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Patient Spotlight: Treating muscle injury on agility dogs

Oct 08, 2014

01.jpgThere are few things more thrilling than watching a dog fly through an agility course, and the fast-paced sport is exactly how trainer Shannon Malmberg and her dog Mila get their thrills. But when Mila, a 6-year-old German Shepherd, was injured playing Frisbee, Shannon knew she had to get her dog back in excellent shape before competing again. Cue the Assisi Loop™!

Shannon, who lives in Vancouver, BC, is the head trainer and owner of Zen Dog Training, and competes with Mila in competitive obedience, tracking, and agility. Furthermore, Mila (whose full name and title is MOTCh Mila von Grunheide TD RA AADC HIC, thank you very much) is the top German Shepherd in Canada for competitive obedience. With all the high-impact sport work she does, it’s surprising that Mila was injured in June 2014 not in the competition ring, but just while playing.

“It was just out in the park, just throwing her Frisbee,” Shannon says. “Mila went straight up in the air, and landed on her back end in a strange, twisty-turny way. At the time, I didn't think anything of it. She bounced back, got it, came back, and she was fine. But that's the thing with these high-drive dogs - they don't show pain when they're in drive.”

However, later that night, when Shannon asked Mila to hop into the car… She couldn’t do it. Nor could she climb stairs or even jump onto the bed. Shannon knew something was very wrong, and that’s when her friend Carrie Johnston recommended the Loop. Carrie had used it on her own dog, Bella, with great success, and knew a Loop job when she saw one.

Shannon made an appointment to see Dr. David Lane at Points East West Veterinary Services, but since Dr. Lane is in such high demand, she couldn’t get Mila an appointment for a few days. So, for those few days, she did everything she could at home: crate rest, canine massage therapy, arnica, and the Loop four times a day.

02.jpgAmazingly, before they even got in to see Dr. Lane, Mila was almost back to herself – she was able to climb stairs with no trouble. “She was able to improve so fast,” Shannon says, “and I knew it had to be a lot more than rest and arnica. I think the Loop is what got her healing up a lot faster than anything.” Dr. Lane diagnosed a strained quadratus lumborum (QL), did some acupuncture and chiropractic, and sent Mila and Shannon on their way to even greater heights.

And to even greater heights they did indeed go. Shannon didn’t have to wait long until she felt like her dog was healthy enough to compete again. “The first weekend in July, I put her into an agility trial, and she ran four Masters-level runs, back to back. Three weeks earlier she couldn't even jump into the car, and then she was doing four masters-level runs.”

Shannon attributes Mila’s fast recovery to being able to treat her with the Loop immediately. “It was good to know there was something immediate and very easy I could do at home,” she says, “rather than having to wait for a week to see Dr. Lane because he's really booked up. To have something that could start working on that area straight away was really good.”

Now Mila, who will be seven years old in November, is back to her active self. Shannon plans to keep the Loop in regular use, especially when Mila is competing.

“My plan now is I want to start to use the Loop prior to each agility competition, and if I have time, in the middle of each run if I can. It's something that I want to take with me to the actual trial. She's jumping 26 inches, and that's hard work!” Shannon believes that all agility dogs can benefit from the anti-inflammatory treatment of the Loop; “If you're at an agility trial all day, you're there at 8 am, and you leave at 4, and your dog might do four to six runs, and each run is 40 seconds to a minute. So there's tons of down time. And if you could, partway through the day, do the Loop on your dog's back to just keep everything loose and comfortable and not inflamed, that's really good.”

03.jpgThe future looks bright for Shannon and Mila. As one of the few German Shepherds competing in Agility (as larger dogs with longer backs, they often have trouble keeping up with some of the more fleet-footed Border Collies and Shetland Sheepdogs – but Mila is an exception), she stands out from the pack both with her sleek good looks and her competitive drive.

“She's six, she's going to be seven this fall [2014]. I want to be training her and trialing with her for the next three or four years,” Shannon says. “I don't see why I shouldn't be able to keep her running agility and doing competitive obedience when she's 11 years old. My big challenge is going to be keeping her strong and injury-free. I have lots of exercises I'm going to start doing to strengthen her core, and I have to look at ways to help her recoop after a trial, and the Assisi Loop is going to be a big part of that.”

To learn more about how your pet could benefit from the Assisi Loop and tPEMF™ therapy, visit Assisi Animal Health, call our office at 866-830-7342, or email info@assisianimalhealth.com.



Sida Li

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