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Supporting Your Dog’s Physical Rehabilitation

Dogs undergoing physical therapy sessions can heal from wounds or surgeries more swiftly and with wider range of motion. Additionally, visiting a canine rehabilitation therapist doesn’t cost much.

Supporting Your Dog's Physical Rehabilitation

Although it’s incorrect to refer to professionals who help humans as “physical therapists,” canine rehabilitation therapists offer the same services to dogs. With the increasing availability of dog physical therapy, some veterinarians have pursued post-doctoral studies in acupuncture, chiropractic, pain management, and other rehabilitation modalities.

For instance, the American Association of Rehabilitation Veterinarians (AARV) provides information on the efficacy of this method for managing pain and function loss resulting from disease or injury to veterinarians, veterinary surgeons, and pet owners. In an effort to better serve the special needs of working and athletic animals, including those with chronic conditions like arthritis and neurologic impairments, the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation was established more recently.

Dog physical treatment typically starts with a referral to a canine rehabilitation therapist if your veterinarians do not specialize in rehabilitation themselves. These experts complete credentialing programs that concentrate on canine anatomy and physiology, common medical conditions and injuries, assessment methods, pain recognition, and rehabilitation programs to obtain credentials like CCRP (Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner) and CCAT (Certified Companion Animal Rehabilitation Therapist). Among the therapies they provide are:

  • therapeutic exercises
  • manual therapy
  • massage therapy
  • balance training
  • strength and conditioning exercises
  • swimming and hydrotherapy
  • gait training
  • proprioceptive training
  • therapeutic lasers
  • chiropractic adjustments
  • acupuncture/acupressure
  • electrical stimulation
  • thermal treatment with heat or cold
  • mobility products for pets
  • knee or leg braces
  • canine wheelchairs
  • magnetic field therapy
  • pain management strategies

It’s crucial to remember that the field of canine rehabilitation treatment is evolving quickly due to the availability of new technologies and methods as well as ongoing research, which makes continuing education and staying up to date for rehabilitation therapists essential.

What Issues Are Treated by Canine Rehabilitation Therapists?

Dog physical therapy can be used to treat both acute and chronic diseases, much like comparable human treatments. A canine rehabilitation therapist may be able to assist with techniques, specialized equipment, and at-home exercise routines if your dog is in pain, has lost strength or flexibility, has an uneven gait or loss of balance, is recuperating from an accident, injury, surgery, or illness, or has chronic symptoms that interfere with favorite activities.

  • Hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis, and cruciate ligament injuries are examples of orthopedic diseases that respond to exercise, pain relief, and weight control.
  • Rehabilitative exercise is necessary for neurological diseases such Invertebral Disc Disease (IVDD), degenerative myelopathy, and peripheral nerve injuries in dogs in order to preserve mobility, encourage nerve recovery, and enhance their quality of life.
  • After surgery, amputation, and bone mending, post-surgical rehabilitation is performed to promote healing, regain function, and avoid problems. Many therapies hasten the healing process following surgery.
  • Therapies that encourage healing and restore function help patients with musculoskeletal injuries, such as sprains, strains, ligament injuries, and muscle tears, heal more quickly. In addition to promoting relaxation, bettering circulation, easing muscle tension, and enhancing joint mobility, manual therapy, massage, and other hands-on treatments can lessen pain and stiffness.
  • Sports injuries in active, athletic dogs participating in contests or other strenuous activity include muscle strains, ligament sprains, and joint problems. Several techniques for physical rehabilitation support healing and a safe return to pre-injury activity levels.
  • Dog health and happiness are negatively impacted by age and weight-related conditions such as obesity, degenerative joint disease, muscle weakness, and decreased mobility. Physical therapy assists overweight dogs in regaining mobility, preventing common ailments, and increasing their level of fitness.

Certain therapies call for tools that you may use at home, like ramps, platforms, balance pads, cushions, and discs. Clinic consultations are necessary for other equipment, like swimming pools, treadmills for dogs, and electronic/magnetic gadgets.

Locating a Rehabilitation Therapist for Dogs

In order to ensure that their dogs have comprehensive physical assessments and that the therapist can contact the veterinarian with any necessary medical treatments or diagnoses, the majority of canine rehabilitation therapists choose to collaborate with veterinarians. Meanwhile, other dog owners have put together their own teams for physical therapy, working directly with holistic practitioners such as massage therapists, chiropractors, and canine acupuncturists. Go to AHVMA.org, the website of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, and select “Find a Member” to locate veterinarians who specialize in nutrition and complementary therapies that improve healing and rehabilitation.

What to Anticipate During Your Initial Visit

A physical examination, which includes noting the dog’s stride, movement, structure, flexibility, strength, muscle tension, sore spots, and mobility, is the first step in seeing a canine rehabilitation therapist. The therapist will have time to get to know the dog and owner, go over the owner’s improvement and treatment objectives, and talk about the dog’s medical history and behaviors during what may be an hour-long session.

It could be beneficial to record your dog walking or moving in various directions both inside and outside as canine rehabilitation specialists concentrate on mobility and movement. Include the dates, diagnoses, and treatments of any specific illnesses, injuries, or incidents that have impacted mobility in your documentation.

The primary objective of the first visit is to create a strategy using the technology, tools, and therapies that are suitable. This frequently includes the suggestion of certain workouts to improve the muscles weakened by disease or trauma. Usually, these are made specifically for the patient to incorporate into an at-home workout regimen. Dogs that are healing from surgeries or accidents, or whose hind legs are weakening, may find that at-home exercise is very beneficial.

A follow-up plan can contain notes to distribute around family members to ensure that everyone can take part in the rehabilitation process and encourage the dog’s progress. This way, everyone in the family can help your dog heal.

Your dog’s progress will be meticulously documented by your canine rehabilitation therapist, who will also keep track of the specific therapies your dog has received, evaluate the effectiveness of rehabilitation plans, create exercise schedules that you and your dog can follow at home, schedule check-ups to record the healing process, and assess your home for any potential effects on the dog’s functional status.

How Much Are the Treatments?

Costs for veterinarian visits vary based on the type of treatment required, the therapist’s training and experience, and the location. Individual treatment sessions can cost anywhere from $50 to $100 or more, and initial consultations usually run between $100 and $200. The number of sessions needed for treatment determines the overall cost. Costs can be cut by using do-it-yourself therapies and home fitness regimens.

As long as the dog is insured prior to being sick or wounded, several pet insurance companies will pay for holistic and alternative therapies, including canine rehabilitation. For this reason, insurance specialists advise getting coverage for young, healthy dogs well in advance of the onset of any pre-existing conditions that might prevent coverage.

You understand the value of rehabilitation therapy if you have ever worked with a physical therapist following a disabling injury or illness, a broken bone, or a torn ligament. When the time comes, as an informed pet owner, you can be prepared to provide the same hands-on care for your dog by locating a canine rehabilitation therapist.

For more information on your dog physical therapy and how our Posh Dog Knee Brace helps in your dogs recovery contact us via our contact form or visit our Facebook page.

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