Physical Therapy for Pets
While receiving rehabilitative treatment at our veterinary facility, your dog or cat will receive targeted treatments and therapies in a comfortable and welcoming environment with advanced therapeutic aids.
From manual rehabilitative techniques and cold laser therapy to low-impact aquatic exercises, our vets are fully equipped to create custom rehabilitative programs for your pets and enact them safely and effectively.
Treatment & Therapy Options
A customized physical rehabilitation program can consist of several therapeutic techniques, including:
- Therapeutic Exercises
Therapeutic physical exercise is the cornerstone of any great physical rehabilitation program.
There is a wide range of exercises that may be appropriate for your pet's condition. The specific exercises recommended by our vets and worked through with your pet will be customized to your pet's unique condition and rehabilitative needs.
Some of the most common kinds of exercises we will prescribe are agility training to help pets recover their quickness and gait training to help them recover and maintain a level of mobility they need to enjoy life.
With targeted physical exercises, we can:
- Improve cartilage and ligament health
- Improve muscle mass and strength
- Prevent or reverse osteoporosis
- Increase circulation
- Decrease pain
- Reduce obesity
- Improve function and mobility
- Improve flexibility and range of motion
- Improve balance and senses
- Increase endurance and stamina
Low-impact aquatic therapy (also called hydrotherapy) and exercises can help to improve your pet's range of motion, endurance, and strength.
The buoyant properties of water help to minimize the weight-bearing function of your pet's joints, helping them to support their weight if doing so normal is a struggle because of pain or inflammation.
Aquatic therapy is appropriate for:
- Post-operative orthopedic procedures
- Neurological conditions
- Osteoarthritis patients
- Overweight patients
Our underwater treadmill promotes controlled weight-bearing by varying water levels. This is especially effective for osteoarthritis and weaknesses related to neurological conditions.
- Manual Techniques
Manual techniques refer to massage, passive range of motion, stretches, and joint mobilization.
These are all important components of any rehabilitation program and can help alleviate pain, increase circulation, promote relaxation and improve tissue extensibility.
Passive range of motion exercises is a special kind of manual therapy for pets, encouraging the maintenance, recovery, and growth of cartilage by moving your pet's limbs and body through the natural movements of taking steps or other activities without them having to do so themselves.
- Hot/Cold Therapy
We use superficial hot and cold applications in addition to other treatments.
Often, hot or cold therapeutic aids are applied before or after exercise to increase tissue recovery.
They can also promote relaxation, relieve pain, increase circulation, and minimize inflammation.
- Cold Laser Therapy
Cold (low-level) laser is a drug-free, non-invasive therapy frequently used with rehab patients to increase the quality, speed, and tensile strength of tissue repair. It is also helpful for reducing pain and inflammation.
This safe, effective and precise therapy is used to treat several conditions such as soft tissue injuries, post-operative conditions, arthritis, and wounds.
- Therapeutic Ultrasound
Ultrasound is considered a kind of electrotherapy that can help to improve your pet's mobility while also promoting their health. Therapeutic ultrasound treatments reduce scar tissues and enhance bone repair through mechanical stimulation.
This promotes the healing of tissue (muscles, tendons, joint capsules, ligaments) and bones.
During the ultrasound, a pulsed or continuous sound wave can be applied using varied heads to determine the depth of sound wave penetration. Depending on the tissue and condition, the intensity of the treatment may also be adjusted.
Several conditions respond well to this treatment, including:
- Muscle contracture
- Muscle strains
- Calcified tendons
- Fracture healing
- Ligament sprains
- Chronic synovitis
- Piezo Shockwave Therapy
This particular variety of Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (also called ESWT) uses a series of low-energy acoustic wave pulsations that are applied directly to an injured area.
Shock wave therapy is a non-surgical procedure that helps to initiate the body's natural healing response: reducing pain and improving mobility.
Pets often need to be sedated for ESWT and may feel sore after shockwave therapy for up to 24 hours.
Treatment & Therapy FAQs
Read our most frequently asked questions about treatment and therapy for pets, or contact us to ask a different question.
- Why does my pet need physical therapy?
Physical therapy is a critically important part of your pet's recovery from their injury, illness, or invasive surgery, regardless of the specific cause of their condition.
With a custom rehabilitation and therapeutic program, we can focus on pain management and prioritizing his or her overall health while reaching your pet's goals, which may include building your pet's balance and coordination, endurance, and stamina.
All of these are conducive to healing, to ensure your pet feels their best and that the two of you get to spend many more years together.
- What conditions can physical therapy be used to treat?
Physical therapy can be used to treat a wide range of conditions your pet may have, such as:
- Chronic pain
- Spinal injuries
- Disc disease (IVDD)
- Soft tissue injuries
- Recovery after major surgery (hip surgery, cruciate repair, limb amputation, etc.)
- How long will my pet need to attend physical therapy?
Based on your pet's condition, and an assessment from our experienced veterinary specialists and therapy team, we can determine your pet's unique therapeutic requirements, including the duration of their customized treatment program.
- What can I do at home to achieve the best results possible from physical therapy?
Depending on your pet's condition and requirements, at-home exercises may help promote healing and progress in physical therapy.
Always consult your veterinarian and/or therapy team on if and when at-home exercises should be part of your pet's treatment, and which ones would be helpful.