy demands on their musculoskeletal system. Just as a professional athlete regularly sees trainers, chiropractors, etc., so should those canines that are subjected to the same types of stresses. Routine preventative care can help these dogs prepare their bodies for the stresses that they are put under, and importantly, identify small problems before they become big problems. Following the sports medicine evaluation, we'll show you how to do some of the treatments that are required on a regular basis, such as massage, stretching, and range-of-motion exercises.
Active Family Pets
Although some dogs are "formally" canine athletes, there is a whole class of informal athletes...the family frisbee champion, the running companion, and the Houdini-ish fence climbers to name a few. Just because these dogs aren't formally canine athletes doesn't mean they're not subjecting themselves to the same, if not more, rigors during their daily activity than agility dogs, etc. Routine preventative care can be an important part of these dogs overall health.
There are many kind of competition dogs...agility dogs, flyball dogs, herding dogs, mushers, etc. Each kind of competition can place unique stresses on a dog's body. Consider for a moment the force that would be placed on your legs and back if you constantly had to run up and down an A-frame. You would probably be spending some quality time at your chiropractor keeping your back in tip-top shape, and would also likely stretch before and after the activity to keep yourself from getting hurt. So should your dog. Regular stretching and/or chiropractic adjustments is an important part of a competition dog's injury prevention regimen.
For the purpose of this page, we'll consider working dogs as police K-9's, search & rescue dogs, etc. Unique to this group of dogs, particularly the police K-9's, is that they rarely have a chance to stretch before their strenuous activity. Therefore, it is imperative that they are provided a regular routine of stretching and massage, to help their bodies stay tuned up and ready for any immediate bursts of activity they may be subjected to.
For a show dog, whether it be a conformation champion or a canine celebrity, fluidity of movement and overall strength and cardiovascular fitness are critical to the success they will have in the ring. Regular massage and stretching will improve their fluidity. Strengthening exercises and regimented aerobic exercise, such as land treadmill therapy will improve their overall strength and cardiovascular fitness.