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DogPT Talk: Common Conditions Affecting the Canine Athlete

dog pt talk May 24, 2023

Transcription of the Video

Rex Anderson: So, Ria what are some of those conditions? I mean, we've got dogs that are real athletes out there. What are some of the conditions that kind of affect them and draw them off of their game?
Ria Acciani: Well, what we see mostly is sprains, strains, and bruising and muscle injuries, which is the sprain and the strains and some of the common muscles that get affected by those.
Ria Acciani: Sporting activities are the biceps. The subscapularis. The superspinatus, but biceps is probably one of the top ones. And then we also have some medial shoulder instability issues. We see a lot of how would show up,
Rex Anderson: how would that show up? Shoulder issue would show what would that, what would that indicate on the dog?
Rex Anderson: How would I see that?
Ria Acciani: So generally there's a little bit of a, initially a lot of people don't notice for a really [00:01:00] long time because they don't have their hands on their dogs. But what they'll notice after over time is that they'll place the leg when they're standing or they're sitting off to the side or forward a little bit, and then when they're walking, you'll see a little bit deviation in the gate of that limb as well.
Ria Acciani: Sometimes you'll, if it gets really bad, you'll see a head bob. Okay. And then other things that you might notice in the rear end too is we have a lot of iliopsoas strains, we have sartorius issues, we have gracilis issues pelvis being out of alignment. And then of course the spine has a lot of issues as well.
Ria Acciani: When you have an issue in one of the limbs, it almost always will. Pretty much a hundred percent of the time it translates to what compensations in the body. So we always have issues that are dealing a little bit more with an area because of the lack of weight that [00:02:00] is on the limb that's injured.
Ria Acciani: Okay? So they transfer their weight to the other limbs, and then those. Have a lot more load on them and then therefore get overworked. So then we see a lot of comp compensatory things happening in the body. So you can't just treat one area even though there are lots of common conditions. But we always pay attention to the whole dog.
Rex Anderson: Awesome. Now, while I've got you, I never really understood the difference between a strain and a sprain. Can you help me with that? You use those terms? Sure.
Ria Acciani: What's the difference? [correction to the audio]  So strain. Strain is a tear to the muscle or tendon.  Then sprain is when you tear the ligament.
Ria Acciani: And then therefore it just keeps ripping because it doesn't heal. So you get tears. There's different levels of tears. Braids one through four and then one [00:03:00] being fairly minor to four being a complete rupture. So that's the difference.
Rex Anderson: Do they show up the same way? I mean the, the, the compensation and the behavior that of the dog.
Rex Anderson: Do the sprains and strains, do they show up the same way? And then how would you discern what, how would you actually discern which one they actually are suffering from?
Ria Acciani: They actually can look very similar. It's very difficult for somebody to delineate that out if they don't have a professional eye. It will still present very similar to the way that you were just talking about, unless you have a contracture of a muscle that might be a little bit more obvious.
Ria Acciani: But that's where our hands come in real good. And our, our knowledge come into play and we can delineate that out with special tests and doing some flexibilities tests and palpation, joint mobility, things like that, which we go through during our whole evaluation. And range of motion. Range of motion is [00:04:00] huge.
Rex Anderson: Mm-hmm. So the range of motion and like watching their gate, is that something I should be doing like once a week just to kind of make sure I'm not seeing anything and just intentionally watching for something? Is there some specific series of things I should be watching for or is it just have to wait until something presents that that ought to raise the concern?
Rex Anderson: What
Ria Acciani: do you Well, that's. An excellent question. Some of the things that we teach when we are going through the evaluation towards the end is we are and we find our deficits or our dysfunctions we put together a home exercise program for the person, which will include everything that they need, but.
Ria Acciani: Range of motion and flexibility is definitely part of their home exercise program. So when you learn what to do for flexibility, meaning stretching and then also range of motion, it's something that you could check maybe two to three times a week when you are doing, [00:05:00] when you have an athletic dog. But if you have a dog that plays in the yard a lot, you know, maybe one to two times a week would be sufficient to check those range of motion and the flexibility and stretch.
Ria Acciani: Cool. Okay. So this way you would keep, you would keep tabs on the dog and then find any deficits early. And then you can also either address it yourself with more range of motion and stretching or talk to your professional who can help you.
Rex Anderson: I love it. Thank you very much. I appreciate that, Rhea. We'll talk to you soon.
Rex Anderson: All right, great. Thanks so much.

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Ria Acciani
Advanced Canine Rehabilitation Center

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