WHAT IS REHABILIATION?
Rehabilitation is how we refer to physiotherapy for pets. The term physiotherapy is not used when referring to pets, as physiotherapy is a “protected” human term, thus a new term needed to be assigned for animals. Rehabilitation should always be performed by a veterinarian or veterinary technician that has been trained in the field. These team members may provide you with exercises that you can do at home with your pet. Exercises should only be performed by the individual(s) who were shown how to do them, as there is a risk of causing more damage to an injured limb if not performed appropriately.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF REHABILITATION?
- Improved function and quality of movement
- Reduction of pain, swelling (inflammation), and complications
- Improve muscle strength
- Minimize muscle loss (atrophy)
- Contribute to alleviating pain from chronic conditions e.g. arthritis & obesity
- Increased speed of recovery
- Increased strength, range of motion, endurance and performance
- Non-invasive approach
- Psychological implications for both animal and owner
- Improved and prolonged quality of life
- Prevention of other injuries
- Decreased need for NSAIDs or other medications e.g. Metacam
- Improvement or preservation of muscle, nerve and joint function
WHEN SHOULD REHABILITATION BE APPLIED TO ANIMALS?
- Post-surgical recovery: orthopedic, neurological
- Musculoskeletal injuries, e.g. sprains, strains, tendonitis, muscle weakness
- Disc disease, pain, paresis
- Gait abnormalities, e.g. lameness, asymmetry
- Joint injuries, e.g. arthritis
- Wound healing
- Pain management
- Performance problems in the canine athlete
- Swelling and circulation problems
- Cardiorespiratory complications
- Weight loss/management
HOW IS REHABILITATION PERFORMED?
Rehab can be provided using a combination of various modalities including;
- Therapeutic exercises
- Manual therapy
- Thermotherapy/Cryotherapy (hot/cold therapy)
- Electrical Stimulation
- Therapeutic Ultrasound
- Low Level Laser
- Hydrotherapy (water therapy)
These exercises should always be done under the guidance of a veterinarian.
If you have any question about rehabilitation or whether it could be used for your pet please contact your local Whitby veterinary clinic.