Updated: Jan 21
I’m sure you’ll agree, pets really are the backbone of the family or household. They bring such joy and laughter to everyone they meet. The unconditional and underserving love that they give continuously and regardlessly to us always astounds me. The relationship you share with them is entirely unique. Because of this, they deserve the best possible treatment and care. I believe we should do our best to keep their little bodies (or big bodies!) healthy, well-functioning and pain free.
Nico is full of so much fun, always entertaining us and up for cuddles.
They often won't let you know if they're in pain
Moreover, animals are incredibly good at masking pain. In the wild, horses would be prey animals. Therefore, they have learnt to mask any signs of pain, because pain means weakness and sickness to the predator, meaning they may be targeted as the slow one to aim for in the hunt. This means they will often go on in pain for you, the rider, rather than let you know something is wrong. In cases where they finally do let you know they aren’t at their best, the pain and problem can be severe. For example, behavioural cues such as: reluctance to move forward or be tacked up, bucking, rearing or avoiding jumps.
Contrastingly in dogs, their eagerness to please and excitable behaviour means they will often keep going even when they are in a lot of pain. Think of the old stoic lab or excitable spaniel which will never stop fetching for you.
It is so important to catch these subtle pains and lameness because there is a perpetuating cycle, as shown below, which, without treatment, will continue to get worse:
However, it isn’t easy to spot the early signs of subtle lameness and pain. As a vet physio, I specialise in musculoskeletal pathology and problems, I have been trained to spot these elusive presenting signs, which may otherwise go unnoticed, meaning we can get your pet referred to a vet as soon as possible for early diagnosis. A vet physio is also incredibly useful after and before surgery to prevent muscle wastage from disuse, weight management, enhancing performance or restoring function.
If you would like to find out more or have any queries on whether your animal may benefit from veterinary physiotherapy, please do not hesitate to contact me.