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Orthopaedic Conditions

Orthopaedic conditions affect the dog's bones, joints and muscles. Orthopaedic complaints in dogs are sadly quite common. The most common of these are osteoarthritis, luxating patella, dysplasia in the hips and elbows, cruciate ligament damage and spondylosis.


This is a progressively worsening inflammation of the joints, caused by the deterioration of cartilage. It causes the joint to become thicker, sorer and stiffer. As the cartilage starts to wear, the bones end up rubbing on bones as there is no soft cushioning between them. It is normally a condition seen in older dogs due to general wear and tear on the joint, however, younger dogs can also be affected. 

Massage can help relieve stiffness, swelling and muscle spasms and decrease pain and discomfort. Massage can also increase mobility, relieve areas of overcompensation and give your dog a sense of overall relaxation. 

Luxating Patella

Luxating means dislocating. A luxating patella occurs when the patella dislocates from its normal position. The condition is graded from 1-to 4 depending on the severity. The main cause is genetics which is commonly found in smaller breeds. 

Massage can help improve comfort and reduce pain and stiffness. It can also improve mobility, encourage even weight-bearing and give your dog a sense of overall relaxation. 

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia

Dysplasia is an abnormality in development. 

Hip dysplasia occurs when there is a malformation of the joint. The ball and socket don't fit together properly. This causes the bones to painfully rub together and the hip becomes unstable. The main cause is due to genetics with larger breeds being more prone, such as german shepherds. There are also other causes such as obesity, improper nutrition, over-exercise as a puppy and trauma to the hip. 

Massage can help decrease pain, soreness, stiffness and tension, and improve mobility. It also helps relieve areas of overcompensation and improves the quality of life. 

Elbow dysplasia occurs when the humerus, radius and ulna don't fit together correctly and develop abnormalities. Like hip dysplasia, the main cause of elbow dysplasia is also genetics, occurring mostly in larger breeds. However, repetitive exercise as a puppy, jumping too early causes stress to immature bones, obesity, injury, rapid growth and poor nutrition. 

Massage benefits pain management, addressing areas of overcompensation, and improving mobility and flexibility. It also helps to reduce inflammation of the joint relieving stiffness and pain. 

Cruciate Ligament Damage

The cruciate ligament is a band of connective tissue that joins the femur and tibia in a cross formation to make the knee joint. If the ligament is damaged it will cause weakness and instability to the joint, causing the femur to slip forward. Ligament damage is graded from 1-to 4 depending on the severity. It is usually a wear and tear issue, where the ligament degenerates over time. However, it can also occur from trauma. 

Massage can help alleviate swelling and discomfort, reducing stiffness and soreness in the muscles around the knee joint. Massage also helps prevent muscle wastage, strengthens the leg and encourages even weight-bearing, improving the dog's quality of life. 



Spondylosis is a degenerative, not inflammatory condition of the spine. It is characterised by the formation of bony spurs that are projected growths of bone. It most commonly occurs behind the chest and lower back. Older, large breed dogs are at the highest risk of developing this condition. The bony spurs form to actually try and stabilise instability but they cause pain and discomfort. 

Canine massage can provide a natural form of pain relief, reduce areas of overcompensation and relieve stiffness. As well as aiding mobility, restoring spine strength and increasing the development of soft tissue in wasted muscles. 

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