In this day and age, I'm privileged and excited to say that half of my veterinary practice is based on canine sports medicine. Kimi, at age 9, is still a hard-core athlete whose personal motto seems to be "go hard or go home." She is a force to be reckoned with and never goes easy on herself. I have been VERY pleased with the effectiveness of the Assisi Loop® in helping to control the inflammation Kimi incurs from actively competing in Competitive Canine Agility. The Assisi Loop Treatment Plan we utilize for Kimi's shoulders, wrist and low back allows for maximum performance, improved athletic performance recovery times (without having to use traditional medications such as NSAIDS) and improving healing in times of injury. The Assisi Loop is the perfect tool, for owners to use easily, that should be in every canine athlete's first aid kit. It can be used to minimize inflammation in chronic problem areas and used safely in the face of acute injury until the dog can be seen by its veterinarian. Most importantly, it allows a dog like Kimi to continue to compete in a sport that she loves immensely!
Michelle Herlihy, DVM, AVCA certified, Owner, PAWSitively Balanced, Ltd. In Downers Grove, IL
Assisi: Tell me about Kimi.
Kevin: Kimi is 9 years old now and she's been competing in AKC agility since she was about a year and a half old. She's a field Golden, not a competition Golden, so she's smaller, and got right down to it when she was about six weeks old. She competes almost every weekend in agility. Up in our neck of the woods we have some really good turfs, we have some really good mats, but we also have some turfs that aren't very good. One day during competition, she slipped on the turf. When she came up, she didn't want to put any weight on her right foot or shoulder. She wouldn't even put her foot down. I took her to the vet and he said that the injury was muscular. There was nothing structurally wrong with the area, she just really strained her shoulder. And he said “What you need to do is work on relaxing her muscles, and work the back.” He suggested we get into a massage program for Kimi, and being in the canine agility world, there's a lot of massage people around all the time. We were very fortunate to find one that came to the trials all the time, and she was a canine acupressurist. She was massaging Kimi, and she said, "you know, I've run across this Assisi Loop, and this would be most beneficial for Kimi from this standpoint. It helps with the blood flow; it targets the area” and she used it on her. Kimi responded really well to it, so she let me borrow the Loop. We saw the growth on it, so I went back to my vet and asked him to give us a prescription for Kimi. He said yes, even though he didn't really understand the technology. I had to have Assisi send me some information and I brought the information to him. I lobbied for it because in our area, not a lot of people were using the Loop, or even knew about it. I convinced him that we should get one, he gave Kimi a prescription, and we've been following the recommendations from the acupressurist.
We have a regular massage person now, who is really effective in managing Kimi’s wellness program. She helps us figure out what areas we need to work on, to be proactive to help her with her inflammation. She's a bit overweight and sometimes when she jumps too hard with her front legs, she forces up and she lands a little too hard. Then she gets her shoulders, and she gets her wrist. So, we use the Loop to treat her shoulders and her wrists, and her lower back when she has problems.
When you say that she reacted very well to the first treatment with the Loop, what did you see? How would you gauge that?
By just how quick she came back from the injury. She didn't want to put any pressure on it at all. We put the Loop on her, and I don't know if the blood flow helped or if the pain went away, or what happened but all of a sudden, she was able to get up and start putting weight on the leg. It was just spectacular how it helped her.
That's great! And that was after one treatment? The very first treatment?
Right, and that's when the acupressurist let me borrow the Loop so we could continue to use it until we could convince our vet to get us a prescription to get one.
And other than being able to put weight on it immediately after, how did she react during the first couple of treatments? Did she seem to notice anything, or did she relax noticeably?
You can actually see her close her eyes. You know what I'm saying? It's just like, 'aah,' relief.
So I can tell it works. Just for what it's worth, we used a red light laser on my other dog, Jazzy. When I brought the red light laser out, Kimi would run away from it. But when I bring the Loop out, Kimi comes right over. Right now we’re treating her shoulders and her neck. I put the Loop over her head most of the time. She will actually walk in and put her head right in the Loop. That tells me that she's getting the benefit from it.
Absolutely! She's certainly making a connection between the Loop and feeling good. Once you incorporated the Loop into her treatment for the first injury, what did you notice about her recovery in terms of speed of recovery and perceived pain?
I think it really sped up her recovery. I was afraid to even jump her for a while. When we started using the Loop on her, we were able to get her back to where she had her normal extension and range of motion in her shoulder and her leg, which let us get back to enjoying the sport that we do - agility.
Do you feel after that injury she had a full recovery? Back to 100%?
Absolutely. She’s back to 100%. Now we've been using the Loop to try to be more proactive. Any time we see inflammation in her, we use the Loop to help her.
When you do that, do you typically start with the loading dose protocol that we would recommend for injuries or do you just treat once a day? What is your typical protocol for that?
I treat once a day.
Do you feel that it has helped keep Kimi from reinjuring herself?
Oh yes. I'm into agility, so I don't want to hurt her. My biggest fear is that I'm going to cause permanent damage to her. I don't want her competing injured, so if I think that she's hurt, I won't run her. But I haven’t had that situation for a while because I get rid of the inflammation, I get rid of the soreness and the pain and work it out so she can go out. She can enjoy the activity she does. If you ever saw her run, you would swear she smiles the whole time she runs. She's not one of these crazy border collies that is just neurotic out there. She goes out and she really enjoys her job of agility.
I understand that you work with a whole integrative team of professionals - the massage therapist, the acupressurist and the veterinarian - to help keep Kimi in good health. What has their feedback been regarding the Loop?
Oh, they love the Loop. As a matter of fact, our chiropractor, Dr. Michelle Herlihy is now an Assisi Loop customer. When we first got the Loop, Dr. Herlihy hadn't heard of it. We kept telling her "Well, we're using this Loop, and were doing this…" and this other massage person there, we kept saying “Well, we’re using the Loop” and guess what? They've gone out, they've worked with you guys, and are now prescribing the Loop. Dr. Herlihy is a wonderful chiropractor. She watches Kimi and tells me where my problems are with her, where I need to be watching, where I need to be treating. She also recommends when I need to have Kimi’s chiropractic adjustments, the whole nine yards. That is so much better than me just guessing as to how she's doing. They're teaching me what to feel for, too. They’re the ones helping me make sure I keep Kimi in shape.
What would you say are the biggest advantages of having a Loop for a competitive agility dog?
I think it takes away the pain and the inflammation right away. That is my experience with it.
I know you recently received a Loop-Aid Torso Wrap ®. What were your first thoughts when you pulled it out of the package?
I was glad to see it, and it fits so nice and tight. It was like a warm hug for her. It is such a wonderful product! When I put the wrap on Kimi, it was just like putting on a Thunder Shirt, which helped calm her down. It was really a nice feeling for the dogs.
What do you think are the biggest benefits of having the wrap?
I can use the Velcro straps, I can place the Loop any place I want on Kimi, and it stays. I don't have to worry about me moving or Kimi moving. I don't have to fidget and hold it in a certain area. It will stay exactly where it is. So, if Kimi gets up and moves, it goes with her now.
What would your message be to other agility handlers regarding the Loop?
If they have injuries like Kimi’s, talk to their vet about it, and see if the Loop is right for them. I think they'll find out it's a wonderful tool to control the inflammation and pain in their agility dogs.
I'm so glad to hear that Kimi loves what she does, and that we play a part in keeping her healthy to do it.
You guys do, and I love it.
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