Humans are not the only creatures who suffer from structural problems! Complaints in animals can also be treated with Massage Therapy and Osteopathy. In fact, animals often respond very favourably to treatment, and much quicker than their human counterparts!
What are the benefits of Osteopathy for my horse or pet?
Osteopathy has many benefits for animals, such as increased flexibility and range of movement. A horse that is relaxed and flexible moves better and is more energy efficient. The joints, ligaments and tendons are under less stress and therefore will allow increased performance. Osteopathy can also improve circulation. Exercise is one of nature's best forms of improving the body's circulation, but there are times when an animal may have to be placed on strict prolonged rest due to injury. With osteopathic techniques circulation and lymphatic drainage can be improved.
What to expect from your first visit:
A detailed health history will be taken of your animal, focusing on the signs and symptoms of the current condition. It will also be helpful to have details of your animal's past medical history along with any other investigations (scans and x-rays for example), operations or medications. Information about your horses' shoeing, tack, schooling, diet and stable management may be required. A physical examination will then take place.
What to expect from an examination:
Sometimes it is important to observe your animal in motion in order to assess. Dog owners may be asked to walk or trot their pet. Horse owners may also be required to lunge, free school or ride their horse. This enables observation of any signs of lameness, lack of symmetry in the gait or stance, and fluidity of movement. Alternatively, Alison may be able to assess your animal without the need for extensive movement. It will depend on the issues that need to be addressed.
This is a hands-on examination, which focuses on, and localises, any muscular or bony restrictions. Also, areas of inflammation and tenderness will be noted.
Treatment may involve:
» Neuromuscular techniques - gentle muscular work to help decrease tension within tight muscle fibres which may be restricting movement within a spinal or peripheral joint
» Joint mobilisation - this involves moving joints through a full range of movement to help increase mobility at a specific joint (either spinal or peripheral) and increase nutrition & blood flow to the area
» Soft tissue techniques and stretching - massage techniques and stretches used to relax and stretch the musculature and improve the general circulation and nutrition within the injured tissues
» Palpitory manipulation - to mobilize and restore proper movement and energy in joints, muscles, organs, tissues, fascia, and other parts of the animal's anatomy
How long does a treatment take?
Treatment times depend on your animal and its tolerance level. The standard treatment time for dogs and cats is a half hour, and for horses a full hour. However, treatment times may vary and are at the discretion of Alison's judgement. For more information see Services & Fees
Equine Osteopathy is a branch of Osteopathy that utilizes the same principles and theory as human osteopathy, modified to take into account the difference between the human and equine anatomical structures.
Benefits of Equine Osteopathy
Equine Osteopathy is a drug free, horse-centred system of healthcare, which distinguishes it from many other systems of care that are condition/disease centred. Equine Osteopathic Practitioners see, and treat, the whole horse rather than just another animal with a disorder. Alison will seek to identify and address the key influences that will lead to your horse's restored health and wellbeing. She will give treatment and advice individually tailored to your horse, and can also work alongside your vet; there is no need to stop any medication that has been prescribed for your horse.
When treating your horse, Alison will assess your horse for flexibility, mobility, points of tension, etc. She may also assess your horse in-hand at the walk and trot. Alison will take a case history, noting any previous injuries, treatments and medications, as well as the lifestyle of your horse and the demands placed upon it. She will explain simply and clearly all the issues that are found and also explain the treatment planned for your horse.
During treatment, Alison works with her hands to stimulate your horse's natural healing mechanism. The techniques that she uses are carefully selected to be the most comfortable and the best suited to your horse, according to the condition being treated, the age of your horse and your horse's build. The treatment will initiate a healing response in your horse. This will trigger changes to occur inside your horse's body and encourage toxins to be released for elimination; this can often be quite a tiring experience for your horse. It is highly recommended that your horse not be worked after treatment, instead being either turned out or grazed in hand with fresh water available at all times.
In horses, Osteopathy has proved to be particularly useful in helping to improve the following conditions:
» Reduced performance
» Stiffness in different areas of the body
» Back pain
» One sided (unwilling to bend)
» Problems with head carriage
» Reluctance to trot/canter on certain reins
» Irregular gait/gait problems: tracking-up/short stride
» Loss of muscle tone
» Decreased flexion
» Tension in the jaw
» Tail held to one side
» Uneven muscle development
» Changes in behaviour: bucking, rearing, kicking and bolting
» Stiffness in older horses
» Maintaining mobility in competition horses
» Aiding rehabilitation after injury and in diagnosed conditions such as arthritis
Very often your horse is not exhibiting any obvious problems but is just less willing in their work and is not their normal self. You may have a nagging feeling, but cannot put your finger on a specific issue, something just isn't quite right. Osteopathy may be able to help you find an underlying cause.
Pain and stiffness can often be the cause of the following symptoms:
» Change in attitude (for the worse)
» Less forward going
» Decreased impulsion
» Feels flat during flatwork or when jumping
» Increased rolling when loose or stabled
» Less cadence, especially in lateral work
» Takes longer to warm up
» Increased resistance to certain movements, escalating to bucking, rearing, etc.
» Poor transitions
» Head tossing
» Appearance of, or increase in severity of, stable vices
» Increased sensitivity to touch (usually noticed when grooming)
» Sudden resistance to being tacked up – especially the saddle
In a nutshell, the quality of your horse's work is deteriorating with no obvious reason why. If you are not sure if Alison can help your horse's condition/injury you are very welcome to contact her and chat about your concerns before booking an appointment.
How many treatments will be required?
This will depend on what is being treated and the history of your horse. Alison will give you more details after the initial consultation and treatment. Most horses with straightforward issues usually only require a few treatments to see significant improvement. However, some horses have more complex issues and require further treatments.