Physical rehabilitation is the treatment of injury or illness by increasing range of motion, strength and decreasing pain. A rehabilitation veterinarian will treat pets suffering from both acute and chronic injuries, as well as providing conditioning, rehabilitation, and treatment for geriatric pets.
Previously, it was thought that crate rest was the best treatment for injuries, but recent research has shown us that for many injuries rest alone may cause more harm than good. Rest accompanied by pain management and controlled physical therapy is superior to crate rest in ensuring successful return to function. Following injury, the body will seek to adapt and protect the site from further harm. This protection manifests in scar tissue, reduced range of motion, and pain, which serve an initial purpose but are often present long after the injury is on the road to healing. Following injury, the body undergoes compensation resulting in increased strain on other areas. Rest alone usually does not relieve the problems caused by compensation, inflammation and muscle spasm.
A rehabilitation-trained veterinarian is a muscle, tendon, ligament, nerve, and bone expert who uses physical medicine to restore maximal function and relieve pain. Only a veterinarian can provide whole body care, prescribe needed medicines, and perform a diagnostic evaluation prior to designing a treatment plan.
Our rehabilitation team will work with your veterinarian to help your pet to heal following injury or surgery. Their initial consultation will last approximately one hour and will include a comprehensive orthopedic and neurological assessment, as well as a measurement of muscle mass. Each individual rehabilitation program includes laser or ultrasound therapy, the use of the underwater treadmill, and homework in the form of therapeutic exercises.
A referral from your pet’s veterinarian or surgeon is required to begin your pet’s rehabilitation process.