2001-Tue Dec 12 12:36:41 EST 2017
Vetstreet. All rights reserved. Powered by Brightspot.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
We probably all remember Aesop’s fable about Androcles removing a thorn from a lion’s paw and being rewarded later on when the lion saves his life. But do animals really come to us when they’re hurting? The answer is often yes, although we don’t always realize it.
I have to admit, I was blind to pets presenting themselves to a human caretaker for help until I was in the process of writing The Healing Power of Pets in 2000. That’s a little embarrassing coming from not just a pet lover but a veterinarian who is trained to look past the obvious and see what lies beneath. What I learned changed my dog’s life and made me a better veterinarian and pet owner.
As part of the research for my book, I traveled to Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine to interview integrative medicine expert Narda Robinson, DVM. With a dog in front of uson the floor ofan exam room, she told me how dogs and cats will lick or rub areas that hurt or are inflamed, just as we might rub our own sore shoulder.
When I went back home to Idaho, she suggested I should start observing my pets to see if they were rubbing certain areas of their bodies on the couch or licking a particular area.
“You don’t really even need to catch them in the act,” she said. “Just look for areas where the fur is roughed up from rubbing or licking. When you see the spots, feel them. You typically find that they are warmer from inflammation than surrounding tissues.”
When I asked her what to do after I saw the sore areas and felt the inflammation, she advised gently massaging those spots, using a gentle, steady touch and avoiding bony prominences. Most importantly, never hold pets against their will. (And if a pet is coming to you with a sore spot, it is crucial that you find out what the underlying cause is.)
I filed Dr. Robinson's advice away, not realizing how soon it would come in handy.
A few days after I got home, I was working at my desk, pounding away on the keyboard like a woodpecker, when our elderly Wire Fox Terrier, Scooter, came up the stairs to the loft where I write and over to my desk to be petted. I looked down, and I could see that the fur over her left hip was roughed up.
I took my hands off the keyboard and put them on that spot, and I could feel the heat. I started massaging Scooter as Dr.Robinsonhad instructed, and soon Scooter was groaning with delight.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Bartonella is a type bacteria that can be transmitted to cats, dogs and humans from exposure to infected fleas and…
Want to give your pup yummy, low-calorie treats? We’ve got the skinny on which foods are OK to feed him.
Not sure about food puzzles? Our veterinarian reveals why the payoff for your pet is well worth any extra work.
With these simple dental care tips, you can help keep your canine’s adorable smile shiny and healthy for life.
The friendly and inquisitive LaPerm has an easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.