PART II by Tony Nevin, BSc (Hons) Ost, DO, Zoo Ost Limited In the first part of this article I looked at some of the pitfalls to avoid when dealing with mainstream media. (For the full article please refer to the last edition of this magazine Issue 15). In this part I am going to look at what we, as manual therapy professions, can do to promote our professional work on various online platforms. I will split this up to look at business as well as general social media platforms. Before that I’d like to look at the rapid growth...
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Here's our latest podcast featuring Fitzpatrick Referral's Hospital Director Brian (with a wicked sense of humour!), and Super-Vet noel Fitzpatrick chatting about this year's Vet festival and the ethos behind it....... plus having a laugh with Tony Nevin along the way.
by Aisling Carroll MSc, BSc (Hons), PGCE TLHE (Dist.), FHEA Dog owners are recommended to walk their dog daily, to keep the animal physically active and to provide mental stimulation. Depending on the age, breed and size of the dog, the physical requirements and limits to exercise will differ. Young, developing dogs undergo significant physical changes, especially during the first 12-18 months of life. This development primarily focuses on growth plate closures (also known as physes), these are cartilaginous discs that separate the epiphysis from the metaphysis and are responsible for longitudinal growth of long bones. The longitudinal growth of...
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Maintaining a pet’s skin and coat health is a common reason for pet owners to visit their vet. Diet can be a factor when changes in skin and coat condition occur, but the most common causes are seasonal and life stage.
The general condition of a pet’s skin and coat is a good indicator of their health. Some pets may have all year-round symptoms, which could mean that they are allergic to something in the home, however there are allergic reactions that are seasonal. Outdoor seasonal allergens can include, ragweed, grasses and pollens.
Skin problems and irritation can be caused by a number of reasons and to complicate matters, pets could be affected by more than one cause. The causes of skin problems can fall into several categories, which include:
Getting to know your pet’s skin and coat
A healthy coat should be shiny but not greasy and will be soft and quite smooth. An unhealthy coat will be dry and brittle and could also be greasy with a dusty appearance. There may also be a few bold spots and an unpleasant smell.
Most puppies or kittens are born with soft, fuzzy fur, but as they age a coarse coat grows. Pregnant or nursing pets also may experience a change in coat condition or hair loss. And as with humans, as pets reach their mature years, their hair may thin out and become coarser and white.
Signs of poor skin and coat condition may include: dry or flaky skin, a dry coat and brittle hair that breaks easily. It could also include, moulting and thin or balding patches.
To help to maintain the health of your pet’s skin and coat, there are some positive things that you can do:
The quality of food that your dog or cat is fed can reflect in their skin. Pets are often fed unnatural diets, which are too high in Omega-6 fatty acids derived from high levels of cereals and vegetable proteins. An acute excess of Omega-6s, or a shortage or Omega-3s will predispose many inflammatory and allergic conditions, including dry, flaky and itchy skin.
Brush your pet’s hair at least once a week as this will help to remove loose hairs, keep your pet’s coat free from dirt and distribute natural skin oils, which helps to make their coat shiny. Try not to groom them too much, as this could lead to irritation on the skin.
Don’t over bathe your pet
This can lead to dry and sensitive skin. Be sure to only use animal specific shampoos, as human shampoo could irritate their skin.
Like humans, overexposure to the sun is bad for your pet’s skin. Pets with light skin and short or thin hair, are more susceptible to sensitive skin caused from the sun. Try to limit the amount of time your pet spends in the sun and watch for signs of burning.
Fleas and parasites
One of the most common causes of skin problems in pets are parasites and fleas. Prevention is always the best treatment for flea control. Be sure to treat all pets, indoor and outdoor, as outdoor pets can carry fleas to indoor pets. At this time of year, ticks can be a problem. Run your hand through your pet’s coat and check especially around the face and up the legs and leg pits.
A constant supply of water is important to keep your pet cool and hydrated, like us, they require water to maintain healthy skin.
Stress can lead to over grooming. Understand what is causing your pet to become stressed and try to reduce this, if possible.
Keep your home and their bed clean
Regularly clean, provide fresh bedding and reduce dust in your home. Hoovering on a regular basis, at least twice a week, will help to get rid of any excess dust. This will include rugs, curtains and any other material that gathers dust.
Using a natural supplement like nutramega, which contains high quality omega-3 fatty acids, biotin and vitamin E can help to naturally calm sensitive skin, soothe dry, flaky skin and reduce itching and scratching.
If you are concerned about your pet’s skin and coat health, speak to your vet who is best placed to monitor your pet’s health and ensure they are receiving the best possible care.
In recent years, the equestrian industry is increasingly turning to the benefits of aqua therapy using aqua trainers, for both rehabilitation purposes and the regular training regime for horses from all disciplines.
More specifically, the use of cold water aqua therapy is now becoming an integral part of the competition horse’s development and training program. It is bringing real, measurable benefits including improvements to all-over suppleness, increased stride length, better muscle tone and more core strength. This not only maximises performance and training, but also reduces the risk of future injury. Putting the hype aside, we are going to put the spotlight on the benefits of this therapy, which has been backed by countless scientific works and studies.
As a leading authority on aqua therapy systems, FMBs have developed a long term working partnership with Dr Matthias Baumann who has over 25 years experience working with aqua treadmills, combined with being an Olympic Gold Medal Event Rider which gives him the perfect mix of knowledge and training to evaluate this therapy objectively.
Dr Baumann regularly visits the UK to support and train FMBs’ aqua therapy customers and his advice and knowledge proves to be invaluable at every stage in the process. He is also scheduled to be in the UK later this year to share his key scientific findings with a wider audience, and facilitate further discussion regarding the many benefits of this therapy. Ahead of this visit he has agreed to share some of the findings that focus on performance improvements through regular use of a water treadmill.
Dr Baumann had a water treadmill installed in his vet practice for 17 years, allowing him to conduct and take part in studies about equine biomechanics aqua treadmill training and cold saltwater therapy as a means to reduce inflammation and aid recovery.
Matthias comments, ‘correct training of every horse is necessary for their development, growth and competition success. A correct training program should develop the horse without subjecting it to the risks of injury.” Matthias continued, ‘I found that the combination of hydrotherapy and controlled work is much more genius than we ever expected’.
When Matthias first installed his treadmill he worked on the theory that the use of cold water for both cooling and massaging gave great benefits to a horses’ legs after injury and resulting operations. He started to note significant reduction in convalescence time and a much smoother process to bring the injured horse back to work.
These studies were then extended in 1999, and Matthias started to utilise controlled work in cold water as part of a training program which proved highly beneficial as it ensured the horse’s muscles always remained in an aerobic state, and there was a greatly reduced chance of a horse injuring its muscles while in water.
This development of work led to a more in depth study and the key measurable findings are as follows:
regular training in a water treadmill can develop a horse’s stride length in walk
after just 4 to 5 training sessions a young horse will noticeably improve its body balance and stability
when a horse is worked in walk, it shows more muscle activity than in trot in the water
muscle volume and strength can be developed 3 to 4 times faster with aqua training compared to hand walking
the development of back muscle is greatly improved, especially the M. longissimus dorsi and Mm. multifidi, showing significant strength increase with a daily 20 minute aqua training plan
adding aqua training sessions after canter work seemed to decrease the lactic acid in the horse’s muscles.
In addition, there were many more additional benefits that were observed. Specifically with the older horse there were improvements in overall body condition and muscle tone, and the reduced impact from aqua training allowed them to stay in competition for longer during their later years.
During the years, Matthias has also studied the effects of varying the water levels to gain the maximum range of motion within each joint group that is worked with the therapy. The unique ability to do this enables the programs to be tailored and set to the specific needs of the horse and adjusted as necessary. FMBs aqua treadmill customers benefit from having access to Dr Baumann’s extensive knowledge, advice and training specifically with regard to the speed and water level that best suits each horse. Serena Hickson of FMBs Therapy Systems says, ‘The equipment is excellent but only ever as good as the people operating it so it is so important the customers are provided with the best training and refresher courses offered.’
Matthias concludes, ‘With well advised training using a water treadmill you can have so much success with your rehabilitation or training regime and most importantly have a happy, healthy horse for many years to come!’
Here in the UK, the momentum behind aqua therapy is growing phenomenally. Horse owners across multiple disciplines including private yards, racehorse trainers, professional competition yards and therapy and rehabilitation centres are now using water treadmills as part of their fitness and training plans. From the many positive testimonials that FMBs receive, Tonya Willingham of Equine Rebalance in Hampshire, sums it up perfectly. She has worked with aqua therapy treadmills for 6 years now and attended many training courses with Dr Baumann. Tonya says, ‘The healing and fitness properties of the humble H20 should never be underestimated. The use of hydrotherapy has long been used to help humans recover from physical and mental stress and strain. The equine water treadmill from FMBs is beneficial for all shapes and sizes of horses, not just the top class dressage horses. We see endurance, event, carriage driving and leisure horses, show jumpers, polo and pony club ponies, and have seen many positive results.
The treadmill can be used in the rehabilitation of tendon and ligament and muscle injuries as well as many common back-related injuries but more regularly being used for fitness, strengthening, toning and conditioning of the horses muscles as part of the horses general exercise programme. The FMBs treadmill here at Equine Rebalance Therapy Centre is the latest model benefitting from having an incline option. This allows the horse to work in the water on an incline that further improves stamina and fitness. All programmes are tailor made to the individual horse.
FMBs have a dedicated team not only providing Dr Baumann for training but also with UK technicians on hand to help with any support/queries and routine maintenance to keep the machine in tiptop condition. The filtration systems are efficient and effective and inclusive of UV filters to keep the water sanitised without the need of chemicals.
Scientific works and papers published on different studies about exercise of horses with the water treadmill:
“Effect of aquatraining exercise on selected bloodparameters and on heart variability of horses” Voss. B.: Mohr, E.; Krywanek.H.; Uni Berlin, 2000
“Effect on waterdepth on amount of flexion and extension of joints of the distal aspects of the limbs in healthy horses walking on an underwater treadmill” Mendez, J.;Firschman; Groschen et Alt. , University of Minnesota, USA
“EMG activity of the muscles of the neck and forelimb during different forms of locomotion” Tokuriki, M; Othsuki,R.; et alt. Department of Vet. Med. University of Yamaguchi, Japan
“The effect of water height on stride frequency, stride length and heart rate during water treadmill exercise” R. Scott, K. Nankervis*, C. Stringer, K. Westcott And D. Marlin, The Equine Therapy Centre, Hartpury College, Gloucester, UK. 2010
“Biomechanical responses of the back of riding horses to water treadmill” M.J.W. Mooij, W. Jans, G.J.L. den Heijer, M. de Pater, W. Back; Department of Equines Sciences, Utrecht University, NED 2013
“Water depth modifies back kinematics of horses during water treadmill exercise” K. J. Nankervis, P. Finney and L. Launder; Hartpury College, UK; Equine Veterinary Journal 2015;
“Conditioning horses on the water treadmill” Persophone GrecoOtto, University of Calgary and Washington State University, 2017, American Association of Equine Practioniers Convention
Osteopath, Bapsci, MOst, Cert in Advanced equine Osteopathy. Emily lives and works in New Zealand.
Osteopathy has fascinated me from my first treatment when I was still at high school, to when I saw such an extraordinary change in my horse’s movement and demeanour after he was treated and managed osteopathically. These experiences prompted me to study osteopathy and then go on to do further training in equine osteopathy. The beauty of osteopathy is that no two days are the same, you are constantly learning and continuously challenged to adapt your techniques to suit individuals and think ‘outside the box’. I’m so lucky that I have been able to build a career that I am so passionate about.
My obsession with animals, conservation and osteopathy meant that I stumbled across Zoo Ost’s website, where I discovered these wildlife osteopathy courses and three years ago, I found myself attending my first workshop in elephant osteopathy with Tony Nevin in Northern Thailand’s Golden Triangle. Initially, I had no idea where I was going, who I was meeting and very little idea of what we would be doing but I loved the idea of working with elephants and just couldn’t miss this opportunity. I left New Zealand on my own and flew to Chiang Rai, where I was then driven nearly an hour north to the Golden Triangle where I met an amazing group of osteopaths and therapists from all over the world and had the time of my life.
The workshop is held in the most beautiful location, the Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp and Resort, which is home to the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (GTAEF). This is a remarkable foundation that has been set up to not only help the elephants but also to help the mahouts and their families. The GTAEF strongly believes that in an ideal world there would be no captive elephants, but as this is not the case, they strive to provide world-class care and welfare to captive elephants while also taking part in conservation and wild elephant programs to ensure the survival of the wild herds. The GTAEF does not own any of the elephants that reside at the elephant camp and resort. Instead, they employ the mahouts and effectively ‘rent’ the elephants. Under this employment, the mahouts are given a regular income, accommodation on-site for their families, education and schooling for their children, as natural environment as possible for their elephants with all the feed they require and an on-site veterinarian who makes sure that the elephants are healthy and correctly cared for. The purpose of employing the mahouts and providing for their elephant and their families is to try and break the cycle of using elephants as a source of income.
Offering the children of the mahouts a better education increases their chances of future employment in other careers and not as mahouts like their fathers. The GTAEF is unique in doing this as it tries to break the cycle of elephants being used in traditional forms or work (logging) or tourism (rides/begging) and tries to focus on the more ethical types of elephant tourism (bathing/walking with the elephants). The trouble with many sanctuaries is that they purchase the elephants from the mahouts but this then gives the mahout, who has no other form of income to provide for his family, enough money to then go and purchase another elephant to continue to make a living the only way he knows how.
The elephant osteopathy workshop runs over five days and after an overview of the health and safety aspects of working with elephants, we are introduced to some of the elephants that we get to work with and get straight into learning how to apply osteopathic principles and practice to elephants. On the first day, we would video the elephants that we would be working with over the week so that we could do a gait analysis and movement comparison with footage taken on the last day following their series of treatments. In the middle of the workshop, the group goes out for a day trip to a more remote village where we get to see how elephants are still being used in traditional tourism around Thailand. This gave me a greater appreciation of how much work has gone into the GTAEF and how they have done everything they can to make sure the elephants in their care are looked after in a way that has puts their welfare first. This trip also allows the group to experience the beauty of northern Thailand and Thai culture.
I’ve had many people at home ask how we could possibly have any effect on these animals given our relative size difference and their ‘thick skinned/rough’ appearance and this is still, three years and three workshops later, the most commonly asked question. Elephant skin is a lot less rough than it looks, it’s actually quite elastic and pliable and the soft tissues underneath are surprisingly easy to feel through the skin. Similar to treating humans and horses, working with the elephants, we would start by observing, palpating, treating and then observing again. We would watch their gait for fluidity and ease of movement, the way their heads undulated as they walked, the symmetry of their bodies, their posture whilst resting and any compensatory patterns they may have. Often the elephant’s full histories were unknown or only some information was known so it could be hard to piece together an accurate picture of what each elephant had been through and the mechanisms of injury it may have sustained in the past.
Once we had decided what we thought the most significant issue or pattern in the elephant was, we would use sustained release and myofascial release techniques as well as cranial osteopathy to create changes in their musculoskeletal systems. The techniques we would choose to use on each elephant would depend on their mood and energy that day and also, what they were willing to let you touch. Some of these elephants have sustained significant trauma either physically or mentally/emotionally in the past and it takes a great deal of trust for them to let you into or near the vulnerable areas of their bodies. Elephants respond very quickly to treatment and you have to be careful that you do not over-treat. I still find it amazing how much of an effect we can have on them in a brief time frame. This is why we would see the same elephants for treatments over consecutive days instead of trying to treat too much in one session.
Given some of these elephants have had significant trauma in the past and have developed strong compensatory patterns, we have to be careful not to remove all of their coping mechanisms too quickly, especially as there are no osteopaths that reside onsite that can continue their treatment in the long term. The GTAEF and Tony have been working together to try to encourage the mahouts to learn some simple but effective osteopathic techniques that they can use to treat and maintain their elephants while the osteopaths aren’t there.
Having been on three workshops now, I have also been able to watch the elephant’s progress over successive years. With some of the elephants you can note significant changes in their musculoskeletal systems and in others, it is just wonderful to see how much they change on a more emotive level. We were warned about one elephant in particular on the first workshop I attended, that she would become stressed and unapproachable if she heard the sound of an engine. She grew up in the busy city of Bangkok as an elephant who had to ‘beg’ for tourists. These earlier years of her life had left her scared of the sound of vehicles. On the first and second workshops I attended I got to witness her stressed behaviour when she heard a vehicle, but this year I saw that she had become a lot more relaxed and less reactive to that aspect of her environment.
One of the most enjoyable experiences about this workshop is learning to read the body language of another species. We spend a lot of time watching how the elephants interact with each other and how each individual responds to different situations. We would observe how the elephants behave and respond to touch and treatment when they’re content and happy versus when they’re feeling nervous or anxious. Elephants, just like horses, pick up on your energy and mood and these elephant workshops have been great for fine-tuning my ability to control my energy/mood/emotions. This is a skill that continuously makes me a better practitioner in my work at home and it’s also helped outside of work when I’m training and riding my own horses.
To anyone who has seen these workshops and thought about attending, I would highly recommend that you get in touch with Tony. You will meet the most incredible people from all over the world and make lasting friendships and you will have the privilege of being able to get hands-on in a positive, ethical and beneficial way with these most magnificent animals. You will learn things that make you change the way you treat in your everyday practice and you’ll have much better ‘work stories’ to tell your colleagues and clients.
Treatment of equine fractures by Dr Emiliano Espinar Garcia-Pego CertEP MRCVS, Espinar Equine, www.horsevetberkshire.co.uk In the last edition, we gave you an introduction on some principles of fractures. It is time now to get to brass tacks: What type of fractures are common in certain disciplines? More importantly, what to do if you suspect your horse has a fracture? And what are the different treatment options available including surgical repair . . . or euthanasia. Does discipline determine the damage? We already know that some injuries are seen more frequently amongst horses competing in specialised sports. This is because disciplinespecific...
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Notching up record delegate and exhibitor numbers for 2019, this year’s VET Festival, received an overwhelmingly positive response from delegates for the calibre of speakers and entertainment. The event took place at Loseley Park, Guildford on 7-8 June.
With wellness a strong focus for VET Festival, the Wellness lecture tent was packed for Lara Heimann, an American who has achieved global recognition for her unique vinyasa yoga style and regularly leads international retreats and workshops. Many delegates took their wellness into their own hands by visiting the Wellness Hub for a massage and yoga session while the Family Hub was busy throughout the two days.
Continuing the wellness theme but also embracing eco concerns, event sponsor MWI Animal Health offered delegates the opportunity to use their own energy by cycling on an exercise bike to create a fruit smoothie. On the Friday night, delegates, many in 80s costumes, partied into the night with live music from MadHen.
Clinical speakers received with particular enthusiasm included Dr Ronaldo da Costa, Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery at Ohio State University, USA, and Laurie Edge Hughes, a veterinary physiotherapist from Canada.
Professor Noel Fitzpatrick said: “It is a real joy to see the VET Festival growing and growing, not just in physical size, but from the immense goodwill that radiates from it. The weather didn’t get in the way of the wellness and there was nothing rainy about the atmosphere at VET Festival - in fact I think that the rain brought us closer together.
“I set out to build a community of compassion for our profession and I genuinely felt that there was a tangible sense of togetherness. There were loads of great conversations with each other and with the exhibitors. The educational content really was world class and the tents were packed. I hoped that VET Festival would be a breath of fresh air, where having an education event outdoors - combined with a focus on wellness of body and mind for all of us - could help vet professionals to be the very best that they could be - and so serve our patients better.
“Everyone there was part of something innovative and refreshing I felt – the delegates, the exhibitors, the team who have worked year-round to create the event, and the fantastic speakers. I’m very grateful to all of them and I sincerely hope that this feeling remains strong for each and every one all year round. The resonant theme this year was ‘kindness’ – to ourselves, to each other, to the families of animals and the animals we are lucky enough to take care of. Nobody is a nobody at VET Festival, and never will be. In that field, we’re all equal, no matter what we do in the vet profession - we all matter - we all want the same thing, which is wellness for each other and the animals we serve - and importantly, we’re all in it together for the greater good, rain or shine.”
Nicole Cooper, Managing Director, Events Division, Fitz All Media, said: “We are all delighted by the support of the industry and welcomed over 1,900 delegates, a 12% increase and 60 exhibitors – a 28% increase on 2018. VET Festival continues to grow because its unique format, half top-flight congress, half festival, offers a laid back and fun environment in which delegates can learn, catch up with friends and have fun. We’re delighted with the response to this year’s event and are already planning to make next year’s event even better.”