America Part 2 - CRI Course

Well, I’m back in Australia and it’s time to look back at what I experienced and learned while in the USA.  I thought that first week of the Canine Rehabilitation Institute course was pretty amazing, which I am sure you could tell from my last blog, but the Sports Module took everything that I had learnt to a whole new level. 

The module was taught by Chris Zink. I have read her books and blogs, watched DVD’s, followed her research and occasionally emailed her for input on cases. It was a delight to finally meet her in person. 

Chris sets the bar high when it comes to appropriate rehab and conditioning for all dogs, not just those competing in formal dog sports. A an approach that I also take in my own practice. 

The aim is for dogs to be able to chase balls, run, jump, play and have fun with minimal risk of injury. If there has been an injury, we want the dog to return to doing all these activities freely and at the same level as prior to injury. The aim is always a return to full function. Dogs need to be dogs and they should be able to love and enjoy life. If we don’t aim high, we will never reach the best outcome.

With this all in mind the course was akin to a bootcamp in taking veterinary care to the next level. Everything we learned is science and evidence based medicine. It is tried and tested, and I am so proud to be able to offer these services across Australia.

We spent time picking apart footage of dogs walking, trotting, cantering, galloping. I already had a strong foundation in canine movement, but this stretched my comfort level and expanded on what I was seeing. We then examined jumping, weaving, swimmers turns and a variety of other activities for normal and abnormal movements. This is the foundation of working out what is going on when there are subtle changes in performance. 

However, the best part was looking at how a completely ‘normal’ and ‘healthy dog’ can have their performance improved by looking at their form and targeting specific muscle groups for strength and flexibility to bring their abilities to the next level. This is so important to consider when you have an amazing dog at the end of the lead, but they are just not reaching their potential. I hope that this is an area that will receive more attention in the near future. 

While I could continue on with more of what we covered, I found myself reflecting on the value of searching for new people to learn from. People with new ideas to challenge what you have been doing. Without searching out these experiences and pushing my boundaries, it is the dogs that miss out. Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation is currently being revolutionised. It is not possible for one person to keep up with everything happening and I am so thankful for the strong network of preofessionals that the CRI course has helped me expand. I was challenged, extended and taken to new heights. 

Continuing education, global networking and being up to date with new information and research is a priority for me. It ensures that your companion is getting the best possible care available anywhere in the world today . It is a commitment that I take seriously because it is the level of care I wish to provide my own dogs with.

Dr Jaime Jackson