Zoo-massage school

So, what is zoomassage?
This still new for most of us word means a specific impact on an animal’s skin, muscles, internals and bones, performed with the help of human hands or corresponding devices. Zoomassage can be general, when the whole body or a http://www.bulldogs.lv/en/admin/menu/renderbig part of it is massaged, or local, when only a definite body part is massaged. Rubbing, pressure and vibration are used. There are different types of massage – preventive, treatment, restorative and sports massage. This classification is very relative, because it is almost impossible to find a clear borderline between the treatment massage and other types of massage; nevertheless, every type of massage (the mentioned above) has its own aims and tasks and has several sub-types.
Preventive zoomassage is an active way to prevent diseases, to support functionality and high vitality of the animal, to reinforce its health. Some methods of the preventive massage are common in our everyday life and they are so natural for us that they are not perceived as some peculiar veterinary techniques. An example is the way we care for the animal’s skin and coat. While combing the coat and wiping the skin with a piece of cloth, the dead skin cells and the fallen out hairs are taken away. Thus the dermal respiration improves and the excretory processes of sebaceous and sweat glands are promoted. This normalizes the process of fat excretion. Fat is necessary to smear the skin to protect it from dryness and excessive moisture. It is obvious that, as a result, we get more elastic, pleasant to touch and beautiful coat and healthy skin – and a healthier and more competitive show dog. We use some massage techniques subconsciously, for example, when stroking or patting the dog.
Treatment zoomassage is an efficient way to treat different traumas and diseases. Apart from being a kind of treatment by itself, it also has an additional function – it reinforces the effect of medicines and biologically active supplements. There is a definite method of massage in every specific case, and this method depends on the cause of the disease, the forms of its development, the peculiarity of the influence of massage techniques upon the body of the animal.
We distinguish between the following kinds of treatment zoomassage:
- classical, used without taking into account the reflex action, and all necessary manipulations are performed near the injured place or right on it;
- reflexosegmental, performed with the aim of reflex action upon the functional condition of tissues, internals and systems. During this process, specific techniques are used. These techniques help stimulate definite skin and nerve receptors which transmit the corresponding signals to the cerebrum and to the spinal cord. From there, as a response, they return to the necessary muscles, internals and zones.
The response depends on the massage intensity, its duration, the area and the place of action, as well as on the general health condition of the patient. By the way, this is the kind of massage which helped the above mentioned bulldog puppy to recover. Several times a day (and much longer than for an hour every time!) different techniques were used to work on the segments of his spinal cord, making the inner reflexes work – the reflexes, responsible for changes in the performance of the internals and blood circulation in them. Depending on the applied techniques, we distinguish between the connective tissue, periosteal, punctate and some other kinds of the reflexosegmental massage. The connective tissue massage is used mostly on connective tissue, subcutaneous fat. Its technique implies the dislocation of the cutaneous covering with respect to muscles, tendons and bones. The use of this kind of massage usually gives good results if there are disease states or musculoskeletal system pathologies. The aim of the periosteal massage is reflex changes in periosteum as a result of the mechanic stimulation of its interoreceptors. This is reached by means of rhythmical finger pressure on specific areas and zones near the passages of nerve trunks. Zoomassage of this kind is recommended when there are injuries and diseases of joints, bones and some internals. It is also beneficial for metabolic processes, blood circulation and lymphokinesis.
During the punctuate massage, the mechanic action upon reflex, or, as they are commonly known, acupuncture points takes place. Special equipment is used, or the massage is performed with the help of fingers. Palpation of biologically active points which have a reflex connection with various internals and functional systems is called the finger pressure massage.
The percussion (from Latin percussion) massage of the chest is important to know for dog owners and especially for English bulldogs breeders. This kind of massage is good during bronchitis or pneumonia to make the process of expectoration easier and faster (which is especially important for bulldogs), to improve blood circulation and lymphokinesis, and the pulmonary ventilation. Chest percussion makes the bronchi vibrate and the sputum as if comes off their inner surface. It is clear that, however hard a bulldog tries, it cannot expectorate the bronchial sputum that “sticks” to the bronchial mucosa, and expectoration becomes possible if this sputum is free in the bronchial lumen. This all is of vital importance to a lot of breeders, so I will give more details on the techniques of this kind of massage. To do it correctly, the animal must be placed so that the back part of its body is placed a little higher than its head; then we find the necessary section of the chest and start percussion using our fingertips, frequently, intensely, but painlessly, the finger touching the skin not at the right angle, but directed towards the head. The percussion is continued for a minute, and then we make a short break, giving the dog some time to move and to cough. After that, percussion is continued for a minute, and we do like this 4 to 5 times. First, the presternum is massaged this way; then we perform the massage from the back side and on the sides. There is no need to massage the lower part of chest, because the previous manipulations are enough for the desired effect. If the patient is an adult animal, a “rougher” technique can be used. On the surface to be massaged, put your hand with the palm down and, rhythmically, beat the hand with your fist. Do not be afraid, the palm will smooth the intensity of action. After the tapotement, the chest is compressed with both hands in time with breathing. A compression like this stimulates the alveolar receptors, the receptors of pleura and of the root of lung – all this promotes a better discharge of bronchial sputum, an increase of excitability of the respiratory center and active inspiration. The act of breathing is further stimulated during the action upon the intercostal muscles. The procedure can be repeated several times a day, of course, if there are indications to do this.
ATTENTION! The percussion massage is not used if the animal is having body temperature higher than normal. The percussion massage does not replace the medical treatment and must not be used as the only method of treatment!
And one more kind of the treatment massage – cryomassage, i.e. the massage with the use of cold. It is very effective when there are injuries; it reduces bleeding of the injured tissues, and is accompanied by the anaesthetic, homeostatic and antiinflammatory action. It has the most effect during the first 2-4 hours after the injury. The cold lowers the sensitivity of nerve endings rapidly, and this releives pain. Under the influence of massage with ice, the amplitude of movements in the joint being massaged increases, but the cold blocks and decreases the oedema of the injured tissues. Rehabilitation zoomassage is very important when the animal recovers after injuries or diseases, as well as after stress. After serious physical activities the massage is smooth; during the periods of rest it is deeper and more intense. This kind of massage is used very broadly, often together with the therapeutic physical training, but I will tell about it in detail later.
Sports zoomassage is used to improve the overall condition of sports and working dogs, to increase their capacity for work, to prevent injuries and diseases of the musculoskeletal system, to relieve the physical and psycho emotional fatigue.

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