Rehabilitation or physical therapy can benefit your dog in many ways, including speeding up the healing process and ensuring better mobility and long term health. After any injury or surgery, plan to devote a substantial amount of time to your dog’s healing. Recovery is critical in healing and in minimizing the effects of physical trauma.

What Is Canine Physical Therapy?

Just as with people, pets benefit from physical therapy after surgery or injury. Canine physical therapy or rehabilitation uses therapeutic techniques that have been modeled after those used in human physical therapy to encourage recovery. These series of techniques increase mobility, decrease pain, speed up recovery, and strengthen joints and muscles to achieve better overall health.

Pet physical therapy is useful after surgery in conjunction with follow-up veterinary care. Some exercises commonly used in this form of rehabilitation include:

  • Passive range of motion — In these exercises, the therapist manually massages, aligns, and rotates the muscles and joints
  • Underwater hydrotherapy — Using a treadmill in a warm water pool, a dog can begin to exercise while using the buoyancy of the water as support
  • Massage therapy — Improves circulation and relaxation, while reducing pain and stress
  • Swimming — Once the dog can bear weight, swimming is a low impact form of exercise that strengthens the large muscle group and alleviates stress on joints
  • Cold laser therapy — Using low-level lasers, the concentrated light stimulates cell function for faster healing
  • Other healing therapies — there are many options including therapeutic ultrasound, neuromuscular electrical stimulation, extracorporeal shock wave therapy, deep tissue laser, and heat or cryotherapy
  • Active exercise — As the patient progresses, more applied exercises are beneficial using props such as balls, bands, and other objects

Canine physical therapy is a rapidly growing area of veterinary medicine and many new techniques and modalities are being used each day.

How Is Animal Rehabilitation Beneficial?

Animal rehabilitation’s aim is to work in conjunction with your surgeon or veterinarian’s postoperative treatment goals to further recovery and support.

The advantages of using this therapy include:

  • Increases rate of recovery
  • Aids in weight loss, as obesity can negatively impact mobility and health
  • Releases endorphins to reduce pain
  • Strengthens muscle and increases flexibility
  • Improved ability to express normal behaviors
  • Increased performance for athletic breeds
  • An overall increase in quality of life

Your Resource for Animal Rehab and Recovery

Your team at OVRS performs complex orthopedic procedures as well as treats injuries and other conditions that warrant surgery. If you would like more information on our orthopedic surgeries and the postoperative rehabilitation therapists we recommend, please contact us.