Sleuth has a lot of canine friends who play Frisbee and even do some crazy things like herding cows!! Unfortunately, these friends are also prone to injuries. So, Sleuth had the Veterinary News Network find out a little more about Pet Physical Rehabilitation Therapy.
1) Dogs who have undergone orthopedic surgeries or who have been injured in some way can often benefit from physical rehabilitation. In addition, overweight pets, arthritic pets and those who need some added conditioning might find the therapy helpful.
2) The goal of physical rehabilitation is to restore the pet to a “pre-injury” state and help return the pet to a more natural function. This usually means helping a pet relearn how to use certain muscles or how to control balance.
3) Many methods can be used for physical rehabilitation. Range of motion exercises, trigger point release and even medical massage are all some of the more passive therapies.
4) Safe and controlled exercise is a very important aspect of these treatments. Some pets are taught to use balance balls or wobble boards and still others might learn to walk on a treadmill.
5) The underwater treadmill is one of the most common and popular methods of physical rehabilitation. The buoyancy of the water helps to lessen the weight bearing shock on the joints.
6) Even heat and cold therapies are employed. Heat helps to loosen muscles and joints before exercise and the cold packs will reduce inflammation afterwards.
7) Coordination exercises are also important. You might see pets running through tunnels, around a slalom course of cones or even over pet sized hurdles!
8) It’s important to look for experts who have been certified in pet rehabilitation. These folks have had extra schooling in order to become certified as a pet rehabilitation specialist.
9) Also, make sure a veterinarian is either performing the exercises or supervising. It’s very easy for someone without a veterinarian’s knowledge to cause harm with these therapies.
10) Trust a site like MyVNN.com to provide you with accurate and unbiased pet health information.
After an injury or illness, helping animals return to normal activity has always been the veterinarianís main goal and any new therapy is welcome. Animal health professionals have learned from human physical therapists in order to help animal patients recover more quickly. So letís take a quick look at the world of Pet Physical Rehabilitation!
By: Dr. Jim Humphries, Certified Veterinary Journalist, Veterinary News Network
Human athletes have long understood the benefits of physical therapy when trying to recuperate from an illness or surgery. After all, their goal is to get back in the game as soon as possible. Many pet owners want the same thing and have found that physical medicine and rehabilitation may provide the help they need.
Veterinarians can either offer physical medicine in their hospital, or can refer you to a facility that does, and the benefits are remarkable. Dr. Jacqueline Davidson, a veterinary surgeon at Texas A & M Universityís College of Veterinary Medicine says ďAnimals that have had orthopedic or neurologic surgery are often seen for rehabilitation. But even pets who need to lose some weight, those who suffer from arthritis or who just need some conditioning can benefit from this sort of therapy.Ē
The goal of physical rehabilitation is not only to restore the natural function of the pet, but to attempt to bring the patient back to a pre-injury state.
Veterinarians and technicians who practice physical medicine use a wide variety of methods and technologies to help their patients. In many surgical cases, the pet needs to rebuild strength in muscles that have weakened from lack of use. In a case like this, carefully controlled exercises under the guidance of a trained professional can help the animal make great strides. Pets can learn to use a treadmill or even use balance balls and wobble boards to help strengthen those de-conditioned muscles.
By far one of the most popular therapies for pets is the underwater treadmill. These devices are especially helpful for overweight or older animals. The buoyancy of the water helps to lessen the weight bearing impact on the joints and make it easier for the pet to build up strength and endurance. Hydrotherapy and swimming are other popular rehabilitation options.
Other popular modalities use heat and cold carefully delivered to the tissues. Something as simple as heat packs can increase blood flow and help the jointís range of motion in that area. After a therapy session cold packs, can be used to minimize inflammation.
Common therapies include coordination exercises, such as weaving through cones or walking over hurdles, strength building routines, like uphill or downhill walking (often on a treadmill) and even medical massage, trigger point release and passive range of motion exercises. A real benefit here is that many of these therapies can be learned by the petís owner and applied regularly at home.
There are also many high tech modalities that veterinarians are now trying in a variety of cases. Therapeutic ultrasound and low-level lasers both deliver heat deep in the tissues. Along with medications, electrical nerve stimulation can be used to block or ease pain.
Rehabilitation in animals is very specialized. There are certifications for dogs, cats and horses. An important thing to remember when searching for a rehabilitator is that any therapies applied should be performed or overseen by a licensed veterinarian. Physical rehabilitation done by someone who does not understand the subtle signs of animal pain or have a global view of veterinary medicine can actually do much more harm than good.
Many veterinary rehabilitators have undergone outstanding additional education and can become certified in the use of these treatments. Look for Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioners (CCRP), Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapists (CCRT) or Certified Canine Rehabilitation Assistants (CCRA). For horses look for the Certified Equine Rehabilitation Practitioner (CERP). Ask your veterinarian for help finding a certified practitioner in your area.
To keep up to date with accurate animal health news, visit www.MyVNN.com or www.VetNewsOnline.com