Why Do Massage Therapy?

Massage can be a valuable component of physical therapy for your pet. While massage therapy is most often applied after an injury as a rehabilitation tool, massage may be useful for many other purposes as well.

Massage therapy can be used routinely to help maintain your active pet before an injury even occurs. Just as we exercise to maintain fitness, regular massage will help muscles stay toned and healthy. Sports massage is a deep tissue technique that addresses the issues that an athlete may face. The muscle system is the system that is responsible for movement, and well-functioning muscles are necessary for peak performance. Did you know that a muscle contracts 2/3 its length during activity? For example, if a muscle is 6 inches long, it will contract 4 inches. If a muscle becomes stressed, it may shrink in length, thereby shortening contraction and overall movement. Massage, through increased circulation, lengthens muscle and connective tissue back to full stride, flexibility, and mobility; this is important for our canine athletes.

Massage therapy is beneficial for aging animals as well. The aging process can lead to circulation issues that may affect efficiency of movement. Concurrent arthritis or other painful conditions can cause muscle tension, stiffness, and discomfort. Massage therapy can be a wonderful adjunct therapy for aging pets to help manage pain and improve overall mobility.

Whether your goal is to maintain your healthy athlete, provide rehabilitation after an injury, or give your pet comfort and pain relief as he or she ages, massage is a wonderful addition to your pet’s therapeutic program.

The Massage

The body is incredible at compensating. If there is a problem in the hips, for example, the animal will adjust the weight forward to ease the strain on the rear limbs. As a result, the front end becomes over-worked. In order to treat the entire animal and provide the utmost benefit, each massage session consists of a whole body massage to restore balance in movement and comfort.Massage Therapy - St. Francis Animal Hospital

All massage therapy sessions are performed by Christine Severance, CVT, CMT, our Certified Canine Massage Therapist. The initial session is 60 minutes and includes a thorough history of your pet’s condition, areas of pain or tension, activity or performance level, and clinical signs. We will also discuss your goals for therapy and management.

Additional sessions are approximately 30-45 minutes. At each visit, we focus on your entire pet - twenty-three muscle groups on each side of the body. As with human massage, it is important to provide plenty of water after the massage. The increased circulation is a boost to the metabolism, which may increase your pet’s thirst and urination. You may also notice an increase in energy post-massage; this is often followed by sleep and relaxation.

Benefits of Massage

  • Increases circulation
  • Extends range of motion
  • Decreases muscle tension
  • Aids in digestion
  • Reduces neurological signs
  • Aids in pain management
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Reduces anxiety and depression
  • Helps increase activity level which may facilitate weight loss

What Conditions Could Benefit From Massage?

  • Musculoskeletal problems (i.e. strained muscles, IVDD/back pain, orthopedic injuries)
  • Previous surgery or trauma
  • Low activity level
  • Neurological disease or injury
  • Stress, anxiety, or depression
  • Joint disorders (i.e. arthritis/degenerative joint disease, autoimmune disease, hip dysplasia)
  • Digestive or urinary problems
  • Athletes – pre- or post-performance
  • Skin infection
  • Fractures
  • Local acute inflammation
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Cancer
  • Burns

Massage services

Initial Consultation + Massage Therapy:
$75 (60 minutes)

Initial Massage Therapy Consultations include a thorough history of your pet’s condition, areas of pain or tension, activity or performance level, and clinical signs. We will also discuss your goals for therapy and management.

Full Body Massage:
$50 each (30-45 minutes)


Massage Packages:

3 sessions:          $135 (Savings: $5 per session)
6 sessions: $240 (Savings: $10 per session)

Packages do not include the Initial Consultation + Massage Therapy.

Focused therapy is rarely recommended. This would involve massage of 1-2 muscle regions used in conjunction with other therapies to achieve specific medical objectives.