Suzanna Grace performs a range of natural and beneficial therapies that can restore motion, flexibility, strength, and health to even some of the oldest and most infirm dogs.   Leading rehabilitation veterinarians and agility specialists have referred difficult cases to her, and she has proven time and gain that virtually all dogs will respond when treated expertly.

Each dog that is referred to Suzanna will be evaluated and offered a treatment regimen according to his or her diagnosis and protocol.  Treatments may include aquatic therapy, strength and endurance training, range of motion exercises, massage, agility training, heat/ice and more.  Suzanna also provides ongoing consultation with your veterinarian and sends your vet progress reports on your dog.

To explore some of the therapies that Suzanna performs, please click on the links below.

Joint Mobilization and ROM

Joint mobilization is a manual therapy intervention classified by five grades of motion used to manage muscoskeletal dysfunction. Mobilizations are used to restore joint play that has been lost due to injury or disease – when range of motion or mobility is lacking.

These manipulations – or joint thrusts – are designed to increase the available range and provide your dog with improved flexibility and stability, while strengthening the major muscle groups.

Myofacial Release

Myofascial Release is a very effective hands-on technique that provides sustained pressure into myofascial restrictions to eliminate pain and restore motion.  The fascia is a specialized system of the body that looks not unlike a spider’s web or a sweater.

In its healthy state, the fascia is relaxed and wavy in configuration, able to stretch and move without restriction.  But when a dog experiences physical trauma or inflammation, the fascia loses its flexibility, becoming tight, restricted, and a source of body tension.  The fascia can exert pressure that produces pain or restriction of motion, affecting a dog’s flexibility and stability. 

Suzanna has studied under John F. Barnes, P.T., the internationally recognized authority on Myofascial Release.  She utilizes his innovative, whole-body approach for the evaluation and treatment of canine pain and dysfunction.

 Craniosacral Therapy

Craniosacral work is a holistic healing practice that relies on extremely finger pressure to optimize body movement and restore function to the joints.  Using a soft touch generally no greater than five grams (the weight of a nickel), Suzanna Grace releases restrictions in the craniosacral system to improve the functioning of the central nervous system.

Suzanna developed her skills directly under the tutelage of osteopathic physician John E. Upledger, who pioneered and developed CST.  She uses it to benefit a variety of conditions:  hip dysplasia,  joint dysfunction, spinal injuries, hind end lameness, head traumas and more.

Manual Traction

Manual Traction is a separation of joint surfaces by pulling them apart, to stimulate nutrition to fluid around the joints and encourage the extension of the surrounding tissues.  Force is applied either intermittently or as a sustained hold to improve mobility, decrease physical stress and reduce muscle spasm by stretching tight spinal muscles.

Suzanna performs manual traction to alleviate pain and increase flexibility, as well as to correct canine spine alignment.

Manipulation of Connective Tissue

Connective tissue manipulation is performed using the soft pads of the fingers to move one layer of skin on the layer below.  This movement creates a short and sharp stretch reflex, creating an impulse, which spreads out through the connective tissue, reducing tension.

The reduction of this tension around the blood vessel walls allows more blood to flow into the damaged area, reducing the inflammation.  Suzanna will begin treatment often at a distance from the injured part, gradually working closer to the source of injury.  Once the tension has been lowered by treatment the reduction is maintained;  further reduction in connective tissue tension occurs with each additional treatment.

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Neuromuscular Therapy

Neuromuscular Therapy is a very specialized form of manual therapy, used by those who are intimately educated in the physiology of the nervous system and its effect on the muscular and skeletal systems.

The therapy uses static pressure on specific myofascial points to relieve pain, by manipulating the soft tissue of the body – muscles, tendons and connective tissue – to balance the central nervous system.  Neuromuscular Therapy is used by Suzanna to address ischemia (lack of blood supply to soft tissues), trigger points (highly irritated points in muscles), never compression or entrapment, postural distortion, or faulty movement patterns.

Neuromuscular therapy can make a big difference for geriatric dogs who experience pain and postural dysfunction.

Postural Alignment

Healthy postural alignment is an easy feeling throughout the musculosketal system.  For some dogs, this ease may be replaced with muscle spasm and spinal misalignment as a result of poor body mechanicals, injury, or inflammation.

Suzanna understands the way your dog’s bones fit in relationship to one another and to the whole body form.  Ideal postural alignment causes the least amount of musculoskeletal pain and strain and occurs at the joints with the two bones meeting at their centers.  Through stretching, strengthening, and physical therapy, she can give your dog back a more perfect alignment.