May 18, 2022

Sporting & Working dogs

Sporting and Working dogs are athletes and as such they use their bodies more and in different ways than the average dog.  Athletes need to be kept in tune to use their bodies optimally not only to achieve their goals and work but to reduce risk of injury. Using physiotherapy as an MOT for these dogs means you are  regularly treating muscles that are being used at their peak. Regular physiotherapy also helps deal with any niggles that may be starting that could lead to injury if left unattended.

Pro-habilitation – is about the physio identifying muscular areas of your dog’s body that he/she is not using symmetrically and then providing exercises that focus on that. This can help prevent over-straining of other areas and hence reduce risk of injury. Be Pro-active not Re-active. Regular Physiotherapy MOTs for your sporting or working dog will fine tune and prepare his/her body for  training and competition. Part of Pro-habilitation includes working on Proprioception which is fine tuning the bodies ability to know where it’s joints are in space and hence to then move as efficiently and effectively as possible. As Physiotherapists we work a great deal on proprioception. Also helps the young dog or dog new to sport and work to prepare his/her body for this new exercise.

If the work demand is too high, too repetative or through accident – obvious damage occurs and lameness is evident. But even the daily demands of a sporting or working dog can cause micro-damage that repetitively over time cause pain and increases the risk of injury. Tendon and ligament injuries are more often an accumulation of micro-damage over time with perhaps a ‘final straw’ component to strain them to a point of lameness and swelling. The correct rehabilitation is important after any injury and I have the skills to promote quality healing in soft tissue and to help you bring your dog into work in a manner that benefits the full healing of the injury and prevent compensations in other parts of the body.

What is Proprioception ?

Proprioception is a combination of balance, joint position sense, and body awareness. Part of this is derived from sensory apparatus within the muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints. When any of these areas are damaged, in pain or recovering from injury/surgery, the sensory apparatus are damaged and need proprioceptive stimulation to recover and do their job again. Physiotherapy treatment works to gain proprioception. Good proprioception leads to correct use of limb and body. Athletes and Working dogs need excellent proprioception in order to move effectively and efficiently and therefore reduce risk of injury and tiredness of muscles. Working on prorioception using specific exercises prescribed for your sporting or working dog’s needs will enhance their performance and prolong their working life.