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Osteopathy for Pets
by Maureen McIntyre, D.V.M., E.D.O., C.V.A

(As printed in The Original Pet Lovers Companion)

Osteopathy for our four legged friends is a relatively new field, but doctors of Osteopathy have been treating human patients for over a century.  First developed in America in 1874 by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, the holistic philosophy of osteopathy was a new approach in medicine.  Dr. Still believed that if a structural problem hindered the blood or nerve supply to a part of the body, the function of that part would be diminished.  He also believed that all parts of the body were interdependent, that a disturbance in one part would create a problem somewhere else.

While the word osteopathy refers to the bone, the science of osteopathy addresses the soft tissues, the fascia and the cranial-sacral techniques as well as the musculo-skeletal system.  The diagnosis and treatment are done with the hand.  Gentle palpation, examination of the range of motion of the joints, determination of the flexibility of the spine and of the limbs- these are all the part of the diagnostic approach.  The purpose is to release the restrictions allowing the full range of motion and full function to return.

So how do I know if my pet would benefit from this treatment?  Does my pet show:

  • Flinching or spasms of the muscles of the back when stroked
  • A head tilt
  • A tail clamped down or held stiffly in an upward position
  • Difficulty eating
  • Difficulty climbing stairs or getting in or out of the car
  • Difficulty turning the neck
  • Sensitivity in the ribs
  • Lameness in the legs or feet
  • Agility dogs pulling rails or refusing obstacles or jumps

These are a few of the indications that an animal would benefit from an osteopathic diagnosis and treatment.

An initial injury if untreated will be followed by compensations, which over time develop their own aches and pains.  A healthy animal and a happy pet is the result of good osteopathic diagnosis and treatment.

   

 


Photo by Peggy White

 

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