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Osteopathy is an alternative healing method that many people have had positive experiences with. But did you know that osteopathy also exists for dogs? We explain when osteopathy can help four-legged friends and what you should know about it.

What is osteopathy?

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Osteopathy is one of the alternative healing methods for humans and animals. It is mainly used for disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Andrew Taylor Still is considered the founder of osteopathy. At the end of the 19th century, he spread his theses on the interrelationships in the body. He divided the body into three “systems”:

  • parietal osteopathy or system: musculoskeletal system including bones, joints, muscles
  • visceral osteopathy or system: internal organs, vessels, and lymph
  • cranio-sacral osteopathy or system: skull (lat. “cranium”) and sacrum (“sacrum”)

“When all systems of the body are well ordered, there is health.”

With osteopathic treatments, the aim is to create this order with a gentle handshake. The therapist uses his hands to release blockages throughout the body. Over time, users have developed various specializations in the field of osteopathy, which we do not need to go into here.

What is interesting for us is that osteopathy in animals has its origin in horse lovers. But more and more veterinarians, animal physiotherapists, and animal health practitioners are successfully applying the teachings of osteopathy to dogs and cats.

What diseases can osteopathy help dogs with?

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Osteopathy can especially help dogs that have limited mobility due to tension or illnesses. These include dogs who can no longer jump or climb stairs well or have visible back pain. Osteopathy can help dogs with the following symptoms or illnesses:

  • Herniated discs
  • Spondylosis
  • Wobbler syndrome
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Cauda equina syndrome
  • Lameness and gait disorders

Osteopathy should also be able to have a preventive effect. Because many dogs get minor problems in the musculoskeletal system during sport or play, which they compensate for a long time. After a short limp, everything is fine again from the operator’s point of view. But over the years there are bad postures and pain or osteoarthritis.

In some cases, experienced canine osteopaths can help with problems such as incontinence, inflammation, or neurological disorders. Therapy immediately after an accident is not suitable. Important:

Osteopathy is not intended to replace the veterinarian, but to complement conventional medical treatment.

How does osteopathic treatment work in dogs?

An important prerequisite for osteopathy in dogs: the four-legged friend must be easy to touch. The therapist will ask you many questions about your dog and examine the four-legged friend. He will feel the joints and the back, especially along the spine.

The examination and treatment itself take place only with the hands of the therapist. In doing so, he exerts targeted pressure on certain areas. Exact knowledge of the dog’s anatomy is a prerequisite for this.

Incidentally, osteopathy has nothing to do with “straightening”. To outsiders, the alternative healing method for dogs often seems like the laying on of hands. The therapist’s hands feel exactly how the dog’s body reacts to the respective movements.

Tip: The dog should not eat anything three hours before the treatment. Afterward, he has the opportunity to exercise extensively. Many dogs are tired after the osteopathy session and fall into a deep sleep shortly afterward.

Osteopathy costs for dogs

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With animal healers, you pay around $80 to $120 for the detailed anamnesis at the beginning of the treatment. The subsequent sessions cost around $75, depending on the duration.

At the vet, the costs are based on the fee schedule for veterinarians, GOT for short. Here the veterinarian cannot bill for osteopathy, but related services. The duration of the treatment plays the most important role. A first anamnesis can cost up to $150, the follow-up sessions are $75 to $100.