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Massage and Rehab Therapy Tips for Tripawds, Part II

Here’s our second and final interview with animal rehabilitation therapist Leslie Gallagher McMahon, CCMT, CCRT of Two Hands Four Paws Canine Massage and Rehabilitation.

Rear Leggers versus Front Leggers

Leslie feels that rear leg amputees have it a little bit easier than front leg Tripawds. Although rear leg amputees also have pain resulting from living on three legs, rear leggers seem to recover from surgery a bit faster because it’s easier for them to get their balance. Also, because dogs carry sixty percent of their weight on their front legs, they can still use their bodies almost exactly as nature intended them to.

Pain Relief Tips

Many pawrents don’t know when to use heat and when to use cold on their Tripawd. Here’s some tips:

  • Use cold within 48 hours to 3 days after the injury or surgery. Ice reduces swelling and inflammation.
  • When an injury is no longer acute, switch back and forth between ice and heat.
  • Apply ice for five minutes, heat for 5 minutes, then ice for 5 minutes. Always end with ice.
  • Keep a towel between the ice pack and fur
  • Test heat before application

We recommend getting pain relief packs thatcan be used either cold or hot, to allow you to easily rotate between ice and heat.

Big Dog Therapy Tips

For giant breeds, try swimming sessions starting at five minutes each, gradually working up to ten minutes. While ideally water should be at 85 degrees, for some dogs like Labs and Golden Retrievers who naturally love to swim, she feels it’s fine to allow them to get into a lake or river and do some swimming. Just remember:

  • Always use a flotation device.
  • Monitor their heart rate and respiration. Make sure they’re not overdoing it.

Read part one of our 2 Hands 4 Paws interview now!

Please be aware that we are not veterinarians. The information presented here is not meant to be construed as medical advice or guidance, nor should it be substituted for professional veterinary assistance. Always discuss any remedies and treatments you wish to pursue with your veterinarian.

5 thoughts on “Massage and Rehab Therapy Tips for Tripawds, Part II”

  1. Thank you so much for these! They are fantastic! Can I make a suggestion? Well, I won’t wait for the answer…here goes…. I wonder if the next time you do something like this, if the person you’re interviewing could actually show a massage session on the massage techniques they do, where they work on the body and for how long they do it on the dog? I know she briefly went thru that…but I guess I’d like to see exactly what she does when the dog comes in for an appointment…know what I mean? And maybe explain what they may find on that particular dog? What type of homework is the client sent home with? I guess what I’m asking for is more detailed massage work?
    Thanks for listening and doing all you do! I LOVE it.!

    Tracy, Maggie’s Mom

    • Wonderful suggestion, and we’ll keep it in mind. But most practitioners prefer our “fireside chat” approach and informal interviews over producing free how to videos, which some of them produce and sell themselves.

      The widget of pet massage books and DVDs we posted in the Tripawds Amazon blog may be of interest to anyone else seeking more detailed technique instruction.


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