What is osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a science and system of healing where the initial diagnosis
identifies the tensions and restrictions in joints, muscles and ligaments and
eliminates them using gentle manual treatment techniques. There are many long
term benefits including sufficient blood and nerve supply to tissues and healthy
lymphatic drainage – all key to the animal’s well being and performance.
Before a consultation, permission is sought from the animal’s veterinary surgeon
by phone or in writing.
Initially a short case history will be taken to identify any previous injuries
or illnesses which may have a bearing on the current problem. Both horses and
dogs are given a visual examination whilst walking and/or trotting in hand or on
the lead. The patient is then examined top to toe to check over and evaluate
joints and muscles.
Treatment can include a variety of techniques such as soft tissue stretching and
gentle manipulation to release restricted areas and improve function to the
entire body. Following treatment dogs will usually require a day or two on the
lead and a horse light exercise or turnout. Advice is also given, on how to
manage the condition or problem between treatments – for example, a horse may
improve faster if it is ridden ‘long and low’ into an outline rather than in
The length of time between treatments will vary depending on the problem and its
severity – from two weeks to six months for maintenance.
What can it treat?
As well as improving general well being, osteopathy is used to treat a broad
range of conditions and ailments:
- Injuries from falls, training or other activity
- Difficulty executing specific movements
- Gait problems such as short or uneven steps
- Poor or reduced performance levels
- Changes in behavioural patterns
- Muscular problems such as stiffness, spasms or atrophy
- Aging problems such as arthritis
- Performance levels
- Problems with the gait – slow to warm up; increasing resistance to work;
inability to track up/short stride; goes better on one rein than the other
- Reluctance to trot/canter on certain reins, loss of collection, cross-canter
problems. Rushes downhill, pulls uphill, lacks concentration, shying
- Changes in behaviour, bucking, bolting, rearing, refusing to jump, kicking.
- Objection to being saddled or girthed, pinning ears back, inability to stand
still or relax, hyposensivity to brushing, difficult to shoe and repetitive
- Diagnosed conditions such as degenerative arthritis. Hind, front leg lameness
- Uneven muscle bulk, obvious sores, white hairs, friction rubs, temporary
swelling or hard spots in the muscle or skin. Muscle imbalance, spasms, atrophy
and stiffness in the older horse. Swishing the tail, holding the tail to one
- Maintaining mobility in competition horses. Inability to bend, turning the head
to one side more than the other
- Injuries resulting from falls, training or other activities
- Stressful situations, due to horse’s conformation, various riding and training
equipment, incorrect rider position. Shoeing
- Cold Back
- Head tossing and general problems with head carriage
- Sacroiliac lesion
- Tendon injury, or ligament overstrain
- Back disorder lameness