Overview of Conditions + Problems

Overview of Conditions + Problems


Canine Conditions

Knowledge and understanding of the conditions, injuries and problems of each dog is paramount to devise a relevant and effective treatment plan to address each dog's movement dysfunction or fitness conditioning plan.

Definition of Canine Conditions

Underlying pathology or issues that may alter the biomechanical loading of the dog. This in turn impacts on the inherent loading capacity of the musculoskeletal (MSK) structures required for efficient canine natural balanced motion and functional tasks.


"Most canine locomotion is powered by muscle". Professor McNeill Alexander.

Assessment Information

To make a valid, relevant and accurate assessment, the therapist needs each dog's;

  • Past Medical History (PMH) identifying past problems, procedures and outcomes
  • Present Medical Condition (PMC) which is the reason they have been referred to the therapist for assessment and treatment as part of the multimodal approach of the multidisciplinary team (MDT)

This alone does not complete the necessary information to complete an adequate assessment and by integrating information to include the dog's signalment, behaviour responses in a clinical setting, Drug History (DH), Social History (SH), observations and "hands on" examination leads to formulating a specific prioritised problem list.


Canine natural balanced stance, postures, transitions, transfers, functional tasks and motion is a product of muscle + proprioception.

The prioritised problem list is clinically reasoned using critical thinking skills to establish each dog's SMART Goals. The SMART goals are set for each case and are clinically reasoned to select the most appropriate techniques to implement the individual Treatment Programme and Home Plan.


SMART Goal Setting: Specific - Measurable - Achievable - Relevant - Timely.

Canine therapists focus on finding solutions to resolve canine movement and functional abilities. This aims to improve their quality of life and enjoy happy and healthy lives, sharing special moments with their human family.

Linking the condition or problem with breed knowledge and functional anatomy is a start, however appreciating the healing process and times is important for effective treatment programmes.


FACT: Well-intentioned treatments that interrupt the natural healing process, push the dog's behaviours into flight, fright, freeze, fool around or use forces working outside of the dog's biomechanical design, will delay and hamper return to function for the dog.

Healing Process

The healing and repair process in the dog is complex and specific to each soft tissue structure. By integrating knowledge of the pathophysiology of the underlying condition, with the healing process, this will empower effective treatment selection and positive outcomes for each dog.

Wound Healing

The canine healing process is an organised and complex series of cellular and biomechanical events leading to a healed wound.

There are 3 distinct but overlapping phases;

  1. Haemostasis and inflammation
  2. Proliferation
  3. Maturation and remodelling

Soft Tissue Healing Times.docx24.3KB

Failure, prolongation or interruption of any of these phases leads to delayed healing.

Injury + Proprioceptive Loss

Injury to joints leads to direct and indirect alterations in the sensory information provided by the mechanoreceptors.

Remember joint injury encompasses damage to all the specific soft tissues structures involved in the function of that joint.


Sensory receptors are critical in relaying incoming information along the afferent fibres to the central nervous system (CNS) and are part of the canine proprioceptive system.

Any type of joint injury interrupts position sense. Impaired joint "positions sense" is a major risk factor for recurrent injuries, after the integrity of the muscle, tendon, ligament and fascia have been restored.

Canine Conditions

In this Hub we will cover a wide range of common and not so common conditions, as well as challenges, problems and secondary issues.

We will signpost you on each page to the Breed, Functional Anatomy, Clinical Tools and Technique Hubs as by integrating knowledge and clinical skills you can deliver best and current practice.

The K9HS Bitesize Resource Library is dog focused and aims to empower canine clinical practice. Sharing and integrating knowledge with advanced clinical skills, therapeutic treatments will achieve significant results for each dog. This leads to improved lives and happy, healthy dogs enjoying life to the full with their human family!

Conditions and problems explored in this Hub will include;

  • Medical conditions
  • Neurological conditions
  • Orthopaedic conditions
  • Joint disease problems
  • Medical conditions
  • Muscle disease
  • Muscle injuries

"The capacity to learn is a gift; the ability to learn is a skill; the willingness to learn is a choice." Brian Herbert

This Bitesize Resource was produced for you and is owned by K9HS Courses