Dog in underwater treadmill
Severely debilitated or paralyzed pets can walk in water long before they can walk on land. Pets with severe arthritis can exercise in an environment that is non concussive on their sore joints.

Rehabilitation: Treatment Approaches

Aquatic Therapy - video 1 & video 2

Any type of aquatic therapy is immensely beneficial to all types of pets with all types of conditions.  The natural properties of water such as buoyancy, cohesion, hydrostatic pressure and resistance make it a unique and invaluable addition to any rehabilitation program.  Severely debilitated or paralyzed pets can walk in water long before they can walk on land. Pets with severe arthritis can exercise in an environment that is non concussive on their sore joints. Jet massage is also helpful; like a big Jacuzzi for dogs with pain or edema. The safe cushion of the water allows for early walking in more patients just after surgery. Exercising overweight patients in water is more strenuous than on land.  The resistance of the water can also add an additional challenge to the conditioning of athletic or working pets.

Assisted Mobility Carts, Slings, etc. - video

Wheelchairs are available for weak, painful or paralyzed pets. Although we do not sell these carts directly, we are familiar with many companies and their products.  Ordering, fitting, and acclimating your pet to a wheelchair can be an overwhelming process. Our staff is skilled in assisting owners with the entire process in hopes successful transition for the pet.

Electrical Stimulation - video

Electrical stimulation is performed by trained professionals to help prevent loss of muscle tone during the healing process. The electrical stimulation device causes a weakened or paralyzed muscle to contract and can also be used to “re-educate” muscles after prolonged disuse.

Home Exercises

All rehabilitation is a team effort. Our staff works very closely with the veterinarian and pet owner in all aspects of the rehabilitation to offer the best long term outcome.  We realize that with proper guidance, many rehabilitation exercises can be performed at home by the owner. Every rehabilitation patient receives an extensive individualized home exercise program as part of their evaluation.  Our staff will gladly demonstrate, explain and teach each exercise to the owner so that they can effectively treat their pet in the comfort of their own home.  Our staff understands pet owner concerns of location, finance and attachment to a pet and will work hard to find an effective treatment plan that everyone is happy with.

Local Cold Therapy (Hypothermia)

Local hypothermia is used immediately after surgery or injury to cause the blood vessels to constrict. This helps decrease pain, decrease swelling, and relax skeletal muscles. Hypothermia is often performed after exercises to help calm muscles and nerves.

Local Hot Therapy (Hyperthermia)

Hyperthermia is used to improve blood and lymphatic flow and nerve velocity. This aids healing by enhancing local fluid flow and decreasing swelling. Localized heat is also used to prepare for rehabilitation exercises that immediately follow.

Passive Range of Motion (PROM) Exercises - video

PROM exercises help maintain the joint nourishment and range of motion. The movements of the limb and joints are performed by the therapist and involve no exertion by the patient.

Pulsed Signal Therapy (PST)

Pulsed Signal Therapy is a newer medical treatment used to treat osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia, degenerative joint disease, rheumatoid disease, back pain and sports-type injuries in small animals. The results have been shown to be long-term.

PST consists of pulsed signals that mimic the normal healthy physiological signals, transmitted into the joint to promote the repair of damaged cells and to stimulate the repair and maintenance processes. PST focuses on the cause of the symptoms: the breakdown of cartilage and joint tissue. Pain and swelling can occur when the cartilage wears due to degenerative joint disease, overuse or injury.

Pulsed Signal Therapy reproduces the bio-physically correct restoration signal and directs it into the joint, stimulating the existing cartilage and other damaged structures to repair themselves and therefore function more efficiently, thus accelerating the convalescent period and restoring the joint’s function.

Soft Tissue Massage - video

Massage is the gentle manipulation of muscle and soft tissue to increase blood and lymphatic flow through the tissues. Massage helps increase the delivery of nutrients and removal of waste products and excess water from the affected areas. Massage can relieve tight tendons and muscles and help relieve chronic pain.

Therapeutic Exercises

Therapeutic exercise is the process of teaching animals to do activities that will strengthen their weak areas.  The best rehabilitation is to find a way to get the pet to use their own muscles to move the limb as we need them to move. These exercises are extremely beneficial because we can effectively target problem muscle areas, improve balance, improve limb usage and maximize recovery without expensive equipment.  With proper guidance, many owners can do these exercises in the comfort of their own homes. In addition, therapeutic exercises gradually help animals return to the activities they are expected to perform after they are recovered.  A few of our favorite exercises include slow walks, balancing exercises( videos: bal1 & bal2), obedience tricks (videos: sit to stand and sit to down, tunnel), obstacle work (videos: walk, rails1 & rails2), weaving, stairs/hills and land treadmills.

Please click the above links to see videos of the exercises.

Ultrasound Therapy

Ultrasound therapy can help breakdown scar tissue between tissues, relieve pain and facilitate healing.