Australian Cattle Dog catching frisbee
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Physical Therapy – Is my dog a candidate?

The need for rehabilitation for our fur buddies has evolved from mainly post-operative cases to include a wide range of disabling conditions seen in:

  • working and performance dogs
  • agility dogs
  • and family pets.

Below are some conditions that receive great benefit from physical rehab:

  1. Muscle injuries:  Speed healing, restore normal function and decrease inflammation
  2. Hip dysplasia:  Build supporting muscle mass, increase mobility and comfort
  3. Back injuries:  Prevent re-injury and manage pain
  4. Amputation:  Help with adaptation, build supporting muscles and manage pain
  5. Joint dislocation:  Strengthen supporting muscles and ligaments and prevent re-injury
  6. Fractures:  Speed recovery and prevent muscle contracture (muscle contractures occur when the muscle and its tendons shorten, resulting in reduced flexibility and if untreated, possible deformaty)
  7. Tendon injuries:  Increase range of motion and strength, decrease inflammation and scar tissue
  8. Neuromuscular disease:  Strengthening, adaptation and pain management

Formal rehabilitation therapy sessions are typically accompanied by individually designed plans (that may even be carried out at home) and that provide valuable specific guidance to pet owners in helping their dog recover mobility and a good quality of life.

Canine rehabilitation specialists typically work closely with your veterinarian to customize a program to fit your dog’s specific therapy needs.

A course of rehabilitation can be as short as two visits or as long as three weekly visits for three months or more.

Many elderly pets receive great benefit from continued muscle tone maintenance protocols. Sessions may last up to an hour, where progress is carefully monitored and documented at each visit.

Mobility devices such as slings, harnesses and wheels may be tremendously helpful for both dogs and their humans.

As with humans, I feel that rehabilitation therapy should be an essential standard feature of complete care for any pet that has undergone surgery for the above problems or been injured, disabled or otherwise debilitated.  The benefits are phenomenal.

The speed at which an agility dog exits a tunnel may place great strain on joints, limbs and spine. Physical rehab for body maintenance and safety is essential.

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