Routine Examination of the Dog
Routine Examination of the Dog
Routine Examination of the Dog.
Our dogs are asked to perform feats of maximum power effort without any real preliminary warming up period or prior exertion. Warm-up activities undertaken by the dog prior to competition are essential for;
1) redistributing the blood flow from the skin & abdominal areas to the muscles where there is going to be an enormous increase in oxygen demand during the competition.
2) establishing pathways for the release of energy from the reserves of glycogen & creatine phosphate stored in the muscle fibres. Therefore the body is virtually unprepared for the pressures suddenly placed upon them. Physical injury is therefore possible. I recommend that your dog be warmed up prior to the competition with a brisk walk, jogging & a brief hand massage to the major muscles & back. Early detection of an injury & treatment will aid in preventing major injuries that can be detrimental to the dog. The following examination is to;
1) detect any abnormality in stance,
2) detect any change in conformation or body contour,
3) detect reduction in full range of normal joint movements & or pain,
4) reduce undue muscle & nervous tension prior to competition. The procedure is observation & the technique is manipulation. We shall deal with firstly the observation.
Step One, Stand directly in front of the dog, are the toes of the same shape & size? Note the nails, dew claws, joints, the position of the toes to the floor, are nails split or broken or infected etc. injuries can be sprung toe (ligament sprain) dislocated, swollen or dropped toes (tendon damage).
Is weight even on both fore limbs, & are both wrists matching in shape & size? Are both elbows held in similar position & close to the body? Are the chest muscles of the same shape & size? Do both shoulders have the same shape? Injuries to muscles, bones, & joints of the shoulder may result in swelling, muscle withering, or changes in weight bearing capacity. Note if the head is carried squarely.
Step Two. Stand or sit behind the dog, is weight taken evenly on each hind limb? Limbs with an injury will carry less weight & result in lifting of the hip & thigh or lowering depending on the severity of the injury. Is there any swelling of the tibia (shin bone) where the large vein crosses it? Or at the point where it joins at the head of the tibia? These are common sites for a fracture of the fibula. Is there any difference in size or shape of the muscles at the top of the Achilles tendon? Increased size occurs with tearing of the muscle–tendon junction.
Is there any difference of the muscles of the inside thigh, especially at the lower end of the back muscle? Muscle fibres may tear or the muscle sheath may tear. Are both hips & thighs of the same shape & size?
Step Three. Stand the dog squarely & stand over the dog or close overlooking the shoulders. Looking over the shoulders & down each side compare the muscles of one side to the other looking for swelling or a difference in shape.(monkey muscle, saddle area). Move along the back checking the rib cage for any sign of change in shape or contour as well as along the back for changes. Is the coupling area of same shape & size? ( Lumbar area, last rib to hip). If you are now satisfied with what you have done & feel everything is ok great, but if you feel that you need to look more closely start at step one again but this time sit or squat down & observe the metacarpals, wrists & feet for swelling or puffiness & go through all the steps again & this time check further by looking at the hocks & the metatarsals for swelling or soreness.
All of the injuries can be treated, but the first step is remove the swelling so that treatment can follow quickly & usually that is by applying an ice pack to the area or submersing in an ice bucket ( feet & lower limbs ).
The other observation undertaken is of the gait or limb movements when walking on various surfaces as some surfaces help mask an injury. Once again look for any dipping, limping or scuffing of the nails. Check the movement of each limb that its action is smooth & not hindered.
These observations could take around 6 minutes & by checking over your dog for any sign of an injury you can prevent further severe injury or have a minor injury treated thus allowing your dog to perform without any pain or stress. Our dogs love the extra attention & the social aspect is also of great benefit to the dog.
Watch, Look & Compare! Garry.