PetMassage Canine Aquatic Massage Demo

By PetMassage | December 23, 2013 |

Tensor Fasciae Latae

By PetMassage | December 20, 2013 |

Full Title: Tensor Fasciae Latae

Author: Julie McHale

Date of Publication: January 1, 2017


Research Paper Text:

What is the TFL? Tensor Fasciae Latae

The tensor fasciae latae is a muscle of the thigh. The Latin name for this muscle roughly translates to English as “the muscle that stretches the band on the side”. The word tensor comes from the Latin verb meaning “to stretch”. Fascia is the Latin term for “band”. The word latae is the genitive form of the Latin word lata meaning “side”. (Wikipedia)

Dog and feline:

Origin: Lower edge of the front end of the pelvis; the surface of the gluteus medius.

Insertion: Into the fascia covering the thigh muscles

Structure: The triangular muscle separates into two forms on the surface. The muscle belly ends on the thigh; its lower edge is directed downward and forward from the upper end of the femur. The Sartorius, not the TFL, is the leading muscle on the front of the thigh.

Function: flexor of the hip joint, extensor of the stifle joint, tensor of the fascia latae, draws the limb forward in the cranial movement of the stride.

Canine Anatomy: A Systematic Study by Donald R. Adams

Muscles: Tensor Fasciae Latae

The cranial femoral muscles include the TFL and quadriceps femoris. The TFL is a short double-bellied muscle situated on the proximal lateral surface of the femoral region between the Sartorius muscle craniomedially the middle gluteous muscle proximally and the biceps femoris muscle caudally. The TFL muscle arises from the tuber coxae and inserts on the fascia latae.

The cranial gluteal nerve arises from the lumbosacral trunk; crosses the dorsal surface of the ilium near the cranial margin of the major ischiatic notch with the cranial gluteal vessels and innervates the middle gluteus, deep gluteus, and TFL muscles.

Dog stifle joint (knee)

Musculature of Dog Stifle Joint

There are two groups of muscles in the dog stifle: those that extend the joint and those that flex it. Below is a list of these muscles and the nerves responsible for their stimulation Muscles extending: Quadriceps femoral nerve. Tensor fasciae latae – cranial gluteal nerve. Biceps femoris – caudal gluteal, tibial nerves.

Semitendinosus –tibial nerve. Semimembranosus – tibial nerve. Muscles flexing: Gracilis – obturator nerve. Gastrocnemius – tibial nerve. Superficial digital flexor – tibial nerve.


The piriformis arises from the ventral surface of the sacrum and inserts on the greater trochanter deep to the tendon of the gluteus medius. Both muscles extend the hip joint and both, inserting lateral to the hip joint, have some action in abduction. The cranial part of the tensor fasciae latae, the cranial belly of the Sartorius, and the rectus femoris of the quadriceps act to extend the knee (stifle) joint and to flex the hip joint. Owing to the difference in the mass to be moved, the action of these muscles is chiefly to extend the more distal knee joint, which has the lesser mass. The caudal belly of the Sartorius acts to flex the hip and the knee joints. The caudal part of the tensor fasciae latae also acts to flex the hip joint; it has no action on the knee joint.

Tensor Fasciae Latae m.

Origin: Tuber coaxe

Insertion: Cranial part: fascia lata, and by that means, the patella and patellar ligament; caudal part: lateral lip of the facies aspera.

The Healthy Way to Stretch Your Dog: Sasha Foster/Ashley Foster

The bent leg stretches the gluteal muscle group; the straight leg stretches the hamstring muscle group.

Balance Your Dog: Canine Massage C. Sue Furman, PhD

The two largest muscles on the lateral surface of the thigh are the biceps femoris, which extends the hip, stifle, and tarsus, and flexes the stifle; and the TFL which flexes the hip and stifle.


Hip and sacroiliac disease: selected disorders and their management with physical therapy.

Many problems in the hip area show movement dysfunctions of the hip joint in combination with the lumbar spine, sacroiliac joint, neurodynamic structures, and the muscular systems. Muscle strain injuries pertinent to the canine hip have been reported in the iliopsoas, pectinues, gracilis, Sartorius, TFL, rectus femoris, and semitendinosus muscles. Physical diagnoses of this type of injury require palpitation skills and the ability to specifically stretch the suspected musculotendinous tissue. Treatments shall incorporate modalities, stretches, specific exercises, and advisement on return to normal activity. Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) is a common finding in many large breed dogs. Physical treatments, preventative therapies, and rehabilitation could have a large role to play in the management of nonsurgical CHD patients with the goal to create the best possible musculoskeletal environment for pain-free hip function and to delay or prevent the onset of degenerative joint disease. Osteoarthritic hip joints can benefit from early detection and subsequent treatment. Physical therapists have long utilized manual testing techniques and clinical reasoning to diagnose early-onset joint osteoarthritis and therapeutic treatments consisting of correcting muscle dysfunctions, relieving pain, joint mobilizations, and advisement on lifestyle modifications could be equally beneficial to the canine patient. As well, sacroiliac joint dysfunctions may also afflict the dog. An understanding of the anatomy and biomechanics of the canine sacroiliac joint and application of clinical assessment and treatment techniques from the human field may be substantially beneficial for dogs suffering from lumbopelvic or hindlimb issues.


From Mark Hocking

Pressure release and stretch treatment of a canine tensor fasciae latae trigger point
A trigger point in the dog’s tensor fasciae latae muscle is treated by applying constant gentle pressure to the most tender spot for approximately one minute and following with a stretch of the hip flexor muscles

Canine Massage: A complete reference manual

BY: Jean-Pierre Hourdebaught

The hip attachment of the TFL area just below the point of the hip is a very critical spot. This is where both the TFL muscle and the iliopsoas muscle originate. These two muscles are strong hip flexors. Furthermore, the TFL muscle plays a role in extending the stifle during retraction of the hind leg.

When this trouble spot is stressed, the dog will show discomfort on the same side when turning and will tend to throw his leg outward during protraction. Be careful and very gentle when starting to work this area. If the area appears very tender at first touch, use the ice massage technique prior to the treatment to numb the nerve endings.

Stir up the circulation in the area with the SEW approach. Apply compressions with a moderate to heavy pressure (5-12 lbs) along the TFL muscle. Then use kneading to relax muscle fibers and prevent the formation of SP36 and SP 37, intersperse with effleurage. Apply cross-fiber frictions over the entire muscle to loosen the muscle fibers. Alternate with some effleurages every 20 seconds. After the massage, apply cold to ease the nerve endings and flush the blood circulation in that area. Finish with the WES approach to thoroughly drain the area.

To finish this routine, apply lots of light stroking over the entire dogs body to give it a sense of relaxation.

Complete your massage with a general stretching routine of the dog which is particularly good to contribute to the positive effect of your massage work. After this massage routine, some light exercising for the dog is recommended as a good follow up but keep any lateral work (circles) to a minimum at first, especially if the shoulder and TFL muscles were tight.

Wobble boards are used to stimulate balance and proprietception for injured animals as well as for sports dogs during training for muscle development and coordination.

Patellofemoral Joint

By PetMassage | December 20, 2013 |

Full Title: Patellofemoral Joint

Author: Allison Mourad

Date of Publication: December 20, 2013


Research Paper Text:

The patellofemoral joint is located in the hind leg of a canine and plays a key role in dynamic mobility. This joint enables the dog to sit, walk, run, jump and move about in all directions. The patellofemoral joint, in combination with other joints of the knee, allows the dog not only to bend its hind legs, but provides shock absorption. This joint is one of the most important joints in a canine’s body. It plays an essential part in carrying the body weight in a forward motion, such as running and walking, and in vertical directions such jumping. The purpose of this paper is to explain the biomechanics of the patellofemoral joint in the canine and to illustrate some common problems often caused by abnormalities in this joint.


The knee joint or stifle is one of the most complicated joints in a canine’s body. Consisting of three bones, the thigh bone (femur), the shin bone (tibia) and the kneecap (patella) all which make-up two joints, the tibiofemoral and patellofemoral joints.


The patellofemoral joint is made up of the patella and the groove in the concave region at the lower end of the femur known as the trochlear groove. The trochlear groove is cartilage-covered and it is in this groove that the patella slides. The patella is a somewhat rounded triangular shaped bone, located cranially to the joint and is the largest sesamoid bone in the body. The patella is embedded in the femoral quadriceps tendon and at the bottom of the tendon, below the patella; it becomes the patellar ligament attaching to the tibia at the tibial tuberosity. (See figure below)


Cartilage is a thin, elastic tissue that protects the bone and makes certain that the joint surfaces can slide easily over each other. In the knee joint, it ensures supple knee movement. “Cartilage on the undersurface of the patella is the thickest of any found in the body. This thick joint cartilage acts as a cushion, absorbing shock in the greatest weight bearing joint in the body during the process of deceleration.”2 The entire system is constantly lubricated by synovial joint fluid to help reduce friction. It works so that there is total freedom of motion between the structures.


The patellofemoral joint is a gliding synovial joint. The strong quadriceps muscle in the front of the thigh helps to extend the knee joint while in the back of the thigh; the hamstring muscle helps to flex the knee joint. During this complex interaction of muscle, ligaments and tendons, the patella glides smoothly across the trochlear groove on the femur. The patellofemoral joint must be mobile enough to allow for a smooth gliding action, yet at the same time constrain the patella enough so that it does not deviate from within the groove.


Imagine a dog running across the grass, chasing a ball or jumping to catch a Frisbee, when all of a sudden he yelps in pain and pulls his hind leg up off the ground. He starts limping around for a few minutes and may be seen shaking and extending his leg before regaining use of it. This happens often, causing a brief bout of skipping or lameness, so much so that the dog sometimes doesn’t notice. Other times a dog may be affected much more severely, holding their leg up for days and exhibiting significant discomfort. This affliction is likely caused by an abnormality involving the patellofemoral joint that plays a key role in the canine’s mobility. Problems with the patellofemoral joint are particularly noteworthy. According to the American College of Veterinarian Surgeons, “Patellar luxation is one of the most common orthopedic conditions in dogs, diagnosed in 7% of puppies.”1 It is a condition that is widely believed to be genetically inherited.

Patellar dislocation or subluxation is a condition where the patella slides outside of the trochlear groove when the knee is flexed. In some dogs, because of malformation or trauma, the ridges forming the patellar groove are not prominent, and a too-shallow groove is created. In a dog with shallow grooves, the patella will luxate (jump out of the groove) to the inside (medially) or to the outside (laterally). “In young puppies with severe medial patellar luxation, the rear legs often present a “bow-legged” appearance that worsens with growth. Large breed dogs with lateral patellar luxation may have a “knocked-in knee” appearance.”3 When the patella luxates from the groove of the femur, it usually cannot return to its normal position until the quadriceps muscle relaxes and increases in length. This explains why the affected dog may be forced to hold his leg up for a few minutes or so after the initial incident. While the muscles are contracted and the patella is luxated from its correct position, the joint is held in the flexed or bent position. This misalignment depicting the patella outside of the patellar groove can be seen on X-ray, MRI, CT scan and palpation during an orthopedic examination. Patellar subluxation can often lead to complex skeletal abnormalities, malformation of the leg bones and abnormal alignment of the hips are often seen.


“Patellar subluxation is quite common in Pomeranians, dachshunds, toy and miniature poodles, Yorkshire terriers and Boston bulldogs. It is also seen occasionally in Boykin spaniels, cocker spaniels, chow chows, Belington terriers, Australian terriers, Japanese chin, shar-pei, mi-ki, Lhasa Apsos, Tibetans spaniels, Tibetan terriers, and Labrador retrievers (more or less in that order of frequency).” 4 Research indicates that patellar problems in larger dogs appear to actually start out as hip problems. There is an excellent article titled “The Luxating Knee” found at (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals website) which explains in depth the tendencies toward subluxation among breeds and how the symptoms are exhibited in each case.


Symptoms associated with patellar luxation vary greatly with the severity of the disease or extent of trauma. Symptoms exhibited may also depend on how long the problem has existed. When the patella luxates the dog will pull the limb off the ground. When it returns to its normal position in the trochlear groove, the dog will place normal weight on the affected limb. Owners will occasionally describe a popping noise in their pet’s knee or will be able to feel the instability in the knee cap when touching their pet’s back legs. Most dogs do not seem to experience much pain when the patella luxates, they simply not use the limb with the patella outside of its normal position. Most owners just notice that their pet begins to occasionally skip when it runs. Then, after a few steps, the leg usually returns to normal and the dog seems unconcerned. “Those most severely affected may not even use their rear legs, walking by balancing themselves on their front legs like a circus act, holding their hindquarters completely off the ground.”5


Surgical treatment is not necessary in every individual with this condition, however research indicates that surgery is usually the treatment of choice. Surgery can alter both the affected structures and the movement of the patella. Some of the more common procedures are:

Trochlear modification – The groove at the base of the femur may be surgically deepened to better contain the knee cap.

Lateral imbrication – The knee cap itself may be “tied down” laterally (on the outside) to prevent it from deviating medially (toward the inside.)

Tibial crest transposition – The bony protuberance at the site of the attachment of the quadriceps tendon on the tibia may be cut off and then re-attached in a more lateral position, or more medial position.6

Research indicates that all of these procedures work well and the type performed depends on the individual case and the clinician. Depending upon the procedure, dogs usually respond well and should completely recover within 30-60 days. “Most vets suggest that beginning three weeks or so after surgery, physical therapy, swimming, hydrotherapy and range of motion exercises should begin to help prevent muscle contraction and reluctance to use the leg.”7

There was more information pertaining to alternative treatments for humans with patellofemoral issues than there were for canines. However, I did find one website which was remarkable similar in its treatment protocol for canines. They recommended regular exercise such as walking and hydrotherapy to strengthen the canines quadriceps muscles, and suggested massage to increase muscle tone for flexibility around the joints.8 The muscles and ligaments that surround the patellofemoral joint must work together to bring stabilization to the joint and maintain normal patellar motion. Deep stroking massage increases blood flow and helps relieve discomfort and tightness in muscles surrounding the patellofemoral joint. Compression, joint mobilization, rocking and positional release increase flexibility in joints and strengthen tendons and ligaments at the sites of attachment.9


The patellofemoral joint is a complex significant joint in the canine body. It is crucial to a dog’s health and well being. When this joint is afflicted through trauma or other inherited defect, it brings not only great discomfort to the dog, but greatly inhibits the dog’s mobility. Often times the joint is so badly impaired that it requires surgical intervention. However, as usual, proper nutrition and a physical strength and conditioning regime can maintain a canine’s muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones to help the joint remain stabilized. Should the joint become afflicted or surgery be performed, massage therapy is a great adjunct therapy/modality to bring back optimum functionality and performance to the joint.


  • American College of Veterinarian Surgeons (https//
  • Knee Extensor Mechanism Problems Are You Weak in the Knees? (
  • American College of Veterinarian Surgeons ( https//
  • Knee Problems In Your Dog (
  • Luxating Patella: A Knee Problem in Dogs, Drs. Foster & smith, Inc. (
  • Luxating Patella: A Knee Problem in Dogs, Drs. Foster & smith, Inc. (
  • Knee Problems In Your Dog (
  • Rudinger, Jonathan, Art and Essence of Canine Massage, PetMassageTM for Dogs, 2012


  • Patella (
  • Kneecap Dislocation In Dogs ( K_WiF)
  • Definition of Patellofemoral Joint (
  • Knee Extensor Mechanism Problems Are You Weak in the Knees? (
  • American College of Veterinarian Surgeons (https//
  • Luxating Patella, Drs. Foster & Smith
  • Patellar Luxation (
  • Luxating Patella (
  • Stifle Joint Anatomy (
  • Dog Anatomy and Coloring Atlas, by Robert A. Kainer, DVM, MS and Thomas McCracken, MS

Use your intention to become more secure

By Jonathan Rudinger | December 19, 2013 |

Each time you rock back into your heels, use your intention to power up. Visualize the energy of the earth, Gaia, moving into your soles of your feet (your “understandings” –nod of acknowledgement and appreciation to Louise Hay for noting the connection). You can also use this opportunity to ground yourself. Visualize the flow of energy moving down and out, rather than up and in.

FYI (Source Wikipedia) Gaia (pron.: /ˈɡ.ə/ or /ˈɡ.ə/; from Ancient Greek Γαῖα, a poetical form of Γῆ, “land” or “earth”;[ also Gaea, or Ge) was the goddess or personification of Earth in ancient Greek religion one of the Greek primordial deities. Gaia was the great mother of all: the heavenly gods, the Titans and the Giants were born from her union with Uranus (the sky), while the sea-gods were born from her union with Pontus (the sea).


By Jonathan Rudinger | December 19, 2013 |

The quality of your thoughts plays an important role in your canine massage. Dogs can smell your thoughts. They can smell your body’s reactions to each thought. Even the most fleeting memory of a happy experience will be supported by your hormonal system; which affects your respiration and subtly shifts the pH of your perspiration. Happy thoughts are expansive. Happy thoughts make you breathe deeply. They open the pores and increase circulation. They’re good for you.  You smell better when you are happy. Sad thoughts are contractive and sour. Sad thoughts make you hold your breath, breathe shallowly, become smaller and more acidic. 

We cannot control our thoughts. They slip in behind the eyes when we are not looking! We can, however, manage them. When you notice that you are experiencing anything that is not immediately part of the PetMassage, identify the thought and acknowledge its quality. Then, after you have honored it, redirect your attention back to the dog in your hands. The dog will then smell your connection with him/her.

Anastasia’s Arf-irmation

By Anastasia Rudinger | December 19, 2013 |

My positive attitude creates my successful business.

Inviting a dog into your space

By Jonathan Rudinger | December 19, 2013 |

This is from the new PetMassage DVD titled, “Dog Handling in Canine Massage, Yoga Consciousness”. Turning away from a dog that is advancing toward you (physically or energetically) does not deter him/her. It invites.

Projecting leadership

By Jonathan Rudinger | December 19, 2013 |

From the moment that you are with the dog to the moment that the dog is returned to the Pet Parent, you must project your role as leader, alpha. This will make both of your massage experiences easier and more effective. The dog will be more compliant and receptive; you will be more present and giving.  This is from the new PetMassage DVD titled, “Dog Handling in Canine Massage, Yoga Consciousness”.


By Jonathan Rudinger | December 19, 2013 |

Scratching is the raking of the skin, coat or area on or above the body with fingernails. Scratching stimulates awareness on, in and beneath the coat and skin as it affects cardiovascular, neurologic and lymphatic circulation. Dogs can tolerate vigorous movements. Visualize a dog powerfully scratching his chin or ear.

Anastasia’s Arf-irmation

By Anastasia Rudinger | December 19, 2013 |

I remind myself to breathe and smile.