Veterinary Physical Rehabilitation (also often referred to as Veterinary Physiotherapy) is the treatment of dysfunction in the musculoskeletal and neuro-muscular systems as well as the maintenance of optimal function and the prevention of dysfunction. Veterinary physiotherapists work alongside veterinary specialists and surgeons and the goal of our profession is to maintain, restore and maximise optimal movement and functional ability throughout the lifespan of an animal.
In general, most of the animals being referred for physiotherapy include horses, dogs and cats, but we are often we are fortunate to treat and array of other species as well.
What makes veterinary rehabilitation such an important aspect of the recovery process is patients that undergo surgery, such as fractures or ruptures of the cruciate ligament, or neurological conditions, have changes to cartilage, bone, muscle, tendons, and ligaments. For example, dogs may lose one-third of their muscle mass in the rear limbs following surgery for a cranial cruciate ligament rupture and it may take over one year to regain the lost muscle tissue. In some case, complete recovery may not occur.
The use of physical rehabilitation is based on the principle of Active Recovery. In abbreviated form, the body and injury will recover faster with controlled activity than with complete rest (passive recovery). Through controlled activity, tissues of the body maintain elasticity and higher levels of functioning. This is true of muscles as well as articular cartilage. Patients that are involved in physical rehabilitation tend to recover quicker, maintain more muscle mass and lose less motion of their joints. This translates into the patient returning to normal activities sooner than patients that use the passive recovery method.
Treatment ideally takes place in consultation with the animal’s veterinarian.
As with Physiotherapy for humans after surgery, trauma or injuries, the benefits of Physical Rehabilitation for animals are just as great. Benefits would include:
- Increased speed of recovery
- Positive psychological effects for the pet and owner
- Improved performance and quality of movement
- Increased strength and endurance
- Improved biomechanics and flexibility
- Reduced pain
- Is a non-invasive approach
- Minimal complications
- Prevention of further injury through owner education
Common conditions that we see in Practice that benefit from Veterinary Physiotherapy, Rehabilitation and Hydrotherapy can be categorized in a few ways.
Front and Rear Limb Orthopedic Conditions, Neurologic Disorders, Geriatric Patients, Osteoarthritis, and related conditions. Pre-and Post-Operative Cases, Weight Management.
Veterinary Physiotherapy modalities that we use as part of a successful rehabilitation program would include, but is not limited to the following: Ortho-or-Neuro Evaluation, Hydrotherapy, Electrotherapy, Manual Therapy, Acupuncture, Therapeutic Exercises, Land-based Treadmill, Orthotics and Prosthetics, Nutrition.
At Paws-itive Paws-abilities, we work closely with our referring Veterinarians and have over the past 13 years built a professional and trust relationship with these Vets, Surgeons and Specialists. Being accredited by SAVC, and members of SAAPRA, you can rest assured that your beloved companion is in skilled and experienced hands.
As we live up to our Mission Statement, we strive to contribute to the rehabilitation, improved wellbeing and the best physical and mental condition possible of each patient encountered, by absolute fortitude, dedication, passion, love and dignity to achieve this. We are proud of our work and our world class facility in Centurion, Gauteng.