Canine Myofascial Therapy: Katie Hunt is the name behind the new pet service called Canine Myofascial Therapy. She tells us all about what she does for pets in pain.
Is your pet in pain? Have they slowed down or can no longer jump onto the couch or into the car? It could be myofascial pain. This is pain in muscles or fascia (a type of connective tissue that surrounds muscles). Myofascial pain can appear in any body part on animals. The pain is steady, aching, and deep, ranging from mild discomfort to excruciating and “lightning-like.” Knots may be visible or felt beneath the skin, and the pain does not resolve on its own.
Massage therapy using trigger-point release techniques can be very effective in pain relief of this condition. Once the trigger points are gone, the animal is then able to move that muscle more freely again. They will regain a range of motion to the limb the muscle was affecting, whilst supporting the long-term health of the local muscle system.
Dry needling for the treatment of myofascial pain is also a useful tool. It is a modern treatment designed to ease muscular pain and its popularity is growing. Dry needling is called this because no liquid is injected into the body. Therapists place a stainless-steel filiform needle into the “trigger points” in muscle or tissue. The needle helps release the knot and relieve any muscle pain or spasms, increasing blood flow to the area and stimulating the body’s natural healing abilities.
Dry needling must not get confused with acupuncture although the same type of needles are used. Acupuncture works on the body’s energy flow and meridian pathways.
Katie is currently in the process of starting up her own hydrotherapy clinic here on the Gold Coast. Hydrotherapy is an underwater treadmill. It helps your pet to regain muscle strength after surgery (and other medical issues including weight loss). The buoyancy of the water helps to take the weight of the joints so the animal can exercise with minimal pain whilst building strength, muscle mass and increase their mobility and agility.
Enter Canine Myofascial Therapy, started up by Katie Hunt. She has quite the qualifications in her arsenal, including a certificate in Animal Dry Needling, through the Australian College of Eastern Medicine. She has Cert 4 in Vet nursing, a Certificate in Canine Hydrotherapy, Cert 111 Animal Care and Husbandry, Cert 111 Captive Animals (zookeeping certificate).
Says Katie, “I have been in the animal industry for 20 years. I started out working in pet shops and volunteering at Zoos and wildlife sanctuaries, trying to gain as much experience as possible with every and any animal. But I don’t have a favourite I love them all. I started vet nursing in 2005 and then became a zookeeper not long after, specialising in reptile and avian care. In 2013 I wanted more out of my job and to be able to care for my animals in a more in-depth way. I decided to go back and study vet nursing but specialise more in the care of wildlife. So, I did a 12-month placement at Currumbin Wildlife Hospital. I have been a general practice vet nurse for the past 7 years and was previously a vet nurse for AWLQ at Coombabah and Daisy Hill.”
Canine Myofascial Therapy: Dry Needling Benefits
Since discovering the benefits of dry needling to relieve pain on pets, Katie has been offering dry needling treatments since the beginning of this year. “I currently dry needle at the Aussie Pet Collective in Slacks Creek and a few other locations along the Gold Coast and Tweed area.”
Katie is passionate about making animals better. “It all started in 2005, I got a kelpie Dalmatian cross puppy and named her Indiana, at only four month of age she was hit by a car and needed her back leg amputated. Because of her 3 legs we did lots of swimming to keep her muscles nice and strong, and this helped to take the weight off her remaining legs. I was very aware of how this could affect her later in life.
“In 2017 she was diagnosed with malignant melanoma and given 6 months to live, so we got a little brother for her and me – Paddy the Frenchie. Indiana went on to live another 3 years! Unfortunately, I had to make the devastating decision to put her to sleep, a month before her 15th birthday. She is my reason for studying hydrotherapy and dry needling. She was my soul dog. I want to help all the 3-legged and 4-legged puppies! I just want all animals to be able to live and experience a pain-free life.”
Katie has experience with all sorts of animals from geckos, crocodiles and snakes, cats and dogs, to goats, chickens, horses and cows. If your pet suffers from any of the above conditions, you can contact Katie.
Canine Myofascial Therapy:
THE MOST COMMON SIGNS OF PAIN IN YOUR PET
-Decreased activity – take notice if your pet is not playing as much as usual
-Not going up or down stairs – could be an early sign of osteoarthritis
-Reluctance to jump up onto surfaces – this especially applies to cats
-Difficulty standing after lying down, is a sign of osteoarthritis
-Decreased appetite – this can be a sign of mouth pain
-Over-grooming or licking a particular area – can be a sign of referred pain
0433 653 383
Editor for Silver Magazine Gold Coast