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How Physiotherapy Helps Dogs with Osteoarthritis

The Effect of Phototherapy & Massage on the Heart Rate & Passive Range of Motion

of Canines with Osteoarthritis in Elbow Joint Research Project

PhysioMyDog Research Project
How Physio Helps Dogs with Osteoarthritis 

Photizo Media Physomydog

I carried out a research project for a deeper understanding of how therapeutic equipment & massage can influence conservative management of osteoarthritis in the elbow in dogs, both physically & psychologically.

Many of the dogs I treat have osteoarthritis, which is no surprise when you look at the statistics.  Osteoarthritis is the most common musculoskeletal disorder recorded by vets (, 2019) and data shows 1 in 5 dogs are affected with OA (CAM 2019) and the Golden Retriever and Labrador breeds are most prevalent. (Anderson KL, O'Neill DG, Brodbelt DC, et al)

A small controlled study was carried out to investigate the impact of Phototherapy and Massage on dogs with Elbow Osteoarthritis.

PhysioMyDog Award Winning & In the News!

This Research Project was awarded a prize at Crufts, received press coverage &

being used in Photizo Training Programmes

PhysioMyDog_Winning Prize at Crufts.jpg

Research Project Winning at Crufts!


Animal Therapy Magazine

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Local Press Article

PhysioMyDog Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Complementary and Alternative

Medicine Magazine

PhysioMyDog Photizo Light Therapy

Photizo Light Therapy Website

Summary & Results

Objective of Study

Investigate the impact therapeutic massage and equipment has on how a dog with elbow osteoarthritis moves, by measuring their elbow passive range of motion and well being by measuring their heart rate.


  • Labrador or Golden Retriever Breeds 

  • Weighing between 20-40kg

  • Aged 2+ years

  • Owners agree to vet consent

  • Diagnosed elbow OA by vet

  • Managing conservatively

  • Not on drugs or been on for 2 months+

  • Sessions completed in same environment

  • Not walked within hour before sessions

  • During research time period

    • Don’t have any other therapy 

    • Don’t start/stop medication, supplements or change diets.

Study Methodology

  • Dogs were split into 2 groups

  • Each dog had 3 sessions in total, spaced 7 days apart. 

    • Group 1 – Phototherapy & Massage

    • Group 2 – Phototherapy Only

      • Session 1 - Measurements Only

      • Session 2 - Phototherapy & Massage or Phototherapy Only

      • Session 3 - Both groups had massage only

  • Before and after each treatment session, heart rate and passive range of motion (elbow extension and flexion) measurements were taken.

  • Owners completed daily questionnaire to grade how their dogs were moving and feeling

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Massage only sessions showed bigger reduction of Heart Rate = improved wellbeing

Average HR Reduction.jpg

Massage & Phototherapy combined session showed more improvements in Passive Range of Motion = improved movement.

Average PROM Improvement.jpg

For further details, analysis, including before and after, owner feedback you can Read More Here.

​"There is strong evidence that electro-physical modalities used in conjunction with manual therapies improve and speed up recovery.  The way to achieve the best results with this modality is to apply regularly, eg. at least 3x per week or even daily." Ruth Milner, Director and Product Specialist, Photizo Distributor Dante Products

Would you like to discuss how physiotherapy could help your dog?

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