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Galen’s unique approach

As Galen Myotherapists there are several key areas in which we differ from other therapists; however, one of the main ways is the visual assessments we make and our use of the Galen Comfort Scale, which builds up a detailed picture of the dogs we are treating.


These key areas give us an invaluable insight into the muscular heath and balance of the dog.


By assessing these factors we can ensure that we deliver the most targeted * and beneficial treatment for each individual dog, whether we treat them in person or through our Distance Support Programme.


*Targeted - understanding how the posture has evolved and therefore being able to treat the dog appropriately for the condition, by physically ‘unwinding’ them and avoiding painful areas that are often ineffectual regions to treat. 


A Distance Support dog, demonstrating the remarkable differences the guardian produced using the supported programme containing, in part visual observations and assessment from Galen Myotherapy. 


So what factors do we assess and why?


The first assessment we make is of the dog's overall Posture. 


For example, is their head and tail carriage a normal height for them? A lower head carriage can be an indication of so many issues, for example, it could be that they have a neck problem, or it might be part of a more complex compensatory pattern. 


Perhaps, it might be due to something more specific, such as an accident. For example, unbeknown to their guardian, they could have run into another dog, or landed awkwardly when running and maybe “face planted”, leading to an impact injury to their face and neck. 



Next is the tail carriage, an example of a compromised tail carriage is of a dog who has stopped wagging their tail as much as they used to. Or perhaps they hold their tail a little lower now, all these are all subtle indicators of possible muscular and postural imbalances.







Similarly we look at a dog’s paw positions to see if the paws are turned outwards or inwards, perhaps even one paw is oriented differently compared to the other? Or looking at which feet and toes are loading more than the others? This can also show us how the dog is loading their weight and whether they are distributing their weight evenly from one side of their body to the other.




This dog's front left is overloaded, demonstrated by the hyperextension through their wrist; this could be originating from a compensating pattern arising from their pelvic region.









This dogs front feet are rotated laterally (turned out) which could indicate many different types of compensatory patterns.









There are several other body areas we look at too, such as their top line, dorsal (topline) and ventral (bottom line) view, as well as their leg position and walking gait etc. This ensures we can carefully consider the overall loading, balance, movement and symmetry of the dog.


As part of our assessment we always ask about your dog’s behaviour as this gives us an insight into whether they have developed any new habits. For example, licking or chewing at paws, showing reluctance to go on a walk, or perhaps they no longer initiate play with toys or other dogs.



A classic case of a dog chewing and licking their paws, this can often happen after they have been on a walk, giving the guardians the idea that they are clearing their feet. 


Galen Comfort Scale

Our Galen Comfort Scale gives our dog’s guardians an opportunity to reflect on these and other of their dogs actions. It empowers and enables them to consider whether any of their dogs' habits have changed over a period of time.


There is now a well known correlation between pain and behaviour, which is something which has been championed and spearheaded by Galen Myotherapists. 


We routinely explore all aspects of the dog’s lives to ensure we are able to meet the needs of the dogs we treat, whether in person or remotely, through our Distance Support Programme.


As such we always discuss a dog’s environment and daily activities with their guardian, so these can be managed, to ensure that our treatments provide optimum results.


For example, as well as being highly destructive to a dog’s muscular health, a slippery floor may also cause a dog to be ‘put off’ going outside for a wee or poo. It may be uncomfortable for them to walk across the floor, as they are unable to gain traction on the slippery surface.


For further reading on the impact of slippery floors and ball throwing, which can seriously compound a dog's muscular issues (see our Drug Addict and The Canine Ice Rink blogs). 


You may well be thinking that this is all really interesting, but how can I assess my own dog?


One great way of assessing any changes in your own dog is to compare a photograph of them from a few years ago to how they look today. 


When you look at the older photograph, are there any postural changes you can see in your dog compared to now? 

  • Do they hold their tail in the same position?

  • Is their head height similar or is it lower or higher?

  • Does their top line have a dip in it, whereas before it was flat?

  • When they have a poo, can they stay in one position, or do they walk around when they are trying to squat?


Let’s also consider their behaviour:


  • Has their personality changed? 

  • Have they stopped playing with their toys or other dogs?

  • Are they a bit grumpier than they used to be?

  • Do they eat more quickly or more slowly? 


For example, sometimes dogs eat quicker, so they can get away from the slippery floor they are standing on, as their legs keep sliding outwards when they eat. 


As a caring guardian we might decide to give them a special bowl to slow down their eating, because we are worried about the speed of them gulping their food and the possible consequences of this. However, this action could further impact on the dog's overall comfort by extending the length of time they hold that static, standing position and this could also be related to integrating a static enrichment device, such as a snuffle or licky mat.  

 

This blog outlines just a few signs of insidious and often deceptive changes, which could indicate that your dog is uncomfortable and maybe harbouring muscle pain or discomfort, which may not be overtly apparent.


These physical and behavioural issues can be addressed, either through treatment with a registered Galen Myotherapist face to face or through our Distance Support Programme and with some simple changes to your home environment, which we can help and advise you with.






 

Our Galen Myotherapy Diploma can now be also completed fully online, read our fully updated prospectus for more information


If you feel inspired to make changes to your own dog and the lives of others, why not consider training to become a Galen Myotherapist ?





 


If you’re looking for more advice or have concerns about your dog’s health, please get in touch with us. We would love to chat with you about how we can help your dog.




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