McTimoney Therapy for Dogs

assessing a dog's spine

The spine of the dog is constantly being subjected to bending and rotational forces.  When a part of the spine loses its proper motion, other parts of the back must flex more or flex less to compensate. When the belly muscles become weak or stretched due to lack of exercise or too much fat in the abdomen, the elastic support system for the back is lost and the spine must compensate. Trauma, over-exertion and just normal wear and tear of living can cause injuries and stress to the muscles and joints of the body. Fixations or lack of motion in the joints can be the result. This stress can result in joints that lose their ability to move properly, resulting in a fixed area with reduced motion. These fixed joints of the body are termed misalignments. An adjustment restores the misalignment, or fixed area, and maintains motion to the joint.

Some painful conditions respond well to therapeutic care. Pain can be obvious or subtle. Some examples of this include changes in behaviour such as biting or sensitivity to touch, discomfort putting on/removing a collar or harness, abnormal posture, crying out when getting up, difficulty climbing stairs or jumping into cars, reluctance to exercise, showing discomfort when stroked along their backs or refusing jumps.

Fixations my also result in biomechanical compensations such as reluctance to hold a gait, stiffness after rest, shortened stride or muscle atrophy. Treatment will reduce fixations that develop as compensations for problems such as hip dysplasia, ruptured disks or cruciate tears and help the dog move more freely and with less pain.

Working Dogs (Agility, Obedience, Hunting, Herding, Racing etc)

dog jumpingAthletic dogs such as racing sled dogs, hunting dogs, obedience dogs, agility dogs, herding dogs and others often develop fixations as a result of trips, slips or falls during their athletic events. Most dogs naturally enjoy agility, and when they feel restricted or unwell, they may not perform at their best.

Prompt assessment of an injury following a tumble can save a great deal of pain for both the dog and its owner, and regular check-ups for recent or longstanding problems can avoid lameness, arthritis and back problems. 

Every time a dog jumps a hurdle, its front limbs are forced to absorb the shock of landing on a hard surface. This places stress on the shoulder region with concurrent compression to the spine.

working dog

Dogs that hold jobs such as in search and rescue, police K-9 units and guide dog foundations have an active schedule and can quickly develop muscle strain and misalignments.

A show dog can go through obvious stresses during performance and competition; therapy will help a dog compete at his or her best, helping to provide for a flowing range of motion around the show ring and working to alleviate any painful muscle restrictions that could cause limping, shortened strides or even irritability.

Old or Overweight

Dogs that are old, overweight, confined or lack exercise can develop fixations due to decreased flexibility and stiff joints. Therapy will help relieve pain and reduce swelling from conditions such as arthritis, which commonly affect older dogs, increasing mobility, circulation, muscle tone and flexibility in dogs with a limited or reduced activity level.

Susceptible Breeds

susceptible breed

Breeds most susceptible to back problems are the long, low dogs like dachshunds or the larger breeds like Great Danes, Dobermans and German shepherds. In addition, dogs that are overweight may be more likely to have back problems than their leaner counterparts.


Hip Dysplasia

Therapy will ease tension and pain throughout the body in both the affected areas and the opposing strong limbs which bear the weight of compensation.