PetMassage Vectoring can support your dog’s recovery after paralysis tick poisoning

Full Title: PetMassage Vectoring can support your dog’s recovery after paralysis tick poisoning

Author: Vivienne Pastars

Date of Publication: January 25, 2018


Research Paper Text:

PetMassage Vectoring can support your dog’s recovery after paralysis tick poisoning

Vivienne Pastars

January 25, 2018


Post treatment care of a dog recovering from paralysis tick poisoning requires understanding, observation and vigilance from the owner to avoid further complications.

PetMassage Vectoring (still-holding) is a holistic and non-chemical aid that supports and assists in the recovery of the dog’s body systems using the principles of touch pressure and fascia release.

In Australia, thousands of dogs are treated every year for paralysis tick (Ixodes holocyclus) poisoning, sadly there is still a 5% mortality rate despite the advances in preventative medications.

In 2015 two companies released oral medication that offers tick protection for 12 weeks. The medications belong to the class of isoxazoline-substitued benzamide derivatives and act to inhibit the arthropod (ticks) nervous system. Regardless, no single product guarantees 100% protection against paralysis ticks and daily examination of the dog for the presence of ticks is the most effective form of prevention.

The size of the paralysis tick can range from a pinhead, barely able to be detected, to the size of a human thumbnail (4mm). The latter being fully engorged on canine blood while secreting a potent neurotoxin laced saliva into the dog’s bloodstream.

Neurotoxin inhibits the nervous system and left unattended will paralyse muscle tissue in the skeletal muscles, respiratory muscles, laryngeal muscles, oesophageal muscle and heart muscle. The medical treatment is costly involving intensive veterinary care, hospitalisation for 2-3 days, artificial ventilation, tick antitoxin serum (TAS) and antibiotics. A potent cocktail for any dog to endure.

Clinical symptoms can present in 3-4 days however in smaller dogs this can be within 24 hours so if you recognise any of the following signs it’s imperative to contact your vet immediately. Your dog’s health and wellbeing are in your hands.

A change in the sound of the bark – laryngeal muscles

Vomiting and/or gagging or refusing food –  laryngeal muscles, oesophageal muscle

Unsteadiness of the pelvic limbs which deteriorates to paralysis, inability to urinate and later to stand – skeletal muscles and urinary system

Inability to urinate – urinary system

Difficulty breathing (slow and laboured) – respiratory muscles, heart muscle

Tick paralysis after care is vitally important and includes keeping your pet quiet and cool for a minimum of 2 weeks to reduce the possibility of cardiotoxicity (heart muscle damage and inability to pump and circulate blood).  Feeding small frequent meals is recommended and watching to see that the dog is urinating freely.

In essence you are your pet’s carer, watching and assisting as the dogs body systems repair and return to normal.


Ref Calming Effects of Deep Touch Pressure in Patients with Autistic Disorder, College Students, and Animals – TEMPLE GRANDIN, Ph.D.

Deep touch pressure is the type of surface pressure that is exerted in most types of firm touching, holding, stroking, petting of animals, or swaddling. In contrast, light touch pressure is a more superficial stimulation of the skin, such as tickling, very light touch, or moving hairs on the skin. In animals, the tickle of a fly landing on the skin may cause a cow to kick, but the firm touch of the farmer’s hands quiets her. Occupational therapists have observed that a very light touch alerts the nervous system, but deep pressure is relaxing and calming.


All animals, including humans are born with and held together by a net of connective tissue known as fascia. Laying just beneath the skin this soft tissue webbing connects the skin to the muscles and bones, surrounds and connects organs, encapsulates blood vessels, muscle fibres, and forms ligaments, tendons, joint capsules and periosteum (a dense fibrous membrane covering the surface of bones). Every organ in the body, including the brain, is encapsulated in this unique connective tissue. Fascia is a whole body communication system.

A good analogy for fascia is a spider’s web. If you touch one part of the web, the entire web moves and provides immediate information. There is a connection between emotional patterns, depression, anxiety, trauma and the fascial system. The dog’s body retains memories in the fascia, these memories and emotional references are connected to body positions and movement patterns or holding patterns.

Injury or immobilisation of the fascia can result in reduced electrical conductivity, stress, poor posture, restricted movement, lower strength and endurance. Overall impacting on the dog’s ability to move and learn.

At a cellular level the dog has an innate memory of correct shape, healthy movement and how it feels to live free of pain and restriction. Facilitating the gentle release of fascia memories, emotions and holding patterns will allow the dog to become more flexible and balanced, physically, mentally and emotionally.


You can help your dog regain a natural state of homeostasis (equilibrium) with the gentle touch technique known as vectoring.

Vectoring forms the opening and closing sequences to a full PetMassage session as prescribed by Jonathan Rudinger, founder and director of the PetMassage Training and Research Institute, Toledo Ohio USA.

PetMassage Vectoring is an ordered sequence of still-holding two areas of the dog’s body at the same time. You will be observing the musculo-skeletal movement under your hands in the channel, or vector, between them. Vectoring is active observation.

Preformed over fascia planes, vectoring helps to release deep holding patterns, promotes the movement of chemicals inside the tissues, releases toxins and much more. Vectoring with your dog once a day, on alternate days, will give the dog time to integrate, assimilate and eliminate.

Vectoring draws the dog’s awareness and attention to specific areas of the body where the dog can focus on inner sensations, reacquainting themselves while in a calm and safe environment. In essence, you are helping the dog help themselves by supporting their inner healing.

Vectoring allows you to feel through your hands, as opposed to looking with your eyes. Feel the texture of the hair, the temperature of the coat, the minute movements in the fascia and muscles, the action of the lungs and the beating of the heart. Every movement means something.

While preforming the vectoring sequence be aware of your breath. Take long, deep breaths in, and exhale out slowly. Allow at least three breaths per still-hold position, or hold until you sense that your hands are being released and are ready to move on.

If your dog prefers to sit or lay down, be flexible and accommodating of your dog’s feelings. Remember, at this moment they may not have the energy to stand and you will still be able to access their body and complete the vectoring sequence.

Dorsal refers to the upper side of the dogs body therefore one of your hands may be referred to as the dorsal hand.

Ventral refers to the front or anterior of the dog. The ventral aspects of the dog include the chest, abdomen, shins, palms and soles.

It is important to maintain contact with your dog with a least one hand for the duration of the session. Lifting both hands off the dog is a signal that the session is over and they may leave.


Chest and middle of back

Place one hand on the chest, cupping the breastbone in the palm and your other hand on the spine over the rib cage, behind the withers.

You are holding between your hands the contents of the ribcage. The heart and pericardium, the lungs and the lymph nodes on the underside of the spine.

Withers to croup

Place one hand over the withers, on top of the shoulder blades just behind the neck and the other on the croup, on top of the pelvic girdle where it angles towards the tail.

You are holding between your hands the thoracic and lumbar spine with all the associated ligaments, muscles and lymph nodes. This is the pathway of the central nervous system.


Standing behind the dog cup both hip joints in your palms.

You are holding vulnerable hips and the hip ligaments that provide support and movement including the three bones, Ilium, ischium and pubis, on either side of the pelvic girdle. Within the pelvic girdle are the organs of reproduction and elimination. You are also holding the caudal (tail end) of the spine.

Heart to heart

Sliding both hands forward from the previous still-hold position, place your hands on the ribs just behind the dog’s elbows. Between your hands lay the heart, pericardium, lungs and esophagus. Feel the heart beat and the dogs breathing through your hands.

Belly and back

Your hands are positioned so that the dorsal upper hand is on the middle of the back and the ventral hand is cupping the belly at the back of the rib cage.

Your dorsal hand is containing the middle of the spine, spinal ligaments, muscles and lymph nodes, the central nervous system that flows through the spine, lungs, kidneys, adrenal glands and intestines.

Your ventral hand covers part of the rib cage, the diaphragm, liver, spleen, pancreas, stomach and small intestine. The ventral hand is supporting the body processes of digestion, absorption, and elimination. The stomach is intimately connected to the dog’s emotional response to stress, the Limbic System. Still-holding gently stimulates and supports the nerves in this area.

Back to chest

Leaving your dorsal hand in place, return to the start position to complete the sequence. Breathe and relax while your hands remain on the dog.

By removing both hands you are showing the dog that the vectoring session is over.

Observe how your dog feels. Does the dog feel and look calmer, more relaxed. Does the dog’s body feel softer? Did you notice if the dog yawned or stretched or gave a good shake?

Continue to observe your dog’s actions for the next 24 hours. Make sure there is clean, fresh water readily available with free access to urinate. Keep the dog’s environment calm, quiet and safe to assists in recovery.

This is a calming touch shared between human and dog. You will both benefit from quiet time and conscious breathing. Your natural, flowing rhythm will develop as you learn the sequence.


PetMassage™ Vectoring is a gentle touch technique that calms the central nervous system and facilitates fascia release. Using this technique will holistically return the dog back to a natural state of health and well-being.


Art and Essence of Canine Massage PetMassage for Dogs – Jonathan Rudinger

Calming Effects of Deep Touch Pressure in Patients with Autistic Disorder, College Students, and Animals – TEMPLE GRANDIN, Ph.D.

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