Canine Massage Case Reports


Aimee Johnson of Little Bear Animal Massage ( in St. Paul, MN, reports: One of my clients is a 13-year-old German Shepherd Dog, Izzy, who was referred to me by her traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) veterinarian, Dr. Deb Brown of Pequot Lakes (MN) Animal Hospital. Izzy is a former agility dog and has arthritis in her back, knees, shoulder, and neck. She also has spondylosis, hip dysplasia, and had hip denervation done in 2015. Izzy’s owner, Julie, has incorporated multiple modalities to keep Izzy moving (chiropractic, laser therapy, TCM, etc.). After adding massage to her routine (once a week with me, and nightly sessions by her owner), Izzy is doing the things she loves again.

Karen Lachapelle, a massage practitioner and owner of Rub My Belly ( in Lowell, MA, reports: Wendy and Marc had four dogs. The first dog of theirs that I massaged was the oldest guy, Taz. When I first met him, he was about 12 years old with just patches of fur. At first, he was unsure, but by the third or fourth session he liked his massages so much so that he would sleep through the night – and, remarkably, his fur started to grow back. I massaged Taz on a monthly basis for two years until he passed away. Then Wendy and Marc called on me to massage their next-oldest dog, Chantilly. When I massaged Chantilly, Wendy and Marc would comment on the “spring in her step” and report that she would have a good night’s sleep. I massaged Chantilly until she passed away in 2019 at the age of 19.
Ellen Kanner of Framingham, MA, shared this report: Bella is my 12-year-old Shih-Tzu/Poodle-mix. About five months ago, she stopped using her left front leg.  Her veterinarian diagnosed advanced arthritis and prescribed an injectable pain killer once a week for 10 weeks. She also advised me that massage or acupuncture may reduce Bella’s pain. I contacted Lisa Ruthig (Lively Animal Massage in Grosvenordale, CT), and she started massaging Bella once a week. Within five days of getting her first massage, Bella started walking on all four paws again! After 10 weeks, Bella no longer needed her injectable pain medication. Bella now gets massages every other week. Recently, she was able to hike at a normal pace for over an hour. Massage turned my older, pain-filled Bella into a much more comfortable “younger” Bella. 
Karen Brothers of Bellingham, MA, shared this report: My 13-year-old German Shepherd, Maggie, has severe arthritis in the lower spine and severe hip dysplasia. Medication helped for a time, then her veterinarian recommended physical therapy or massage. After her first massage from practitioner Lisa Ruthig, Maggie slept through the night – for the first time in a while. I was so relieved! I realized that Maggie didn’t groan as much as she lay down or struggle as much when she got up. She was willing to walk farther than she had been, she didn’t seem as stiff, and her gait was better. Most amazingly, the sparkle came back to her eyes. Over the next two years, her challenges worsened, but each hour-long massage helped Maggie feel more comfortable for the remainder of the week.