We found Maddy Casey via the PPG Twitter account and we just had to ask if she would like to write a Guest Blog for us. It is something we would like to learn more about but also a therapy that could potentially benefit so many dogs and we are delighted to be able to have Maddy with us providing such an interesting case study (and some seriously lovely pictures!). www.barksandbunnies.co.uk.
Here is Maddy’s story;
Maddy Casey – Gryff
When I was invited to do a guest blog my first thought was how best to sum up Canine Bowen Therapy, so I thought I’d tell you about one of my longer-term clients: a collie x retriever called Gryff.
Gryff came to me in April 2010 as a last resort. I expect that is a familiar story to a lot of complementary therapists – we often see our clients when they have exhausted all other avenues of health care. This was certainly the case with Gryff – at 10 years old he’d had a zero prognosis following a battery of tests and examinations as vets tried, in vain, to find out why he had suddenly and dramatically lost the use of his back legs. Blood tests, MRI scans, manipulations and x-rays; indeed, his vets had said that the last remaining test to do was a post mortem.
His owners had wisely sought advice from holistic vet Nick Thompson. After trying various natural treatment options Nick was helping Gryff to be at his best with a good natural diet, but his back legs were weakening dramatically so Nick suggested giving Canine Bowen Therapy a try, and so it was that Gryff first came to me.
Canine Bowen Therapy is a gentle hands-on treatment for dogs, in which the therapist makes light finger or thumb movements at particular locations with the aim of releasing the soft tissues (like muscles, tendons and fascia) and promoting the best possible movement and health of the body. The key elements are that it is gentle, there are no manipulations, the body is given time to respond to the moves with breaks throughout the treatment and, in the case of dogs, treatment is never forced on them.
My first encounter with Gryff was memorable. Along came this gentle, sweet-natured dog who was obviously a little uncertain. After so many invasive tests and procedures Gryff was naturally wary of what was to come. This is something I am very used to in my work and, as always, I took a great deal of time just letting Gryff feel at home in my treatment room before I gently made contact with him. As he relaxed, I was able to make slow and careful observations about his body. The most notable thing was the sudden drop in his body’s surface temperature around his pelvis and hind-legs. In fact, it wasn’t like touching a living dog at all, which is why it stuck so firmly in my mind; his hind-legs felt dead. Along with this his head was very hot to touch, and Gryff was very reluctant to have any contact around his jaw area. This presented me with the picture of a dog who was very out of balance and I very much hoped that I could help him.
Treatment progressed well and each time Gryff saw me he was happier, allowing me to do more each time. He was very content with treatment over his back and legs, but showed significant sensitivity to even very light touch around his jaw area. In his third session he allowed me to do a gentle jaw release and almost immediately we had heat changes in his back legs. This was the beginning of a remarkable improvement in his movement. In fact, he started walking more normally from that session onwards. His hind legs felt warm, alive and developed more tone over the next weeks; they never returned to that dead feeling. It may come as a surprise to some that releasing the jaw could positively influence the hindquarters. However, bodyworkers often find tension in some parts of the body are mirrored elsewhere. The sacrum (base of the spine) and the joint of the jaw are closely linked in human therapy, so much so that sacrum procedures are often performed for migraine sufferers. My experience shows me that the same could be true for dogs, and certainly seemed the case for Gryff.
I continued to see him very regularly, in combination with him receiving hydrotherapy sessions and ongoing support from Nick Thompson. For the next two and a half years Canine Bowen Therapy kept Gryff on his feet, enjoying his life, going on camping holidays and walking every day with his owners.
There were other benefits to be had from Gryff’s sessions. I got to know his body very well, and was very aware of changes, so when I detected that Gryff had a tense abdomen in one session I suggested that his owners get this checked out. It turned out to be a prostate tumour that was on the point of rupturing and required emergency surgery.
At the end of last year, Gryff suddenly suffered 80% paralysis in his hind-legs. At almost thirteen years old, this was something we had all expected to happen at some point. I still see him for Bowen to support his shoulders and neck area, and his dedicated owners use a sling to support his movement … and he’s just come back from another of his camping trips!
I’m just so glad that Gryff had such a remarkable improvement with his movement and was able to stay active and mobile for far longer than anyone could have predicted. I put that down to the dedication of his people, the support of a great holistic vet and the good work of Bowen.
If you would like to contact Maddy please use the details found on her website http://www.maddycasey.co.uk/