Case study: Zoe
Zoe is an energetic and active young dog and experienced agility competitor, who was regularly achieving places in competition with two different handlers. Out of the blue she started running out of the agility ring, looking worried. Concerned that Zoe was in pain, her owner took her to the vet, and then to a specialist, who felt that the problem was muscular.
Zoe was rested from agility and treated with massage and electrotherapies. The injury had caused Zoe to alter her posture and gait, and she was showing areas of protective splinting, hypertonicity, compensation and asymmetry.
Exercise prescription is an essential part of rehabilitating an injury, and Zoe began a home exercise programme, carefully designed at each stage to be appropriate for the phase of healing, to strengthen the muscles as they recovered, restore flexibility, and re-educate her to use her body symmetrically again. We also focused on her proprioception, balance and core stability, which enables her to deal with unpredictable surfaces, control her body in the air, and on the equipment.
Zoe returned gradually to agility training, building up her fitness, and re-introducing more physically demanding skills one at a time. Zoe’s owner noticed that her weaves were better than before, reflecting how much stronger and more confident in her body she had become.
“Zoe’s weaves have really improved over the last few months – she seems to feel really good about her body since you have been working with her!”
Since returning to competition, Zoe is running happily with both her handlers again, faster than ever, and has won from grade 4 to grade 6 in just a few months.
Zoe still has regular maintenance treatment, ensuring any niggles are dealt with promptly, and she remains balanced, fit and strong, allowing her to give her walks, games and agility training her absolute all! (I have now been asked if I can calm her down… I’m pretty sure that wasn’t a serious request!)
“But is there any way you can calm Zoe down – she just seems so happy within her body, she throws herself around, spinning and shaking things even on boring walks!”