“her desire to walk dropped to zero followed by catastrophic muscle loss – we were seriously considering putting her to sleep”
How I Came to Know Jessie
I first met Jessie many years ago when Dr Steve Humphreys, agreed that I could massage Jessie as one of my case studies, helping me to complete the 2 year Clinical Canine Massage Practitioner Programme. Jessie is a rescue, and thought to be a Border / Wire Fox Terrier cross. At the time she was likely around 4 years old.
Incidentally, Jessie taught me a lesson they don’t teach you in class. Because massage triggers the rest and digest response, dogs will pay you little “compliments” when you least expect them.
In Jessies case, phew, thank goodness for windows.
An Odd Gait
Jessies mum and dad hadn’t noticed any particular issues but during the consultation they mentioned that when she ran she would throw her back left leg out to the side.
During this consultation which included a series of questions about Jessies every day activities, home environment, gait and postural analysis, I found that Jessie was very tight around her back legs and mid to lower back. She was also compensating around her neck and shoulders.
Jessie with her Mum
After just one treatment Jessie was already more mobile and happier.
But, after the three recommended treatments this odd gait irregularity hasn’t returned. Her mum noticed that her footfall pattern in the sand on her beach walks was straight and even.
We were amazed that Angela was able to instantly build rapport and trust with Jessie (and with us!), so that she would allow Angela to manipulate her tissues, etc, even when it was uncomfortable for her.
Jessie came back regularly, twice a year for her maintenance massage just to keep her nice and supple.
What Happened Next Was a Total Shock
Several years later I received a call from Jessies dad while they were away on holiday. He told me that Jessie couldn’t use her legs properly, she was really wobbly and sometimes falling over. I told them to contact a local vet immediately for an opinion and take a few seconds of video to show to the vet in case they needed to refer to Jessies own vet back home.
The Vets Conducted Thorough Investigations
The holiday vet was unsure as to what was going on and referred Jessie back to her own vet. Of course, mum and dad cut the holiday short and drove straight back. Jessie was immediately referred to Dick Whites a phenomenal specialist referral centre in Newmarket where Jessie underwent a series of tests: Muscle nerve biopsy, Xrays, MrI’s and blood tests.
Jessie then suffered critical muscle loss. But despite the tests unfortunately the reason for this event was no clearer.
Jessie had developed a highly fatigable gait with aII four legs affected, which manifested very suddenly” “Her desire to go for a walk dropped to zero, along with her ability to jump, climb stairs and walk with any pace. This of a dog that we normally couldn’t tire post two 4-5 mile walks a day was incredibly distressing. A short period of no exercise was followed by catastrophic muscle and weight loss over her whole body. We were seriously considering having her put to sleep!
With Vet Consent I Continued to Support Jessie and Her Family
I have never witness muscle loss like it. It was very distressing to Jessie like this but had to remain focused on getting her better. At this stage without a diagnosis, I didn’t know what would help.
With the kind permission of Dick White Referrals I supported Jessie with massage and gentle sustained exercises to rebuild muscle and muscle memory, and was there for her mum and dad through what was a very tough couple of months for them. I just wanted to be there for them, to reassure them, to help, or even just offer an outlet when they needed to talk over next steps.
In combination with diagnostics at Dick White Referrals, Angela worked in a very kind, gentle and consistent way with Jessie. She explained everything she did in a way that we understood and trusted.
Angela supported us for months during Jessie’s’ rehabilitation with advice on regular exercises we could do at home as well as making herself available when we needed urgent appointments.
She really helped raise our confidence through the exercises and therapy she conducted that Jessie’s health could indeed return to normal. We are very pleased to report, that our little doggies health has been restored and that it is clearly sustainable.
As a result of experience with Angela Day we have had no hesitation in recommending her to friends and family with dogs that can benefit from her skills and knowledge.
Drs Mandy and Steve Humphreys
So How is Jessie Now?
Well, I am delighted to report that years later Jessie is back, in fine form, is well-muscled and fighting fit!
She still loves the beach, even when it is covered with snow.
And…… she is still, without doubt, the most “complimentary” dog I’ve ever massaged. and I wouldn’t change that for the world!
Are You Worried About How To Manage Your Dogs Pain Long Term?
I may be able to help.
I’m Angela Day owner of Born to Run based in Suffolk. I’m a Canine Massage Practitioner, Clinical Trials Contributor, IRVAP, IAAT & Canine Massage Guild member, plus CCA Licensed Coach.
Massage is a results-driven, clinically proven therapy, used to release tight sore muscles, reduces pain, and improve mobility, giving you healthier, happier dogs!
If you’d like to chat about any concerns you have I’d love to hear from you. Click here to get in touch.
Not in Suffolk? Don’t worry we have a national network of clinical therapists ready to help you. Find your closest therapist on the IRVAP, IAAT or Canine Massage Guild Register
Angela Day, MCICM (grad), CM (Dip), MIAAT, MIRVAP (MT)