What is Canine Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation?

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Can My Dog Benefit From Physical Therapy, And What Canine Injuries Does Canine Physical Rehabilitation Support?

The term, physical therapy, primarily pertains to humans. Occasionally you will hear that used in the veterinary industry, but most commonly veterinarians use physical rehabilitation. Either a veterinarian or physical therapist can become certified in canine physical rehabilitation and be responsible for creating a personalized physical rehabilitation routine.

Often, people physical rehabilitation is limited to post orthopedic surgeries or following significant injuries such as broken bones or torn muscles. While those scenarios do heavily benefit from physical rehabilitation, canines with a variety of other conditions such as: arthritis, restricted activity due to aging, genetic disfigurations, various diseases, weight loss, balance issues and more can benefit as well. 

Each case will usually be approached differently to address specific needs and health factors of the patient, but some of the most common treatments seen are:

  • Water treadmill
  • Laser therapy
  • Exercises
  • Massage/ manual therapy

Many pet parents are under the misconception that physical rehabilitation is only for pets with obvious injury or post-surgical healing, but in reality, it is used to promote the quality of life for pets. This is accomplished by reducing pain, improving movement, and avoiding further injury. Additionally, rehabilitation can be quite fun for pets and by conditioning and strengthening various parts of their body, they are able to go about their favorite activities with less complications or pain.

Some most common injuries that benefit from physical rehabilitation in canines are:

Often times, physical rehabilitation can be supplemented with dog mobility braces or canine orthopedic braces. Braces like Balto USA braces support the area of injury and acts as an assistant to the pet’s physical rehabilitation program. In addition to increasing pet’s confidence in their injured limb, it can be very helpful with circulation and reducing pain.

When introducing an orthopedic brace to a dog’s physical rehabilitation routine, showing the dog the brace and reassuring them it is not something to be feared is the first step before even placing the brace on your pet.

Physical rehabilitation is often considered a holistic approach to pet’s care, and is an excellent option for healing pets as well as ones not eligible for surgery. When looking for the right place for you and your pet, be sure to do your research or ask your veterinarian for any recommendations.