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What are Muscular Injuries? - Muscular Injuries Series PART 1

Updated: Feb 21, 2023

All dogs, regardless of their age, breed, size, or activity levels are at risk of sustaining a muscular injury! This can be very upsetting for you the owner and painful for your dog.

Muscular injuries can be difficult to rehabilitate and take a long time to heal. In serious cases this could mean; loss of performance, reduced range of motion, altered gait, re-injury and even having to retire your dog from their favourite sport/activity.

However, if identified early, effectively treated and carefully managed many muscular injuries have a good prognosis and outcome.

Muscle structure

Muscle accounts for 45% to 50% of a dog’s body weight and is divided into 3 different groups: skeletal, cardiac and smooth.

Dogs have approximately 700 skeletal muscles which attach onto their 320 bones (length of tail depending). The main function of skeletal muscle is to produce movement, by repeated contraction and relaxation. Other functions include maintaining posture, producing body heat and providing structural stability to the joints.

Skeletal muscle is constructed entirely of individual, elastic, muscle fibres (cells). These are then wrapped together in bundles called fascicles and then gathered together to form the main belly of the muscle (thick fleshy part). The muscle belly thins at each end, forming a tendon which connects to bone. (See diagram)

Common types of muscular injuries

When a muscle is injured the muscle tissue has become damaged in the following ways

· Strain

A tear to the muscle or tendon caused by overstretching or overloading.

· Trigger Points

A hyperirritable band of focal point tension whereby the muscle fibres have stayed in a contracted, adhered state.

· Adhesions

Dense collections of scar tissue that bind together within the belly of the muscle, due to tears in the muscle fibres.

· Spasm

A sudden involuntary contraction of a muscle or group of muscle which fails to release, often due to the muscle being overworked, injured, weakened or under stress.

· Hypertonicity

Chronic contraction of muscle (too much resting tone).

· Hypertrophy

An increase in muscle volume/ mass due to the enlargement of the muscle fibres.

· Atrophy

The decrease in muscle strength due to the wasting away of muscle mass or decline in muscle fibres.

Follow along in the series to discover more about each of these Muscular injuries!

Benefits of Canine Massage

Clinical Canine Massage is a results’ driven therapy where improvements to a dog’s mobility, activity levels and pain management is often achieved in just 1-3 sessions. In clinical trials with Winchester University 95% of dogs responded positively to clinical canine massage therapy and typically improvements are seen after the 1st treatment.

To read more about this ground-breaking study, click on the link below.

Canine massage helps improve your dog’s anatomical, psychological and physiological state!


· Aid in the repair of torn or ruptured muscles

· Remodel restrictive scar tissue

· Break down adhesions

· Release trigger points

· Reduce muscular tension and stiffness

· Improve flexibility and elasticity

· Improve joint range of movement


· Reduce depression

· Reduce fear and anxiety

· Reduce stress

· Reduce pain

· Improving mood and demeanour

· Improved motivation


· Improve circulation by removing waste products and toxins from tissues and delivering fresh oxygen and nutrients

· Aid in lymphatic drainage, reducing inflammation

· Reduce pain

· Reduce muscle fatigue

· Aid in relaxation by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest)

Therapists of the Canine Massage Guild aim to offer affordable, effective, and ethical Clinical Canine Massage Therapy for dogs of all breeds, sizes, and ages regardless of whether they are pets, working or sporting dogs. We aim to ease your dog’s discomfort and improve their mobility and quality of life.

Therapists acknowledge the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 and Exemptions Order 2015, therefore you will need to obtain a signed veterinary consent from before your dog’s first treatment.

Please get in touch if you would like further information about muscular injuries and the benefits of canine massage or click on the link below to find your local Guild therapist.

Canine Massage for results you can see and your dog can feel!

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