Latissimus Dorsi

Full Title: Latissimus Dorsi

Author: Kathy Clark

Date of Publication: February 27, 2012


Research Paper Text:

There are two main groups of muscles in the back of a canine the Longissimus Dorsi and the Latissimus Dorsi. These two groups work together to move the dog. The muscle toward the dog’s head is the latissimus, which pulls the body forward. As part of the Teres Major muscle group, the latissimus assists the shoulders in pulling the dog forward when running. Since there is no boney attachment in the axial skeleton (there is no clavicle in the canine), this means that muscular strength is of the utmost importance to the full functionality of the front limb.

The teres major muscle originates from the caudal edge of the scapula and inserts into the eminence if the proximal, medial surface if the humerus. The latissimus dorsi shares a common tendon of insertion with this muscle group. These muscles are all involved in forward propulsion, drawing the trunk forward when the front leg is fixed. /the tensor fascia antebrachii utilizes the fascia on the lateral side of the latissimus dorsi which can mean that a malfunctioning muscle complex may have an effect on elbow extension.

Additionally, the teres major group assists in the return of the forelimb to neutral from an outstretched position or to move the body from an outstretched front limb. Essentially the latissimus dorsi assists in the action of flexion, adduction and internal rotation of the shoulder joint.

If there are problems with the latissimus dorsi, there could be stiffness in the shoulders and notable spasms behind the shoulder blade. Applying heat, such as a heating pad or hands, will help with the circulation in the muscle. Passive touch, not pressure, is all that is needed for the latissimus dorsi muscle.


  • Backing up your dog with Massage, Maria K. Duthie c.e.f.m.p.; Article,
  • Anatomy, Biomechanic, Physiology, Diagnosis and Treatment of Teres Major Strains in the Canine: Four Leg Rehabilitation Therapy & The Canine Fitness Centre, Ltd, Calgary, AB, Canada, The Canadian Horse and Animal Physical Rehabilitation Assn., The Animal Rehab Institute, Loxahatchee, Florida USA; Laurie Edge-Hughes, BScPT, CAFCI, CCRT ; Proceedings of the RVC 2nd Annual Veterinary Physiotherapy Conference, Suppl. 2004.

Leave a Reply