More on TTouch

Tellington Touch can calm nerves, reduce tension and improve quality of life


By Dr. April Linville and Susan Spalter

The first part of of this article was written by both Dr. Linville and Susan Spalter. The two women then wrote separate accounts of their work with the patient

Do you have a scaredy cat? A fear-biting dog? An animal with health problems. Do you feel as if you've tried everything but nothing seems to be working? Perhaps the Tellington Touch is your answer.

Dogs, cats, horses, birds, llamas, cheetahs, rabbits — the list is too long to include all the animals who have benefited from TTouch. The techniques are being used all over the world by veterinarians, technicians, groomers, and trainers in zoos, animal shelters, and homes.

TTouch is two sets of techniques — body work and ground work. The body work is a collection of specific touches designed to work on emotional and health problems. The touches are not massage or accupressure, and they are not invasive. The body work includes various gentle manipulation of body parts.

Ground work involves guiding the animal through movement exercises in non-habitual ways. Together, body work and ground work are designed to create a calm, attentive, focused state of consciousness and bring feelings, habitual responses, and bodily states of awareness. In this state, the animal can use its mental and physical resources to reorganize its programming and develop more appropriate patterns and responses.

TTouch has helped dogs suffering from barking and chewing, fear and shyness, car sickness, jumping up and leash-pulling, fear aggression, submissive urination, separation anxiety, arthritis, discomfort associated with hip dysplasia, and more. TTouch is easy to do and takes very little time to achieve results. Sessions are one hour long, one week apart, for three weeks. The first part of each hour is spent working on the animal; the remainder is teaching the owner how to do the touches so he can continue working at home.

One of many alternative options available in veterinary health care, TTouch should never replace veterinary care. However, pet owners interested in holistic therapies for their pets and those who want to make a change in behavior or help relieve pain and discomfort may find it useful. Holistic therapies run the gamut from acupuncture to herbal remedies and flower essences to vitamin and mineral supplementation. The difficulty for veterinarians and pet owners alike is that this is a relatively new field in veterinary medicine and there is little hard evidence from scientific studies to assess the response of pets to these treatments.

We recommend a blend of traditional and holistic treatments for pets. There are many diseases that we do not understand and that we cannot cure with traditional medicine. Some holistic treatments can relieve pain and improve quality of life — particularly in behavioral problems or terminal illnesses.

The reverse is also true, however. Infections that have the causative bacteria cultured will respond much better to an antibiotic that the bacteria is sensitive to. There is room for both types of treatments in pets; we need to keep an open mind and strive to offer the best options to the pet owner.

Pet owner's perspective

By Dr. April Linville

Barbara Shane and her Golden Retriever Alexandra visited Kings Veterinary Hospital (near Cincinnati, Ohio) last April for an evaluation of a lump on the right side of Alex's chest. A needle aspirate of the mass only revealed blood, and Dr. Paul LeCompte recommended surgical removal. Alex had a great deal of discomfort following the surgery; Barbara slept on the floor with her for two nights.

The mass was sent for evaluation by a pathologist; the results indicated a well-differentiated chondrosarcoma, a malignant tumor of cartilage that can spread or be invasive locally. (Cancer cells that are not well-differentiated are usually thought to be more likely to metastasize. The fact that it was well differentiated indicated it might be less likely to spread.)

Chest radiographs (x-rays) in mid-May revealed no evidence of spread to the lungs, but Alex was back at the clinic in early June when she exhibited weakness in her front legs and a reluctance to go up stairs. Dr. LeCompte and Barbara decided to treat Alex's signs with low-dose steroids, and she responded well over the next two months.

Early in October, Barbara called to say it appeared the tumor was returning to the previous site. Dr. LaCompte saw Alex and agreed. At that time, the prognosis was that Alex had a few months left, and they resolved to keep her comfortable and to enjoy her remaining time. Later that month, Barbara stopped in to ask me if there was anything else she could do to improve the quality (and perhaps the quantity) of time Alex had remaining. She was familiar with herbs and used them in a variety of ways, so she wondered if herbs or other therapies might help Alex.

We agreed on an initial course of vitamins, holistic remedies, and a recommendation to contact Susan Spalter, a registered TTouch practitioner in Mason. They also began using coenzyme Q-10, alfalfa, and shark cartilage. Barbara said that within one week, friends remarked that Alex seemed so much better — more alert, happy, and playful.

TTouch therapy

By Susan Spalter

Early in November, I met with Barbara and Alex at Kings Veterinary Hospital for their first TTouch session. The first session involved certain touches to help calm Alex and Barbara. After Alex was calm, specific touches for improving circulation, reducing inflammation, and pain management were instituted. All agreed that Alex arrived as a tired, somewhat anxious dog and left more relaxed with that typical Golden smile.

Barbara noted that when she performed TTouch at home, Alex inevitably relaxed and went to sleep. She would wake up refreshed and more interested in play and food. Alex soon learned to nudge Barbara when she came home from work — to let her know it was time for the touches.

Unfortunately, relief was short-lived. The tumor continued tog row rapidly and the quality of Alex's life was compromised. In mid-November, Alex was put to sleep.

Barbara stressed the importance of TTouch and the alternative healing methods that were used in helping her and Alex. “I felt like I was a member of the team caring for Alex and making a difference with the TTouch,” she said. “TTouch reinforced the bond between Alex and me. I felt the vitamins and other therapy improved the quality of Alex's life. Even the morning I had to take her to the veterinarian, Alex still wanted to play ball. Every morning she was ready and waiting for her peanut butter and pills and every evening she was ready for a good TTouch session. It reduced stress for Alex and for me.”

Barbara still uses TTouch on Heidi, her Schnauzer, initially for grief and now for Heidi's jealousy over Annie, her new Golden sister.

Dr. April Linville is a veterinarian In the Cincinnati, OH USA area; Susan Spalter is a licensed TTouch practitioner in Mason. They will periodically contribute further pieces about TTouch and other alternatives to be used in conjunction with traditional veterinary medicine to benefit dogs.

TTouch therapy

Interested in finding out more on TTouch? features these selections:

The Tellington TTouch : A Revolutionary Natural Method to Train and Care for Your Favorite Anima;l Linda Tellington-Jones,/Paperback/1995
The Tellington TTouch for Happier, Healthier Dogs, featuring Linda Tellington-Jones
Kelly Hart/VHS Tape/ (n/a)
Don't forget to search Dogwise for Tellington Touch books Too!

[Susan Spalter's page on Tellington Touch]

Dr. April Linville and Susan Spalter

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