What is Animal Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation?
Physical rehabilitation for pets applies 100 years of human evidence-based therapy techniques to our animal patients to restore optimal function after injury or disease. Our physical therapists have pioneered the use of physical therapy methods to help minimize disability and prevent further deterioration by providing client education and individualized home-care programs, neurological rehabilitation, orthopedic injury treatment, pain management, sports medicine for the animal athlete, wound care, weight loss, wellness and prevention programs, and non-surgical options.
How Will My Pet Benefit From Physical Rehabilitation?
Physical rehabilitation can restore, maintain, and promote proper function and mobility for your pet. It can enhance recovery after surgery or illness, reduce pain, increase circulation, and improve coordination and range of motion. Rehabilitation keeps geriatric patients more comfortable by easing the aches and pains associated with the golden years (aging). Individualized and professionally guided treatment programs are developed to address your pet’s specific needs.
Is My Pet A Candidate For Physical Rehabilitation?
Pets of all ages, sizes, and breeds can benefit from physical rehabilitation. Physical rehabilitation can help improve the quality of life for any animal suffering from chronic pain, arthritis, obesity, poor health, or muscle weakness. We can advise you on when to start a rehabilitation program and will develop a customized program for your pet.
Who Should Perform Physical Rehabilitation?
Ideally, physical rehabilitation on pets should be performed by a qualified physical therapist or veterinarian who has additional training in animal rehabilitation. Our doctors and therapists work in collaboration with VCA board certified specialists and/or your family veterinarian to provide preventive care and rehabilitation for your best friend.
The benefits of physical rehabilitation include:
- Decreasing pain
- Improving circulation, strength and endurance
- Reducing inflammation
- Enhancing post-surgical or post-illness recovery
- Improving function of weak or paralyzed limbs
- Promoting healing of injured or inflamed tissues
- Restoring joint range of motion
- Preventing muscle atrophy
- Early return to functional activities
- Improving quality of life
- Positive psychological effect (for pet and owner)
- Client Education
- Custom Home Care Programs and appropriate progression of activities
- Custom Orthotics and Prosthetics
- Cart Fittings / Assistive Devices
- Cold / Heat Applications
- Conformation Assessments
- Athletic Injury Screens and Preventative Fitness Programs
- Manual Therapy
- Neuromuscular Re-Education
- Gait Analysis and Training
- Pain Management
- Hydrotherapy (Underwater Treadmill)
- Therapeutic Exercise, such as Spinal Stabilization Techniques, Proprioception, Balance and Coordination
- Strengthening and Appropriate Progression of Exercise Plan
- Modalities: Laser Therapy, Ultrasound, Electrical Stimulation
Conditions That Respond To Rehabilitation
While physical rehabilitation is most often thought of in conjunction with recovery from a muscle, bone, or joint injury, there are many conditions that respond well to physical rehabilitation therapy:
- Cranial Cruciate Ligament Tears/Rupture
- Hip/Elbow Dysplasia
- Patellar Luxations
- Osteochrondritis Dissecans
- Soft Tissue Injuries (e.g., bicipital tendonitis, iliopsoas strains, carpal hyperextension)
- Post-Surgical and Fracture Recovery
- Intervertebral Disk and Wobbler’s Disease
- Degenerative Myelopathy
- Lumbosacral Disease
- Brain Injuries
- FCE (fibrocartilagenous embolism)
- Back and Neck Pain
- Vestibular Disease
- Nerve Injuries
- Obesity/Weight Loss
- Post-Disease/Injury Reconditioning
- Cardiovascular Fitness
- Athletic Conditioning/Performance Problems
- Gait Abnormalities
- Wound Care (e.g., lick granulomas, degloving injuries and decubitus ulcers)
- Geriatric Support Care
- Non-Surgical Options
- Critical (or Intensive) Care Patients
Physical therapy can help with athletic conditioning and improve performance.
Stifle orthosis as a non-surgical option for cranial cruciate rupture.
Electrical stimulation applied to quadriceps muscles.
Ruby post amputation and donning her prosthetic