Elephant CPD in Thailand With Tony Nevin

Elephant CPD in Thailand with Tony Nevin

By Donna Wills PGC A Phys, RVN Member of RAMP, BVNA and IAAT

Elephant

Just Beautiful

The Expedition

Thailand Elephant CPD

Thailand Elephant CPD

On 14th March 2019 a mixed group of animal Osteopaths and physiotherapists, set off for Thailand for a unique opportunity to both help Elephants and gain knowledge of how to work with these incredible animals. It was an incredible opportunity to work on a new specie and expand your mind by working in another way.

 

As a veterinary nurse or physiotherapist I usually work with dogs, cats and rabbits by large. But I am lucky enough to have also treated other more unusual species. I also teach my own CPD (continual professional development) on how to treat “exotic patients” and that largely is to teach how to think about treating all other species and how to know where to start on that journey. So, I was over the moon to have the opportunity to now try this, the biggest specie I have treated to date. I am very proud of how I have managed to further my nursing foundation, into specializing in rehabilitation.

We began the course with a brief which included some information on Elephants and some health and safety. You can appreciate the safety part is incredibly important. We then went to meet and palpate and treat our first elephants. The first Elephant we met was desperate to be treated and loved the whole process.

 

Me treating an elephant

Me treating an elephant

The Brief 

These elephants are in an incredible sanctuary. We were taught about the ethos of the establishment and how its method of organisation means the elephants are safe and changes of elephant ownership is discouraged, and the life of the people who own the elephant is enhanced. This made me feel so much better about how Thailand is working to move forward and be good to the elephants. Thailand is the only country in the world to have a microchipping system that is actually enforced! The mahouts (people that look after the elephants) are incredibly lovely. I never saw anything bad at the sanctuary, so I was over the moon.

elephant Play time

elephant Play time

As the work shop is an osteopathic workshop, we were taught osteopathy methods, though many of these are very similar to physiotherapy. Different Elephants had different tolerances for allowing treatments. So, we respectfully work around this. One chose to wonder off and romp through the elephant grass instead. So, we took the opportunity to watch the movement instead. Ii was great to see how high they can lift their limbs and how this could be used to encourage stifle flexion, weight shifting, balance and proprioception. Some also have different methods of treatment that they prefer. Rather like us all…we all have our favourite types of touch for ourselves. So, some Elephants wanted a stronger deep pressure and others lighter.

Veterinary care and working on the Elephants

See how much they lean into you when you hit the right spot!

See how much they lean into you when you hit the right spot!

What was truly amazing is that you think that skin will be incredibly thick and immobile. But it moves incredibly well and whilst the skin is thicker than that of a cow, it is rather similar to massaging a cow! It was so interesting to see the movement and do the gait assessment. You need to move your eyes further to see everything. But by the end of the week, you are surprisingly good at very quick gait assessment. You become tuned into the elephants and you have to stay calm around them for them to be calm with you. This is not dissimilar to everyday work, but its incredible seeing an elephant go from excited and swinging their trunk all over the place and then calmly standing with far reduced movement.

Elephant Feet - they wear out at the back just like our shoes, as the movement is so similar to our foot movement during motion

Elephant Feet - they wear out at the back just like our shoes, as the movement is so similar to our foot movement during motion

Watching gait was something I found fascinating. They stand very similarly to humans, with hyperextended stifles and their elbows hyperextend when they walk too. They only have 2 gaits, walk and faster walk. Their foot motion is the same rolling action on the floor as a human too, so instead of placing the foot straight down, it rolls from heal to toe. This means they wear out the backs just like we do on our shoes. It also means their ability to hyperextend their carpi is incredible and they can climb a hill with no issue. Seeing the sole of the elephants foot spoke volumes.

Positive reinforcement

How the vet monitors teeth. They only have a large molar that constantly grows

How the vet monitors teeth. They only have a large molar that constantly grows

Positive reinforcement was a really big thing as the whole sanctuary runs with kindness at their heart. I had a wonderful conversation with the elephant vet. She was so kind. We spent time discussing the more common elephant ailments and how they treat them. Their medications are the same as horse options, so you will be familiar with them. They do use the nutraceuticals too! I even discussed using camomile tea as I have most of my patients on this. We both laughed at the idea, but the point of my question was to see how much they think outside the box with medication and how well they do engage a multimodal approach

I liked feeling thier lower limbs. You could feel Oedema in some of them and it was fascinating

I liked feeling thier lower limbs. You could feel Oedema in some of them and it was fascinating

to treatment. I was over the moon to see they were incredibly open minded and engage lots of options. Ultimately, this is reflected by the fact that our group of MSK practitioners were there and actively encouraged to be there. They even use pain scoring to ensure they are dosing effectively, whilst also thinking about patient longevity. Elephants live a good 60 years in this environment so filling them up on Nsaids at age 20 may not be the best approach long term. Obesity was actually the biggest issue for these guys and so weight loss programs were something that they were trying to figure out a way of implementing. Its funny to think of a weight clinic for elephants, but clearly the weight problem is pandemic. They also do have body condition scoring for the elephants. Most of the ones we saw were a 5 (obese) but there was one elephant who was a 3.

 

Elephant communication

Chatting with the Vet about Ele vet care

Chatting with the Vet about Ele vet care

We did one excursion day, where we went somewhere else to see how else elephants are used here. We have to remember that here, elephants are effectively like our horses…in the uk tourists may well ride a donkey at the beach or even a horse on a hack. This is their equivalent. But I can’t deny, it did make me sad. But when we spoke to the tour leader, she explained that this work brought in money to allow the elephants to be well looked after, and pay for vet bills and vaccines etc. They finish their work day at 3pm and are turned out to the forest, same as a horse in a yard might be. So, it was not a bad situation. But elephants, whilst we don’t know how many facial muscles there are, there are 4000 muscle bundles in the trunk, so it is incredibly expressive. And when I thought about it…their trunk use for

You can see how much movement there is in the skin when you move the fascia

You can see how much movement there is in the skin when you move the fascia

communication is rather similar to how we might use our arms to gesticulate… So, they really know how to pull your heart strings and they definitely pulled mine. 

There was an amazing study being done with some of the Elephants at the Sanctury. This was to help prove sentience. Not something I feel needs proving, but if proving it helps non animal people make good changes, then its essential. They had developed a test to prove Elphants Eve's drop. Brilliant! Elephants havev amazing ways of communicating. Mostly not from thier eyes since they have very poor sight. But largly through feeling thier rumbles through thier feet and using their trucks for touch. They can also verbalise and they do heard that. But hearing thier dull rumbles is such a beautifully relaxing sound. When you hear it, you feel as you do when you hear a cat purr.

Great Experiance

It was a great experience to spend a week working with elephants in their happy home. It is bizarre to think of an elephant as a “pet”. But it was incredible to have the opportunity to observe their movements and critically assess their bodies to find areas of discomfort. The people we met at the sanctuary were all kind, welcoming and grateful. It was fabulous to see the teamwork ethic so strong here. These memories will help shape the future of my career, as all our experiences do, and let’s face it…. It’s a pretty awesome CPD location!

If you want to hear more about the expedtion visit my facebook page where I posted my daily vlog. And look out for our podcast with Dr Megan Kelly and online pet health

 

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from Animal Physiotherapy Ltd

Merry Christmas everyone , from me and Christmas Skunk!

We like to take this opportunity to update you on how the year has gone, and reflect.

We take time to remember our patients who have now departed. Each one of them leaves a hole in our hearts and is sadly missed as that made such an impact on our memories. It was a pleasure to meet all of them and to be able to help many loved ones in their later years.

We also welcome so many new patients. It’s wonderful to meet so many new and amazing personalities. If you want to see our stories on our new patients, then visit our facebook page or see the website blog.

It’s been an amazing year for our Puppy Massage DVD too! We had an incredible time at Crufts and still can’t believe we were featured on Cruft’s extra and interviewed by the amazing Clare Balding and Alan Carr. Both of whom are incredibly beautiful humble people. You can see the feature here. Its not too late to order your copy of the DVD too. It will make an awesome birthday gift for any dog, or owner.

It’s been an incredible year for learning too. The animal physiotherapy industry continues to grow and improve which is fantastic. As RAMP members, we attended the AGM and learnt how well the new voluntary register is ensuring higher standards in the industry. And more importantly there is a massive wealth of research being done now, so we are very proud to tell you we have done a crazy number of hours of learning this year (so far 141.5hrs to be precise) and we have found it all fascinating and passed that on to our patients. We now have an incredible number of patients enjoying their bedtime Camomile tea (and 2 patients insisting that its Tea Pigs!)

We look forward to a wonderful 2019 with lots of new patients, lots of new information and maybe the odd celeb moment in there too. You never know what will come!

May 2019 be wonderful for you and your love ones

Do follow our blogs on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or anything else. Get in touch if you want to discuss any of your pet’s needs.

Big Dog Bed Company Now Stocking Puppy Massage DVD

Big Dog Bed Company Now Stocking Puppy Massage DVD

We are proud to announce that the Big Dog Bed Company are now Stocking Puppy Massage DVD

We are big fans of the Big Dog Bed Company. largely because our patients are big fans! We use a Big dog Bed Company bed for our treatments. It was a great investment. They off er a bespoke service so they come as you need them, so in your home they are very cosy and comfy.

We us, its foldable, easy to clean, supportive and comfy, waterproof, antibacterial, odour minimising, wipe down cover, 3 yr guarantee and Purple!

In the home it comes in a choice of colours and is machine washable. We love that it's actually hospital grade foam, so has a cross hatch system, which actually comes back up faster than memory foam. This makes it more ideal for an older god trying to get out of bed once its been squashed down.

A lot of love and care has gone into this company so take a look at what they offer.

And Thank you Big Dog bed company for supporting the Puppy Massage DVD.

Remember, the Puppy Massage DVD is a learning tool to help you get your Puppy confident with all over body touch. It even covers gum massage which will help with getting them used to tooth brushing and is relaxing. It helps you become confident with home massage. Making this an ideal early tool, ready for if then ever need rehab. And of course any older dog will always benefit from massage so learning to be confident in this will help you deliver safe effective home massage. Then, if you ever need a therapist to really work on the problem areas, they can advise you and update your skill so you can work together to make a perfect home regime for your dogs individual needs.

We are also blogging to CAM, the Canine Arthritis management foundation, so follow CAM to see our blogs and get up do date Arthritis care tips. arthritis care starts as a Puppy!

Image result for big dog bed company logo

Big dog bed Company now stocking the Puppy Massage DVD

Patient enjoying Bed!

Patient enjoying Bed!

Now stocked at Big Dog Bed Company

Now stocked at Big Dog Bed Company

Performance Dog – Now Stocking the Puppy Massage DVD

Performance Dog are now Stocking the Puppy Massage DVD

We are proud to announce that the Performance Dog website are now stocking the Puppy Massage DVD. We met them at Crufts 2018 and they were happy to support our DVD.

They supply books and DVD's and lots of other things that help creat happy rounded dogs.

Here is what they say about themselves:

"At Performance Dog, we are a small, knowledgeable and friendly team with a long and dedicated history of working with dogs. We understand the specialist needs of competitors and handlers who want the best for their working partners.

We offer the UK’s largest selection of dog books and DVDs, covering all aspects of care, behaviour and learning, plus sports equipment, therapy products and a brilliant range of interactive dog toys. We research all our products carefully and offer the best from the UK, Europe, the USA and Australia. Our suppliers include Clean Run, Dogwise, Tawzer Dog, Wicked Hounds, Clip N Go Agility and Tug-E-Nuff .

As Dogbooksonline we earned a reputation for providing outstanding customer service. The new name Performance Dog better reflects the wide range of products we now offer, but the same old values apply; you, the customer, comes first.

If you have a question, please contact us. If you want a product you we don’t currently stock, we will do our best to source it for you.

We offer a free shipping service within the UK, as well as a next day delivery option, and international delivery. Our aim to dispatch all orders within one working day."

Performance Dog

Performance Dog

Thank you for stocking the Puppy Massage DVD Performance Dog! We are all working together to get the world massaging thier dogs. Start young and keep them healthy, happy and confident.

Now stocked at Performance Dog

Now stocked at Performance Dog

Purton Vets – Stockist of the Puppy Massage DVD

Purton Vets - New stockist of the Puppy Massage DVD

We are so pleased to announce a new stockist of the Puppy Massage DVD, Purton Vets!

Purton Veterainry Group have seen how wonderful home massage can be, so they have joined the others in stocking the Puppy Massage DVD on thier shelves for thier clients to buy.

To get your copy of the DVD, you can click the link in the corner, or visit Purton Veterinary group, or see our Stockists page to see where you can pick up your copy.

The Puppy Massage DVD has a big fan base and has been featured on BBC London radio and Crufts Extra.

Now stocked at Purton Veterinary Group

Now stocked at Purton Veterinary Group

 

Come see us at Crufts 2018!

Come see us at Crufts 2018!

We are so pleased to have our first CRUFTS stand. So please come see us at Crufts 2018! With our Puppy Massage DVD!

Crufts Stand

Crufts Stand

We are so excited! We can't wait to meet you all face to face. Get your chance to meet Donna, who produced the Puppy Massage DVD. We will have a competition running through out the even, to win a Canine Pamper Hamper. We will announce the items in ver the next few weeks. We also have the famous Anna Webb, co presenter of the Barking hour on BBC London Radio, joining Donna at 4.30 on the Thursday, to learn how to massage her own dogs.

There will be so much to see and do, Crufts is an excellent day out and a great place to shop for all your doggy needs.

Puppy Massage DVD

Puppy Massage DVD

The Puppy Massage DVD was designed to help owners get and extra deep bond with their puppy and get both owner and puppy confident with handling. It has life long benefits and CAN be started at any age. We all know there are immense benefits of massage throughout life. Starting them young gets them used to the process. Keeping it going keeps healthy supple dogs and will be a real blessing when older age aliments like arthritis start to creep in.

If you ever want to ask any questions about this DVD or about animal physiotherapy in general, do email donna@animalphysiotherapy.org.uk

 

Featured on BBC london Radio!

Featured on BBC London Radio!

We are so pleased to announce we were featured on BBC London Radio!

Jo Good and Anna Webb were wonderfully supportive of our Puppy Massage DVD. They featured it on thier Barking Hour and got our founder and creator, Donna Wills, in for an interview! She had great fun!

You can listen to the Radio initerview here and see the photos from the day too.

If you want to get your own copy of the Puppy Massage DVD in time for Christmas, then click the link at the top of our website page, or find it on Amazon or ebay and get it with the rest of your shopping.

Remember, its great for any age! No need to start only on Puppies. The benefits are life long!

Fetured on BBC London Radio

Fetured on BBC London Radio

 

Puppy Massage DVD at Discover Dogs

Puppy Massage DVD at Discover Dogs

Puppy Massage DVD at Discover Dogs

Puppy Massage DVD at Discover Dogs

Dogs.

We are proud to announce that the Puppy Massage DVD will be available at the Eukanuba Discover

 

Eukanuba Discover dogs is one of the biggest dog shows in the UK and is a world class show. It is the biggest dog show in London. It has many exhibitors. But most importantly, its a great place to go and see what things you can get for your dog, and to grab some bargains!

There is always a wealth of exhibitors from dog food to beds and even some of your medical supplies. There is lots to see and do and a great atmosphere.

We are proud that we are going to be part of the exhibition, with a stand at this prestigious event.

Come visit us at stand 16 (very close to the entrance). October 21st and 22nd at the famous Excel in London.

You can go to thier website to get tickets in advance. They can also be purchased on the day. Its a great reason to visit London and the Excel is in a beautiful river side setting with beautiful views.