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Pet Health Library

Physical Rehabilitation

Tuesday, Jul 11th, 2017 | By Andrea White

Physical rehabilitation is the diagnosis and management of patients with painful or functionally limiting conditions, particularly those with injury or illness related to the neurologic and musculoskeletal systems. The goal of rehabilitation is to achieve the highest level of function, independence and quality of life
possible for the patient.

Our rehabilitation certified veterinarian provides leadership to a rehabilitative team that can consist of other veterinary professionals, such as surgeons, pain management specialists, technicians and rehabilitation therapists. We will work closely with your pet’s primary care and specialty veterinarians. Your rehab- certified veterinarian can prescribe pain medications if needed and may offer therapies such as cold laser and therapeutic exercise. We will also prescribe a treatment program including additional therapies, some of which you can provide at home that are specifically designed to meet your pet’s needs. This multimodal approach provides greater opportunity for a successful outcome.

Physical rehabilitation can benefit pets with a diversity of issues. Patients can range from athletes to geriatric pets to young animals with congenital abnormalities. Rehab therapies can aid in recovery from surgery or injury, help restore mobility, improve strength and decrease pain. See the list below for conditions that are commonly treated with rehabilitative therapies. This list is not exhaustive and many of the conditions may require surgical repair in conjunction with rehabilitation.

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD)
  • Cruciate ligament tears
  • Tendinopathies
  • Sports injuries
  • Patellar luxation
  • Fractures
  • Amputation
  • Joint dislocation
  • Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD)
  • Wobbler syndrome
  • Spondylosis deformans
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Lumbosacral disease
  • Fibrocartilagenous embolism (FCE)
  • Degenerative myelopathy (DM)
  • Polyneuropathy (GOLPP)
  • Vestibular disease
  • Obesity

Therapeutic Exercise

Therapeutic exercises can improve strength, flexibility, balance and coordination and can slow progression of disease, leading to an enhancement in mobility and better quality of life. Our rehabilitation practitioner professional will devise an individualized plan for your pet with specific goals.

Therapeutic Laser

Laser therapy is the use of light (typically infrared) energy to stimulate tissue repair and provide pain management. Laser therapy may alleviate muscle and joint discomfort, relieve symptoms of arthritis, relax muscle spasms and increase blood flow to an area, helping injuries to heal.

Therapeutic Massage

Massage therapy is a series of manual techniques used to improve a patient’s physical and emotional well-being.

Physiological benefits of massage include pain relief, improved joint mobility, relaxation and increased circulation.

Manual Therapy / Joint Mobilization / Passive Range of Motion

Manual therapy can include a variety of techniques, including passive range of motion (PROM), joint mobilization and chiropractic. Manual therapies can be of great benefit to joints, allowing for greater movement and can also provide significant pain relief.

Orthotics, Prosthetics and Assistive Devices

Custom fitted splints, braces, carts and even prosthetic limbs are available from many rehabilitation veterinarians. These devices are used to support an injured limb while it heals, to correct a deformity or to encourage correct limb use. Carts are fitted to patients that are paralyzed or unable to walk without support.

Come meet our certified canine rehabilitation practitioner, Dr Michelle V. Rose and find out how we can help your pet today!