Unresolved / Undiagnosed Lameness

Unresolved / Undiagnosed Lameness’ Is Canine Massage What You’re Looking For?

Posted on January 6, 2017 by Born to Run Canine Massage

Happy New Year from Born to Run Canine Massage.

Each year I am really excited about the new and yet unknown adventures the year will undoubtedly bring.  In the meantime sadly, paperwork beckons.

Here I am tidying up my last year reports and analysing my Vet Consent Form data when a recurring theme struck me.

Reason for Massage….. ‘Unresolved/undiagnosed lameness’.

So I thought I’d share my experience.

Your dog develops a limp or is lame.  It isn’t foreign body, growth or wound related but then the lameness goes after a few days.

‘Oh it was probably nothing right?’   Actually that’s unlikely.

‘Is the issue resolved?’

If it recurs it’s highly unlikely!  Your dog has simply found a way to function ‘normally’ by protective muscle splinting.  (see my article  –  Overcompensation? Why is that a problem? ).

How many times has your dog or a friend’s dog had X-Ray or MRI scans returned a result of ‘inconclusive’ following a report of lameness?

How many times has this lameness returned?

How many times have you or one of your friends insisted on additional and very costly vet checks because you ‘just know’ something physical is not quite right and simply don’t know what else to do?

You’re not alone.

Many of my clients have approached me for a consultation following a conclusion of ‘unresolved/undiagnosed lameness.’  Some having spent hundreds or even thousands on tests they themselves had insisted the vet undertake.  In the end to be told that the cause of lameness cannot be determined and so is probably soft tissue.

What does that actually mean? 

It means that in the vet’s professional opinion, having ruled out everything else, the issue is likely to be muscular either directly or indirectly.  The reason they do not know this for sure is because they are not muscular experts.

I however am.  I specialise in the rehabilitation of soft tissue and muscular injury in dogs.  This includes identifying and dealing with the presence of strains, sprains, scar tissue, muscle spasms, hypo and hypertonicity of the muscle, trigger points/knots, myofascial issues coupled with the physical restriction and the discomfort or pain this inevitably brings.

Not only do I seek to identify and treat the muscular issue/s, address the habitual holding pattern treat the areas of overcompensation but also to pinpoint from a list of your dogs daily activities (ADL’s) the most likely contributor.

It’s not for me to say in which order tests should be conducted or by whom – I am not a vet.  If you have a real medical concern for your dog you should, without hesitation, seek veterinary advice.

However, I would urge you to think about your dogs anatomy and consider these common thought patterns:-

Can my dog – who suffers from an orthopaedic condition,  such as hip dysplasia which causes atrophy of some of the key muscles of the hindquarters, results in protective muscle splinting of the locally affected joint/s and subsequent over compensation at the front end, hold his or her head easily above water when his or neck and shoulders are jammed?

How long will my dogs chiropractic treatment truly last if the muscles are tight and sore around the vertebral joints for example, and could they pull so tightly around these joints that it causes a recurrence of the skeletal issue and fast?  Or will releasing those muscles help to promote a longer term chiropractic result?

Before becoming a Canine Massage Practitioner I had taken part in high impact, full contact sporting activities and knowing what I know about muscular injury and its effects on my body and my mobility I chose to seek out to a sports or deep tissue massage therapist to take care of and provide me after care advice for my muscles.  With this experience behind me, when my dog presented with lameness it made absolute sense to me to contact a muscular specialist, a Canine Massage Practitioner to rule out muscular issue first.  Of course, now having trained with the Canine Massage Therapy Centre, I can check my dogs over myself.

Lameness may not be the only clue to a muscular issue:

Your dog may seem depressed or withdrawn, intolerant of other dogs, shy away from human touch, display uncharacteristic aggressionreluctant to play, hesitant to jump or climb stairs.  they may sit down more often on a walk.  They may begin to lie down to eat or drink from their bowl or you may see changes in their coat or witness their skin twitch.  

Oh and that tickly spot, leg scratchy thing they do when you rub their side?  Myofascial restriction!

My clients are wonderful and varied.  I adore each and every one and offer them the same kindness, empathy and respect that I would my own dogs.

I treat show dogs to improve gait and posture in the ring, sporting dogs to improve or enhance performance, elderly, arthritic dogs or those with chronic orthopaedic  conditions who need help with pain management or dogs with neurological conditions who have issues with loss of proprioception (lack of awareness of where their limbs are in space resulting in ataxia).

I specialise in Lymphatic Drainage.  This means that with vet consent 48 – 72 post surgery I can help to unblock lymphatic pathways to allow for the release of the build up of toxins and lymph, reducing  lymphoedema (swelling) thus helping to speed up recovery.

Many of my clients did not know what the issue was and so the ‘Reason for Massage’ was ‘unresolved/undiagnosed lameness.’

Let me share with you some feedback from a client of mine, a fabulous Canine Behaviourist.

Her dog was intermittently lame following walks.

When rested she seemed fine then periodically and quite unexplained, she’d be lame again.

This feedback was received long after her treatment which consisted of just 2 sessions, where I targeted some minor muscular issues and significant overcompensation.

‘Very pleased with the Clinical Canine Massage Services Angela provides through ‘Born To Run Massage’. Friendly and Professional Angela was very calm and in control even though my dog wasn’t the most compliant of patients! I loved Angela’s kind confidence in handling my over-the-top crazy dog! From a massage perspective and seeing results……………


WOW 2 sessions and my dog is so much more mobile and fluent in her movement! I finally feel confident in letting my dog off lead again for a run around without the worry that she may be too stiff or lame afterwards. Thank you Angela.’




Why wonder if your dog has a muscular issue?  I’m here to help!

Call me:  07730 133134

E-mail:   enquiries@borntorunmassage.com 


You can also message me via my website contact page or on Facebook or Twitter

Angela Day   – Born To Run Canine Massage  ‘The Freedom of Movement’

A member of the Canine Massage Guild and Pet Welfare Alliance





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