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All About Animal Massage


All About Animal Massage

For massage professionals curious about or currently involved with massage and bodywork for animals. A chance to network, share, learn, and work together to promote public awareness of the benefits bodywork can offer the animals they love.

Location: worldwide
Members: 135
Latest Activity: Aug 18, 2015

Discussion Forum

Healing Touch and animals

Started by Sue Heldenbrand Jun 19, 2011.

Contraindication for Animal Massage 3 Replies

Started by Nickie Scott. Last reply by Megan Ayrault Nov 23, 2010.

Comment Wall


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Comment by Patti Wisialko on October 20, 2011 at 11:19am
I completed Equine Massage training in 2009. If there are other therapists in the Massachusetts area I'd love to hear how your practice is doing.
Comment by Daniel Stroup on April 13, 2011 at 8:14am

I've got an interesting problem with one of my client horses. The horse is under regular veterinary care.

  The owner tells me her horse has string halt. While he does have the classic sign of the sudden lift of the left hindleg while walking it is not at every step, and that it usually involved a lifting and stretching of the left front as well.  Also when working his hind end I found very little tension and only a little sensitivity in the hamstrings.  While massaging this horse, he has a lot of shoulder and neck tension, with only a minor sensitivity in his back.. What I found most curious was while working his subclavius muscle, he would lift his head, stretch that left fore and then attempt to lift that left hind at sthe same time. Of course he started to lose his balance, but would catch himself before that could happen.

 My training and research indicates stringhalt is a neuromuscular issue resulting either from a recent injury or ingesting a weed , primarily false dandelion, but does not affect  the front legs.  

   any comments and/or recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

 For general info: This horse is primarily used for hunter jumper classes, is ridden roughly 5 days per week and otherwise seems in pretty good health. Watching his gaits he does tend to drag both hind toes at a trot especially. He is base narrow and wears out his shoes laterally. Owner has him on supplements such as selenium, magnesium and Vit.E which are supposed to support his neurologic system 

Comment by Sue Heldenbrand on December 26, 2010 at 7:31pm
I would like to extend an invitation to list in my holistic wellness
directory. The basic listing is free. The premium listing is $20/year
which allows you more exposure, links,  and submission of articles.
Looking forward to networking with you. The link is
I have a separate directory for massage therapists and also for energy workers.
Comment by Diedre Seeley on December 17, 2010 at 9:13am

megan -- send me info at Include your website please.  Thanks.

Comment by Megan Ayrault on December 16, 2010 at 12:01am

Hi Folks,

I'm in the process of launching on-line classes, one on the topic of back pain in horses and the other on helping dogs with hip problems (pain and or weakness).

These are intended primarily for lay folks who love their animals,

but may be of interest to many of you professionals as well.

And maybe there are some of you I could be interviewing as some of my experts! Let me know if there's something specific you'd like to share with my students, and get some good marketing/exposure for yourself at the same time!


The classes will be available in February, and with a "public pre-launch special" during January from my website.

But if you'd like to get the deal I'm offering my e-mail list and newsletter subscribers,

just send me a message with your e-mail, and I'll send you a copy of that newsletter, too.


The dog class is 8 weeks, and the horse class is 16 weeks

of video, audio and text lessons delivered by e-mail, though it's all recorded,

so you can participate at your convenience, and take longer to enjoy it if you like.

They includes:

8 dog /16 horse video and anatomy lessons (1 each week),

plus you'll get to listen to advice from a different expert on the topic each week.

Expert interviews will include the fields of veterinary medicine, chiropractic, acupuncture, physical therapy, conditioning and handling, of course a variety of bodywork techniques (massage, stretching, acupressure, craniosacral therapy, myofascial release) and for dogs also swim therapy, and for horses also farriery, dentistry, riding, and saddle fitting (and pads), all relating specifically to the class topic, prevention, assessment, support and rehabilitation.

There will also be information on pathologies, and techniques for assessing your animal's needs.

Classes will also include Q&A with me by teleclass or e-mail or both.


So if you'd like the info on signing up, just let me know your e-mail address,

and I'll send you the newsletter with the details.


~Megan Ayrault

Comment by Susan Sutcliffe on September 29, 2010 at 7:29pm
Regarding Hip Dysplasia, I appreciated Nickie's comments. In addition I also focus on postural realignment of the pelvis, spine and cranial base and releasing subluxations. Adding that to your treatment focus will extend the benefits of your treatment for the dog AND allow you do much more than symptom control and crisis management. That will wow your patient and their owner!
Comment by Susan Sutcliffe on September 28, 2010 at 1:58pm
In Canada, I frequently see psoas injuries in dogs because of winter. During mild winters when there is a lot of melting and refreezing the snow becomes slippery ice and the number of dogs that injure their psoas goes through the roof. As a Canine Bodyworker of elite canine athletes, I have been blessed to work for years with certain dogs. These long term close relationships helped me to discover that many psoas injuries are more commonly a tendonitis for quadrapeds in comparison to bipedal humans. We have our chronic "groin pulls" and they get psoas tendonitis. Because of the long term relationship with my clients I was able to develop a protocol for complete recovery, several dogs becoming national champs and healthy retired dogs. If the injury is locally treated and the dog is released from care, many dogs are left with a low grade or recurring chronic problem. FYI from the beginning a key focus of the protocol is postural re-alignment which is beneficial no matter how acute the injury is currently. Hope that helps your approach.
Comment by Shelley Sheets on July 7, 2010 at 8:13am
Nice segment. A bit challenging for you but you dealt with all of the distractions really well! I hope the event went well. Thanks for sharing.
Comment by Megan Ayrault on July 6, 2010 at 11:43pm
Had the fun opportunity today to promote animal massage on TV, in the context of massage for adopted and rescued animals. You can watch the segment at this link, and go ahead and scroll ahead to about 1/3 of the way through.
Comment by Beverly Adams on April 13, 2010 at 4:30pm
Hi all - here's the report on the Lab with the iliopsoas injury. This is one interesting, if ill-fated, dog! She is a six-year-old intact female black Lab, fit, trim and otherwise healthy. A year and a half ago, in October of 2008, she was in retriever trials and inhaled a great deal of field-grass seed. Off to WSU, where they said they had never seen such an extreme case - I guess she's been written up in some journals. She ended up losing a lung! She had a long six-month recovery, with very limited activity, at the and of which she ended up out of shape and overweight. In April of last year her owner began working her very slowly, but she injured herself almost immediately, probably on an ice spraddle. Dog came up imtermittently hind-end lame, to the point where she would actually try to walk on her hands. Local vet care was not helping, so the owner went back to WSU. The dog has had a full body MRI and CT scan to rule out spinal issues as well as blood tests to rule out Lyme disease. Initial diagnosis was incipient ACL injury. The owner put the dog on limited activity, and thinking that non-weight-bearing activity would be good, swam her a lot. Which was not good for the iliopsoas. When the dog did not improve, the owner took her back to WSU (October '09), saw a new orthopedist who recognized the problem and confirmed it with "special X-rays" (?) which showed a separation between muscle and tendon. The dog has been on limited but increasing activity since. Her rehab has consisted entirely of underwater treadmill work. On examination, I found the iliopsoas tender but not swollen. Attempted a minor diagnostic by doing a gentle hind-limb extension with abduction. The dog immediately complained; I immediately stopped. Did some light work on the outside of the haunches and on the shoulders, some trigger point work on the affected muscles, and some acupressure. This dog is not ready for connective tissue work yet. The owner is well informed and assertive with her dog's treatment, has been working her dog up slowly with increasing activity - walking, some running, but no jumping or swimming - and I think that in time this dog will be just fine. I hope I get a chance to see her again! Thanks again for your help - Bev

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