Structural Muscle Groups

By PetMassage | December 30, 2011 |

Full Title: Structural Muscle Groups

Author: Goldie Berencsi

Date of Publication: December 30, 2011


Research Paper Text:

The muscle is a contractile tissue of animals and is derived from the mesodermal layer of embryonic germ cells. They are classified as skeletal, cardiac, or smooth muscles. Their function is to produce force and cause motion.

Smooth muscle= Smooth muscles are found within the internal organs such as the intestines, stomach, and bladder. They are involuntary muscles and are under the control of the autonomic nervous system.

There are 3 types of muscle tissue:

  • Smooth muscle= Smooth muscles are found within the internal organs such as the intestines, stomach, and bladder. They are involuntary muscles and are under the control of the autonomic nervous system.
  • Skeletal muscle= These muscles are called striated muscles and are voluntary muscles. They predominately attach to portions of the skeleton. They are involved with such things as walking, eating, tail wagging and eye movement.
  • Cardiac muscle= Cardiac muscle fibers are found in the heart and are involuntary muscles. Cardiac muscle is unique in that it is striated muscle, like skeletal muscle, but is not under voluntary control.

Each individual muscle is composed of many cells held together by connective tissue. Skeletal muscles attach to bones by means of connective tissue tendons, which are elastic and strong. When muscles contract, they pull on the tendons, which then pull on the bones and cause the limbs to move. Each muscle fiber receives its own nerve impulses, which trigger various motions. Once a signal or an impulse travels down the nerve to the muscle, the muscle fiber changes chemical energy into mechanical energy, and the result is muscle contraction.The muscles are located throughout the entire skeletal system and are attached to bones, other muscles and skin.

They account for about half the weight of an animal. Parts of the walls of hollow internal organs such as the heart, stomach and intestines, and blood vessels are composed of smooth muscles.

The muscular system is one of the largest systems in the dog’s body.

Each dog has 9 muscle groups, they are the head. neck, thorax, abdomen, pelvic area, pelvic and thoracic extremities, trunk and tail. Each muscle is connected to the bone by tendons and ligaments. The muscles can be under voluntary or involuntary control. Voluntary muscles, such as those found in the arms and legs, can be controlled by thought. Involuntary muscles are those that are automatically controlled by the nervous system and cannot be moved at will.

The primary function of muscles is to bring about movement to all or part of the dog’s body. Muscle is used to stabilize joints to prevent their collapse under a load. Smooth muscles maintain continence of the bladder and propel food through the bowel. Muscles also help to generate heat by shivering. Voluntary muscles can contract and pull, but they cannot push, so they must work in pairs that flex and extend. Extensor muscles straighten the limbs and attach to the bones, so the bones act as levers. The flexor muscles, which bend the joints, act to pick up the limb. Their partners, the extensor muscles, in turn contract to bring the limb back down. The abductor muscles move the limbs away from the midline, and the adductor muscles move the limbs toward the midline.

Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF)

By PetMassage | December 30, 2011 |

Full Title: Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF)

Author: Kathy Mayher

Date of Publication: December 30, 2011


Research Paper Text:

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is fluid found in the subarachnoid space, surrounding the brain and spinal cord. The subarachnoid space is the area between the tough outermost membrane layer (dura mater) and the softer innermost layer ( pia mater) that covers the brain and spinal column. The brain and the spinal cord are the two organs that form the central nervous system (CNS) (“Cerebrospinal Fluid Tap in Dogs”).

According to PetPlace, a website with a library of articles written by veterinarians and specialist, “The fluid resembles serum, and its purpose is to maintain equal pressure within the brain and spinal cord” (“Cerebrospinal Fluid Tap in Dogs”). A cerebrospinal fluid tap is the collection of this fluid for diagnostic purposes. Veterinarians collect a sample of this fluid to diagnose brain or spinal cord diseases. It is often performed after imaging techniques, such as computed tomography (CT scan) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to detect some abnormality in the central nervous system (“Cerebrospinal Fluid Tap in Dogs”).

Abnormalities may include inflammation, viral or bacterial infection, bleeding or suspected tumors (“Cerebrospinal Fluid Tap in Dogs”).

A cerebrospinal fluid tap may also be performed to deliver pain-relieving medication before a surgical procedure. It may also be performed to inject dye in the spinal column to detect an abnormal position of the spinal cord. After the dye is injected, x-rays are taken, this is known as a myelogram (“Cerebrospinal Fluid Tap in Dogs”).

There are two different types of taps: a cisternal tap and a lumbar tap (“Cerebrospinal Fluid Tap in Dogs”).

According to PetPlace, the process to performing a cisternal tap is, “the back of the top of the neck is shaved and sterilized. A needle is inserted at the base of the skull, and into the spinal column, passing through the dura mater and arachnoid membranes to the subarachnoid space” (“Cerebrospinal Fluid Tap in Dogs”). Then a syringe is attached to the spinal needle to draw out the fluid. The fluid can also be allowed to drip into a tube. Rapid withdraw of the spinal needle may result in rupture of vessels in the subarachnoid space causing the sample to be contaminated with blood (Vernau, “Cerebrospinal Fluid Assessment in Dogs and Cats”).

A lumbar tap, also known as a lumbar puncture, occurs on the lower back. The lower back is first sterilized, and then a spinal needle is inserted. A syringe is attached to the needle and fluid is withdrawn or the fluid is allowed to drip into a collection tube (“Cerebrospinal Fluid Tap in Dogs”).

The cerebrospinal fluid pressure is measured before and after the withdraw of fluid. The device used for measurement is called the manometer.

When the cerebrospinal fluid is under abnormally high pressure it will sometimes stream out of the needle hub and in spite of the attachment of the manometer, a large volume of fluid is lost. This result is an accurate reading of pressure (Palumbo, “The Role Of The Cerebrospinal Fluid Tap In The Neurological Examination Of The Dog”).

When the initial pressure is high and the final pressure is low it indicates a small reservoir of fluid. A tumor or lesion that is occupying space within the cranial cavity could be responsible. If there is interference with reabsorption of cerebrospinal fluid (meningitis or communication hydrocephalus) there will be a large fluid reservoir and a smaller difference between the initial and final readings (Palumbo, “The Role Of The Cerebrospinal Fluid Tap In The Neurological Examination Of The Dog”).

General anesthesia is necessary to perform the procedure. Pets undergoing this procedure usually receive a pre-anesthetic sedative and or analgesic drug to encourage relaxation. Because the procedure is performed under anesthesia, no pain is involved. There may be some discomfort following the procedure. The pain will vary among individual dogs (“Cerebrospinal Fluid Tap in Dogs”).

After the cerebrospinal fluid is obtained the color and character should be recorded. And due to the fragile cellular elements of this fluid, if smears (samples) are to be made, this should be done within 20 minutes of the collection. The two most important procedures are the cell counts and the protein concentration. The analysis of cerebrospinal fluid has been described as the central nervous system equivalent of the complete blood count. The primary function of CSF analysis in most cases is to assist in the diagnostic process by excluding the likelihood of certain diseases (Palumbo, “The Role Of The Cerebrospinal Fluid Tap In The Neurological Examination Of The Dog”). Dr. Vernau, an Assistant Professor at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California states, “As is the case with all tests, CSF analysis is only useful when the results are used in conjunction with the history, clinical findings, imaging studies and laboratory test” (“Cerebrospinal Fluid Assessment in Dogs and Cats”).

Measurement of total protein concentration in cerebrospinal spinal fluid is important in the diagnosis of neurologic disease; the protein concentration of CSF in normal dogs is 0.3g/L. A normal CSF analysis does not exclude the presence of disease. However abnormal CSF findings always indicate the presence of pathologic abnormality. An increase in the cellularity of CSF is called pleocytosis. The proportions of the different cell types present in CSF in disease vary according to the nature of the disease process and provide useful information for the diagnosis of neurologic disease (Vernau, “Cerebrospinal Fluid Assessment in Dogs and Cats”). Due to the accurateness of the CSF, it proves to be a useful diagnostic tool for veterinarians.

Works Cited

Hip Problems, Canine

By PetMassage | December 11, 2011 |

Full Title: Hip Problems, Canine

Author: Jean Ramalho

Date of Publication: December 19, 2011


Research Paper Text:

We all love our dogs and want to give them the best life possible – a life where they are happy, healthy and pain free. We are constantly monitoring their body language – from the way they walk (their gait), run and jump, to how they act during “play time”. We are always looking for a limp or something out of the ordinary. When it comes to senior dogs, most animal owners do not realize how their older dogs are subject to chronic pain. Most pet owners don’t see chronic pain as actual pain. Chronic pain will cause your dog to slow down. They are very good at hiding pain. Their survival skills make them tough, so you need to watch for the early signs of pain.

Some of the signs are:

  • Not as active
  • Less interaction with others in home
  • Eating less and starting to lose weight
  • Not going up or down stairs as frequent
  • Not going in and out of vehicles with ease

Just because genetics is mostly to blame for hip problems, it does not necessarily mean that we have control over whether or not our dogs have hip issues. It is also very important that we make sure they get enough exercise and that we watch their diet. Continuing proper nutrition throughout their life will benefit them greatly as they become older. One of the most important things we can do for our dogs is to keep them FIT! Do not let your dog put on any extra weight. The extra weight will put more pressure on any already unstable and painful hip joints, resulting in weakening the muscles and ligaments surrounding the joints. The ligament most affected is the thick “Capital Ligament” also known as the “Round Ligament”. This ligament holds the femoral head in place. It is the main tissue anchoring the femur to the hip. The hip joints are the most important in retaining balance, so it is extremely important to pay careful attention to the health of these joints.

The health of the “Capital Ligament” plays a key role in the development of Chronic Hip Disease. The earliest sign of hip problems is not the wear and tear of cartilage, but the swelling and inflammation of this ligament. Eventually, the ligament stretches, frays and finally ruptures as Chronic Hip Disease progresses. Then the severity of joint damage in Chronic Hip Disease is strongly correlated to the integrity of the Capital Ligament. The strength of this ligament varies greatly in different dogs. Exercise will strengthen the muscles around the joint to help stabilize it.

What can we do to help keep our dog’s Capital Ligament and hip joints flexible? As a pet owner, we can do a few things. A basic home health care of massaging the hip area with the capital Ligament, will prolong your dog’s quality of life. This daily home health care routine for your dog will play a major role in making your dog live a much more enjoyable life with less pain and with and with more ease of movements.

Lightly massaging this area will assist the blood and lymph circulation to bring more oxygen and nutrients to the various body parts, especially in the hip joint area.

Doing gentle stretching exercises will also help your dog’s joints stay flexible. However, be careful not to over exercise your dog, as this will make the hip joints painful.


  • Jean-Pierre Hourdebait, LMT: Animal Awareness Article
  • Wikipedia: Hip Dysplesia

Frontal Muscle

By PetMassage | December 9, 2011 |

Full Title: Frontal Muscle

Author: Cheryl Peacock

Date of Publication: December 9, 2011


Research Paper Text:

The frontal muscle of the canine is an under researched superficial muscle of the dogs head. It is located between the eyebrow and the ears (Dog Anatomy Coloring Atlas, Kainer and McCracken). After a search of the internet, the local library, the local Barnes and Nobel bookstore, and the assistance of my vet and my instructor (Jonathan Rudinger), this researcher has found it necessary to look at the human frontalis muscle for any detail on this superficial facial muscle. From this point forward the dog’s frontal muscle and the human frontalis muscle will be referenced for this paper.

The frontal muscle of the dog is located on the fore face of the dog above the eyebrow and below the ear, hence it has been named for its location.. It is a superficial muscle so it has no bony attachments. To be exact, the origin in the galea aponeurotica. “The galea aponeurotica (epicranial aponeurosis, aponeurosis epicranialis) is a tough layer of dense fibrous tissue which covers the upper part of the cranium; behind, it is attached, in the interval between its union with the Occipitales, to the external occipital protuberance and highest nuchal lines of the occipital bone; in front, it forms a short and narrow prolongation between its union with the Frontales(Wikipedia,2011).” The insert is located in the skin above the eyebrows (Wikipedia, 2011). It is innervated by the temporal branches of the facial nerve (VII) and is supplied with blood by the superficial temporal artery ( size of this muscle is not mentioned in the research available.

The function of the frontalis muscle is to wrinkle forehead and in humans it assists in raising parts of the eyebrow. Its superficial functions are probably why it has not been studied much in dogs (not to many plastic surgeries or facelifts done on dogs). When referring to dogs all references to function refer to the wrinkling of the brow and there is no mention of the muscle assisting in lifting the brow, although we may assume, do to its attachment sites, that it may also assists the dog in moving its eyebrows. Again the frontal muscle is an under examined superficial muscle of the dog’s head; much more information can be found by referencing the human frontalis muscle.

Teres Muscle (Major and Minor)

By PetMassage | November 8, 2011 |

Full Title: Teres Muscle (Major and Minor)

Author: LIsa Giknis

Date of Publication: November 8, 2011


Research Paper Text:

The teres muscle is a muscle that is located in the shoulder of the dog and it’s function is to flex teh shoulder as well as to adduct and internally rotate the shoulder when the front limb is in an outstretched position. This shares a common tendon called the lattisimus dorsi which is used for forward propulsion.

The teres major muscle is a thick but somewhat flattened muscle and is located deep within the shoulder of the dog. Teres means long and round which is how the muscle got it’s name.

Together the teres major and teres minor muscle form an axillary space through which several important arteries and veins pass.

The teres major is a medical rotator and adductor of the humerus and the lattisimus dorsi as states above. The teres major also helps stabilize the humeral head in the glenoid cavity.

The teres major originates from the caudal angle and caudal edge of the scapula and inserts into the eminence on the proximal 1/3 of the medial surface of the humerus.

The innervation is the axillary nerve and the teres major and minor get their blood supply from the axillary artery.

The teres major is the most commonly strained muscle of the dog as it acts like their front wheel drive to assist in propulsion, jumping and pulling their front end and plays an important roll in the dog’s activity.

Action of Tail when Elevated

By PetMassage | October 31, 2011 |

Full Title: Action of Tail when Elevated

Author: Kimberly Gradin

Date of Publication: October 31, 2011


Research Paper Text:

The report agreed upon with instructor, Jonathan, was regarding a specific articulation of the body. It was describing the action of the tail when elevated. I found this to be very difficult, just trying to find much on the tail itself. Here is what perseverance has taught me.

The soft tissues around the anus harden as muscles contract and press on the anal gland, also stretching the hamstring muscles. Every time a dog moves its tail it acts like a fan for scent. Therefore a dominant dog that carries his tail high will release much more natural scent from his anal glands than a dog that holds his tail lower.

The Sacrocaudalis muscles give mobility to the tail. The dog’s tail is elevated (extended) by contraction of the medial and lateral dorsal sacrocaudal muscles.

The dorsal sacrocaudal muscles get there name from being dorsally attached to the sacral and caudal (coccygeal) vertebrae, which is part of the axial skeleton. They are a small group of muscles in the hind limb area.

The lateral dorsal sacrocaudal muscle’s origin is a continuation of the longissimus, fleshy from aponeurosis of the longissimus and a tendinous origin from the mamillary processes of the first to sixth lumbar vertebra, the articular processes of the sacrum, and the mamillary processes of at least the first eight caudal vertebrae. Its insertion is mamillary processes of the fifth to last caudal vertebrae. The action is the extension or lifting of the tail, possibly also to move it to the side. The nerve innervations are branches of the plexus caudalis dorsalis (caudal and sacral nerves).

The medial dorsal sacrocaudal muscle’s origin is the small processes that are dorsolateral to the caudal edge of the caudal vertebrae. It is direct extension of the multifidus muscle. Its insertion is mamillary processes of the fifth through last caudal vertebrae. Its action is extension of the tail and possibly lateral flexion. The nerve innervations are also the branches of the plexus caudalis dorsalis (caudal and sacral nerves).

The medial caudal artery, and the bilaterally paired lateral caudal arteries (2), and branches of the caudal gluteal arteries are the 3 major sources of blood to the tail.

The ligaments attached are the dorsal sacroiliac ligament and the sacrotuberous ligament.

Basically when the dorsal sacrocaudal muscles contract, the tail elevates pressing on anal glands secreting the animals scent into the air. The sacral and caudal nerves supply the motion and feeling in the skin. The caudal and gluteal arteries supply blood to these muscles, and the dorsal sacroiliac and sacrotuberous ligaments keep it in line.

Muscle System of the Dog

By PetMassage | July 26, 2011 |

Full Title: Muscle System of the Dog

Author: Yuko Kusumoto

Date of Publication: July 26, 2011


Research Paper Text:

Muscular system is secreted in the whole body by attaching to the frame in the organ system that rules the motor function and forming the wall to internal organs. The muscle that forms the muscle system is an organization that gets excited or tension by stimulation as well as the nerve, and causes the potential action. Muscular shrinks by getting excited for the nerve. This system makes movements of each muscle.

The muscle is classified into three by the difference of the mechanism of the structure and shrinkage. “Smooth muscle” that forms wall of internal organs, “cardiac muscle” is the wall of the heart formed and “skeletal muscle” attached to skeletons.

Skeletal muscles are classified into two. “White muscle” does fast shrinkage in detail for the small movement. ‘Red muscle” does slow and long movement of shrinkage for the maintenance of posture etc.

The muscle system has an important system of heat production besides the system of causing the movement. Skeletal muscles are the organs which produce most of heat. 25% of muscular energy is used for the movement of muscles. 75% of the remainder is used for keeping the body temperatures as the thermal energy.

The living thin gathers individual cells. Therefore, the muscles are formed by gathered cells, too. The cell that forms the muscle is called “muscle fiber”. Bundled and covered ‘muscle fiber” is called “Fascia”.

The muscle fiber of skeletal muscles is covered with the film, the endomysium. It connects with the structure like meshes of a net and the nerve that transmits information to the muscle and the blood vessel that carries blood to the muscle. Skeletal muscles adhere from one bone to other bones. Because skeletal muscles shrink, and loosen, it has the role to move the frame and to fix the joint. Skeletal muscles are “voluntary muscle” that can be shrunk by intention.

Mechanism of muscular shrinkage

The instruction in muscular shrinkage of skeletal muscles is transmitted from the motor nerve through nerve-streak. Moreover, smooth muscle, the excitement transmitted from autonomic to the muscle. The excitements of tensions transmit to the muscle is transmitted to the sarcoplasmic reticulum. The entire muscle shortens because the length of each muscle plate is shrunk because this movement if done in all the muscle plates when the excitement transmits. It returns to former length when the excitement of the muscle ends, and it prepares for the following shrinkage.

About the movement of dog’s tail

Dog’s feeling and excitement appear to the muscle and the hair of the body. Especially, the hair in the vicinity of the spine bristles up, and there is a thing that even the hair of the tail bristles up, too. Because the bone of the tail is connected with the spine as it is, and the part in the root of the tail is especially sensitive, it can be said that the content of transmission is comprehensible if the tail is seen.

When the tension and the excitement become to intense, the movement of the tail bristles up also the hear of the tail (Only the upper part) shows the rise of the nerve in the tail when the dog is strained or gets excited by going as for the nerve though the hair of the scruff of the neck and the back is bristled.

The movement of the tail shows the rise of the nerve. When not only happy but also angering it, the tail is shaken. If the tail is shaken by the bottom, it is shown that I am not comfortable. The tail is hung, and when placing it between legs confidence is lost, and it feels horror. And it is confident expression when shaking it on.

There is an important system on dog’s tail besides the expression of feeling. When run, jumping or swimming, the tail does the role of ‘Rudder’. Especially, it moves to turn the tail greatly when stopping slamming on the brakes when running at Frisbee etc., and the body is balanced. Moreover, the dog sleeps curled up at cold time of winter. The nose is covered with the tail at that time, cold air is not inhaled, and the respiratory organs is protected.

It is important that we untie the muscle by massaging dog’s body, promote circulation of the blood, improve working of the cell, and manage dog’s body. Moreover, the rise of the nerve because of the continuation of the tension and excitement, and softening by massage for the dog with hard muscles also stabilize, and connect felling with heart.