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Canine Muscle Conditions

45% of your dogs body weight is muscle and when this is affected you may see your dog become lame or stiff.  Everyday activities and inactivity can all result in reduced range of motion and flexibility, lower energy levels, increased risk of injury and character changes.

Initially you may notice that your dog is having difficulty jumping on/off the sofa or is no longer keen to go for a walk. This may be the result of an muscular or soft tissue injury which can be resolved naturally and non-invasively with remedial canine massage.

Canine Massage may help: 

  • Relieve soreness, tension, and stiffness
  • Speedy recovery from exercise
  • Improve muscle tone
  • Improve flexibility and range of motion
  • Prevent scar tissue or help break down old scar tissue
  • Improve the flow of nutrients to muscles and joints, accelerating recovery from fatigue and injury
  • Improve the flow of toxins and waste away from muscles
  • Break down and remodel scar tissue
  • Prevent or delay muscular atrophy due to inactivity resulting from injury, age, surgery, or illness
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Reduce pain by releasing endorphins
  • Relax muscle and reduce tension
  • Relax the nervous system 
  • Promote the body’s natural healing process
  • Help manage areas of overcompensation

For more information on some common injuries please see below:

  • Sprains


A muscle strain, commonly known in humans as a pulled or torn muscle. This injury occurs when the muscle has been overstretched, but it is not the stretch alone that causes the problem rather the tension on the muscle while it’s contracting. Such as when there is a quick jerk, twist or sudden movement. A muscle can’t repair itself by laying down new muscle fibre, instead scar tissue is laid down to bind the torn fibres together. This scar tissue is less flexible, hindering natural movement and making the muscle susceptible to recurring issues.

Scar tisssue
Scar tissue is the fibrous connective tissue that forms after a strain as the body attempts to repair a torn muscle. This forms a haphazard pattern over the injury as the muscle tries to join the torn fibres together. Scar tissue is not the same as the tissue it replaces, it is tough and fibrous, and not as flexible as muscle tissue. Therefore scar tissue can reduce the muscle’s flexibility and range of motion unless, and increase the risk of re-strain, unless the scar tissue is broken down and remodeled.

Adhesions can form following a muscle repair where scar tissue has been laid down. Since scar tissue is not as flexible as good muscle tissue creating restrictions in the muscle and fascia to an extenet that these structures can become stuck together forming an adhesion. These adhesions can restrict movement leading to pain in the muscle or joint, which can lead to further restriction, more adhesions and more pain.

Trigger points
When a dog, like a human, exercises toxins build up in the muscles, eg: lactic acid. These can cause irritation in the motor nerve endings. The build up of toxins is caused by reduced blood flow and oxygen due to the hyper- or hypotonicity of the muscle fibres. The spots where the toxins build up develop into trigger points and can occur in any muscle in the body.

Overuse, nervous stress or a sluggish circulation due to too little activity can cause these trigger points to develop and a dog can have up to around 10 of these which can really affect its mobility. They are very tender and when pressed can cause referred pain in other parts of the body.

A spasm is a sudden violent contraction of a muscle or group of muscles. It tends to happen in muscles that are overused and over loaded. The muscle in spasm will be painful and feel very tight as it is unable to release the tension. Spasm can occur due to prolonged activity, weakness in the affected muscle or by aggravating an existing problem. If not treated the spasm can develop into a hyper irritable trigger point.

Myofascial Pain
Fascia is a layer of connective tissue that covers all the muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones of the body in a web-like layer that allows them to slide and glide over each other minimising friction. If a there is insufficient movement or stretching of a muscle the fascial layers between the muscles can become stuck to one another restricting muscle movement and pain when pressure is applied.

Myofascial pain syndrome is pain and inflammation in the muscles and soft tissue caused by constrictions in the fascia. This can lead to a reduced flow of fresh nutrients being delivered to the muscle and causing a build up of toxins irritating nerve endings. This, in turn, can cause the formation of painful, wide radiating myofascial trigger points.

A sprain is an injury that occurs when a joint has moved beyond its limits, causing the ligament to overstretch, tear or rupture.

Ligaments are the connective tissue that join bones to bones and stabilise joints. They made of flexible collagen strands but are not elastic. Their job is to hold the bones of a joint in their correct alignment and enable movement along the appropriate plane and to the appropriate degree but disallow movement in a direction that the joint is not designed for. They can stretch under tension and return to their original shape when relaxed, but they cannot return to their original shape when they have been stretched past a certain point or held in that position for too long