Sarah Deeming McTimoney Animal Practitioner MSc, BSc (hons), MAA
What is McTimoney Manipulation?
The term McTimoney is derived from its creator, John McTimoney who developed the technique in the 1950s for the treatment of humans and animals.
McTimoney manipulation is a gentle whole body treatment which aims to realign and balance the musculoskeletal system, restoring health, soundness and performance.
McTimoney focuses on treating and eliminating the cause of the pain and imbalance, not just the symptoms. The gentle nature of the McTimoney method is often readily received, accepted and enjoyed by most dogs.
How does McTimoney work?
Skeletal misalignments occur when the vertebrae become fixed out of line with neighbouring vertebrae which can result in discomfort, stiffness and a reduced range of movement of the joints.
The McTimoney treatment consists of gentle accurate adjustments to the misaligned vertebrae or joint. It is safe and effective using speed rather than force to release muscle spasms, creating a temporary reflex release in the surrounding muscles which encourage joints to move back into anatomical alignment. This improves joint range of movement and neurological function, restoring musculoskeletal health and equilibrium to the body.
How could McTimoney benefit my dog?
Even if your dog is not displaying signs or symptoms of back pain, they can still benefit from a McTimoney treatment. Whether an animal is an elite athlete regularly competing or a family pet, the body can benefit from having periodic manipulation on a preventative basis so that incipient problems may be avoided.
McTimoney animal practitioners are often referred to see a dog after an injury.
This can be either a sudden (acute) injury due to a trauma, such as:-
- Road traffic accident
- Falls, knocks’ slips, abrupt stopping or tight turns
- From playing rough with other dogs or toys (tug games)
Or it may be from a more long-term (chronic) condition:-
- Conformation deficits
- Training regime
- Compensation from other injuries – e.g. a dog with an injury to its leg may walk differently and as a consequence experience back pain from this adapted movement.
- Repetitive or intense training
- Constant pulling on the lead
The dogs good nature and instinctive ‘need to please’ their owner can cause them to work through any pain and never complain. Therefore it is important to be aware of signs of back pain. Here are a few common signs and symptoms that your dog could be experiencing back pain and discomfort:
- Un-level paces and change in gait
- Resistance and reluctance to go on walks and play
- Decline in performance
- Stiffness after periods of rest
- Sensitive and sore to touch
- Uneven claw wear and toe dragging
- Muscle atrophy or asymmetrical muscle tone
- Uncharacteristically showing signs of aggression
The McTimoney treatment
Under the 1966 Veterinary Act it states that vets are the primary care givers to animal’s therefore veterinary consent will be required before treatment of your dog can take place.
History – Firstly a detailed history of your dog will be taken, ascertaining any previous conditions or injuries which may have relevance to his/hers current health complaint.
Physical examination – Assessing for musculoskeletal asymmetry or muscle atrophy, feeling all over for areas of tension, heat or swelling which could be indicative of injury.
Gait Assessment – Your dog will be assessed in walk and trot. Assessing for lameness and deviations in movement which could indicate underlying problems or compensatory changes to the movement.
Palpation and Adjustment – An assessment and palpation of your dog’s musculoskeletal system will then be carried out, focusing on the spine, pelvis and other relevant joints. Feeling for skeletal misalignments, muscle spasms and asymmetry. Misalignments will be treated using a series of light, quick adjustments (using only my hands) which release muscle spasm allowing the joint to return to its optimal range of movement.
Massage – The McTimoney treatment is followed by soft tissue massage which compliments the treatment by releasing muscle spasms and tension which can be associated with skeletal misalignments. The use of massage also increases joint range of movement, improves circulation, releases toxin build-up and enhances performance and gait quality.
Aftercare– Healing is a process and can continue for a few days post treatment therefore detailed aftercare advice, tailored specifically for your dog will be given to help encourage the healing process and optimise the effectiveness of the treatment.