Help Your Dog Heal by Integrating Debono Moves with Veterinary Care #22

#canine #debono moves acl injury aging canine arthritis canine back pain canine injury canine knee injury May 28, 2024

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Want to help your dog reduce the effects of aging, anxiety or arthritis? Or heal fully from an injury or surgery?

Debono Moves, a hands-on approach that uses gentle contact and movements,  can help dogs heal and recover from injuries or surgery.  And even reduce the effects of aging.

In this episode, I describe how Debono Moves helped dogs like Sonny (knee ligament surgery), Nicky (neck injury), Zoey (hip surgery), and Duffy (15 y/o dog with arthritis in back and hips).  And even dogs with DM (degenerative myelopathy).

This gentle hands-on work can improve your dog's body awareness, reduce strain, and boost confidence.

Techniques like rhythm circles, back lifts, and ribcage slides aid in relaxation and association of touch with pleasure.

Debono Moves can be used alongside veterinary care for conditions like arthritis, degenerative myelopathy, and aging-related issues, helping dogs break out of downward spirals, improve mobility, and strengthen the bond between dog and owner.


Show notes for this episode:

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Mentioned in episode:

Nicky - neck injury:

Sonny - knee ligament:

Zoey - hip surgery:

Princess - spinal arthritis:

15 y/o Duffy - arthritic hips:

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All information is for general educational purposes ONLY and doesn't constitute medical or veterinary advice. Please consult a qualified healthcare provider if you or your dog are unwell or injured. 


Whether your dog is facing an injury, they had to have surgery for something, or maybe they had a little ache or pain or strain, or maybe they're dealing with what often a company's aging, like arthritis of the back or hips or something like that. In any of those scenarios, I'm sure you want to do everything you can to help your dog heal.

And today I'd like to talk to you about something you can do along with the veterinary care you're providing that can help your dog live their best, happiest, healthiest life. And in case we're meeting for the first time, my name is Mary Debono and this is the Easier Movement, happier Dogs Podcast. So yeah, I'd like to start out by sharing a few stories of dogs I've worked with over the years that we were able to help them along with their veterinary care,

but to help them have a full recovery. So I'll start with a, with a story about a dog named Sonny. Sonny was a, a lab, a yellow lab who tore his knee ligament. It's often called the ACL in dogs. It's technically the CCL, the cranial cruciate ligament. And he tore that, he ruptured it, and he had surgery to re repair it.

And even though his people took excellent care of him, they did everything that the vet had said to do. Sonny was still favoring that leg and the surgeon could not find a medical reason why that was happening. So they had heard about me. And so I went to work with Sonny and I helped him to regain confidence in his body again, basically help him have greater body awareness,

help him learn that he could depend on that leg again. And this was all done in a very non-evasive way. A way that didn't contradict what he was experiencing, but to do it in a way that really honored his trepidation and helped him just discover almost like on his own how he could use that leg. And I go into detail about this in my book,

grow Young with Your Dog, where I talk about Sonny. As a matter of fact, I think I also did a blog post about it. And so I will link to that in the show notes to give you a fuller picture about Sonny. He was a really fun, exuberant Labrador and it was really important that he had both the veterinary care, right,

the surgery to repair the ligament. But he also needed something else. He needed, in this case, the work that I do and that I teach, which we call Debono Moves. And that helped him, again, restore confidence in his body. So that's one example Of how you can use something in as an adjunct to the care that your veterinarian is providing.

Now, another dog is a dog named Nikki. Now Nikki had a neck injury and obviously his person, Vicky rushed him right to the vet when she realized he hurt his neck. And he was a little fireball. He was this little guy who was part Chihuahua, part rat terrier, part cocker spaniel. And he was a flyball dog. He did all kinds of things.

He loved to race around and he somehow hurt his neck. So obviously that's a veterinary emergency. And his person took him there to the vet. And then along with the care he was getting from the veterinarian, Vicki had me come and work with him because it was really important with the, with the vet's permission I might add, was really important that he recover fully from this and that we would reduce the chance of it ha ever happening again.

And what we find is that when you work with a dog and you help them, and this is true for people and for humans and horses as well, is that when you improve the flexibility, the, the mobility, the awareness of the entire trunk, it can help reduce strain on the neck. So that means that the more flexible the ribs and the sternum are and the the thoracic spine,

like the middle part of the back l the less strain occurs in the neck. So what gave Nikki the best chance of healing? Okay. And again, it helped prevent this could reduce the chance of it happening again. And I might add that Nikki lived to be, he was over 19 when he passed away. He was pro very close to 20.

If he wasn't 20 and he never had another neck issue again. And he still was running around and doing all kinds of things for many, many years. So that was a situation where, you know, again, having the adjunctive work, having the gentle hands-on work helped him have the fuller healing and may have helped reduce the chance of it happening again.

So I do have, this is one of my actually most popular blog posts is the blog post I wrote about Nikki. So I will link to that in the show notes. Okay. And if you have my book, you know about Nikki, and then you also, if you have my book Grow Young with Your Dog, you'll learn about the exact ways I help Nikki.

Okay? You know, 'cause you learn, you learn the techniques and there's videos that go along with it that you get. But one of the things I did with Nikki that you can learn whether or not you have the book is called Rhythm Circles. And I did them in between his ribs and they were really, really helpful for him. And you can get that free training on how to do them by going to mary Debono dot com slash love dog.

It's all one word, all lowercase. And that'll also be in the show notes, that link. So don't worry about writing it down, especially if you're driving. So that was another case. Another one was a dog named Zoe. And I also have a blog post about Zoe, so I'll link to to that as well. And she had, she had hip injury.

She was a little, a little smaller dog. She had a hip injury, she was only three years old and she had to have a, what they call an FHO. So that's where the veterinarian actually cuts the head of the femur off. And the dog creates then like, like what they call a false joint. So like scar tissue and things actually kind of take the place of the regular hip joint.

And many dogs do really well with this, especially small dogs like Zoe. But quite a lot of time had passed and she still wasn't using the leg. Her person who was amazing, she's an amazing physical therapist named Natalie. She had done all the right things, followed all the guidance, took, took her dog to canine rehab, she did a lot of swim therapy,

but on land, Zoe would not use the leg. So again, it was similar in a way to sunny in the fact that she didn't have confidence in that leg on solid ground. So Natalie got my book and just did one of the very simple things that I teach in chapter two about what I call connected breathing. And I often talk about this as being like a,

like a reset button for your, for yourself and your dog. And that's how it worked for Zoe. It was amazing. It's sort of like, it just quieted her nervous system and she got up and from that moment on was using her leg normally. And Natalie even sent me a, a video not long after where Zoe's doing the zoomies, you know,

racing around. And I, I believe I have that linked in the blog post as well. So you can see Zoe. So again, that's a case where yes, the surgeon was absolutely necessary. They, you know, they did a brilliant job. And then it was a matter of, okay, what else can we do to help improve this dog's body awareness to help her feel more confident in body and mind?

And what's so lovely about it is, Natalie, you know, and this is true for anyone doing the Debono Moves, you, you, you get even deeper into your connection with your dog. In other words, you deepen that bond with your dog. And so a combination of all of that just allowed her then to have confidence in how to use that leg.

So it's another story. There was another, I've worked with a number of dogs that had DM degenerative myelopathy, and a lot of different breeds are susceptible to this. They're at risk for it. There's DNA tests you can do to tell if your dog has the, the gene that may have them be susceptible to it. But it's a very, it's a progre generally it's a progressive disease that as far as I know,

there isn't a cure for it. However, it's important to get the dog veterinary care to have supportive care for the dog. And all the dogs I worked with are always under the care of veterinarian. And again, I've worked with a number that had dm and what we found is that by me doing the Debono Moves and also teaching the people how to do the Debono Moves with their own dog,

they could help really calm the dog, have more times of relaxation. My understanding is DM is not painful to the dog, but it could be very disorienting. Sometimes they have what seemed like seizures. Sometimes they, you know, lots of tremors can happen in the body and they lose the ability to use their hind legs and other things get very weak.

So it can be very upsetting to everybody, but the more we can support the dog, what I found is, for example, something I teach called back lifts, which is a very gentle, supportive way of using your hands to help reduce strain in the back that can help these dogs so much because they're, they're having to compensate and overuse parts of themselves because they're losing the ability to use their hind end,

right? A lot of the work I teach, I also talk about working around the shoulders. Again, that's going to help these dogs so much because they're compensating by overusing their front end. And also, again, it's that bonding time. It's that time that you can give back to your dog and help your dog feel better. And it's, it's,

to me, it's, I always feel so fortunate when I can do that because it's such a gift. So it's a gift to you both. So that's another example of how you can use Debono Moves as an adjunct to your veterinarian's care. Then of course, as many, many dogs I've worked with over the years that are aging, they have a lot of arthritis maybe in the spine like spinal arthritis,

they may have hip arthritis, different places, you know, carpal arthritis, all sorts of places where they can be arthritic. And again, it's important to have the dog checked out by a veterinarian, do whatever, supportive nutraceuticals, you know, different nutrition, possibly medication if that's indicated, if the vet, you know, says that's important and you agree,

that could be improve their quality of life, of course. So all those things are important. And it's also important then to do things with your hands, you know, to actually use your hands to support your dog to, again, reduce the wear and tear that they're creating by compensating for the arthritis, for example, again, if they're, if they have arthritis in the back,

like spinal arthritis or hip arthritis, they might be overusing the front. So they may have a lot of strain or wear and tear around their shoulders and around their neck. So there's many different things you can do. The rhythm circles are a great way to start, and that's what you get in that free training, which I'll definitely link to. That's a,

a good start. But there's many other things you can do that can help that. Okay, so for those of you who know the, the work, if you have my book, you know, the, the ribcage slides, the, the ribcage circles, you know, all those things can also help with the shoulders, with the neck, so many other things,

back lifts. I mean, there's many, many different things we can do. The lumbar lips are really helpful for dogs with back pain and back arthritis. So of course every situation is different, so make sure that's appropriate for your dog. But as a general rule, that's often the case. So those are things that you know you can do to help support your dog throughout the aging process.

The other thing I wanna point out about aging, or even just any injury, even in a young dog. So even a very young dog that has an injury like Sonny was young, I think he was only five, Zoe was only three when she had her, her hip surgery. These are young dogs, but they can get into what I call a downward spiral.

So again, certainly happens a lot with older dogs, but can happen with younger ones as well. Where something is painful, something is bothersome, or they're afraid it's gonna hurt. So then they overuse other parts, right? So now they're compensating and now that part starts to be fatigued, it starts to be sore, it starts to be tight and restricted,

and now they have to compensate some other way. Now they're creating more strain on another structure, another part of themselves. So all these things lead to a vicious circle, a downward spiral. And so what we found is that the Debono Moves can really help the dog come out of that downward spiral, help them reverse it. Another dog I'm reminded of is a dog named Duffy,

who is 15, and he had really bad hips, he had a lot of arthritis. He was a dog who never liked to be touched even, you know, even when he was younger and when I first met him, he could hardly walk because his hips were so bad. Again, he was under veterinary care and I helped connect with him by working around his shoulders.

First, I didn't go to his back or his hips, but once he felt the relief that I gave him by working around his shoulders, then he was like, okay, you know, this is good. Being touched is good. So it feels, you know, it felt pleasurable to him because it really relieved the strain, it relieved that sense of soreness and effort.

And then I could work with parts of his back and his hips, et cetera. And he, he walked out of there like amazingly good. And then his person, because she had my book Grow Young with Your Dog, she worked with him on a regular basis and it was great because he went from a dog who could hardly walk to running up and down the hallway.

So it's very cool. And he was 15, right? So people think at that point that it's just all downhill. But what his person did was she successfully got him out of that downward spiral, okay? And helped make the most use of, of, of the, the wonderful life he had left. He lived for, for, I don't remember exactly how long he lived,

but it was certainly a quite a while after, after I had worked with him at the age of 15. And he was a big dog, by the way. So the other thing that this does is when you work with your dog in this way where you're relieving effort, you're quieting the nervous system, the dog learns to associate pleasure and relaxation with your touch,

with your handling. This comes in really handy. If you are having to treat your dog, like maybe your dog has an injury and you have to wrap it or you know, put some medication on it or do something like that, or any really kind of grooming or husbandry things you want your dog to start to associate, you know, you gently touching them with a feeling of pleasure and relaxation and they learn that they can trust.

Okay? So this is really, really helpful and it's helpful. For example, I talk about the rhythm circles a lot because I find they're easy for people to learn. I have that free training for you on them and there's something that you can kind of, you know, do a few minutes, a couple of times a week or more, whatever you want.

And then your dog starts to associate like lying down and relaxing with that wonderful rhythm circle feeling. And you could do that even at the vet's office office if it's appropriate. You know, it's really nice, of course if you go to a vet that practices like the, the Fear-free approach. But in any case, I think most vets are coming from a really,

you know, a good place in their heart. That's what they wanna help your dog. So you can talk to your vet about, would it be okay if I do this while my dog is lying down and you're examining them or whatever. Again, if it's appropriate, but it's something you can do as you're waiting for the vet to come in or something like that where you're just helping your dog stay more relaxed in that moment.

Because for many dogs it can be a source of anxiety to go to the vets. It can also help calm you down. Because lots of times when we're at the vet, we're worried too. We're worried about how our dog is feeling. We're worried about, you know, the situation we're worried about is my dog gonna be stressed? And it makes us stressed.

So if you can focus on doing something productive, something to help yourself and your dog, it's really pretty cool. So I find by focusing on the rhythm circles, and again, you can find them at that free training link in the show notes. You can, it'll, it'll help calm your own nervous system down, okay? So you and your dog are,

you know, feed off each other. So when you're both calmer, it's going to be much better for both of you. So that's another good reason to use the Debono Moves approach in conjunction with Vet veterinary care. So, so again, these are just some, a few simple ways. There's many more, but to give you an idea of how you can use this work in combination to veterinary care.

So I hope you found that helpful, and please do let me know what you're dealing with. If you have a particular issue with your dog and you'd like me to talk about it, I'd love to be able to help you. Thank you so, so much for being here. I really appreciate you and I look forward to talking to you again soon.

Bye for now.