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Dog Playing Fetch

The possibilities with rehabilitation are quite endless. If your dog is on pain medication or supplements for a long term condition, rehabilitation can help.

It’s important to remember that physical rehabilitation is not a cure for your dog’s long term conditions but helps to decrease unwanted symptoms and improve your dog’s quality of life. Oftentimes we are addressing compensatory problems and pain that have started as a result of the original condition/disease.

Pain Management

With a combination of our modalities, we can often secure enough pain control that we can lower the amount of prescription medication your pet is taking. Prescriptions such as NSAIDs, when used long term, can cause damage to your pet’s organs.

Therapeutic Exercise

Exercise can bring great benefit to the rehabilitation patient. It can assist in increasing range of motion, stability, endurance and strength. Exercise can also improve balance, motor control, proprioception and flexibility. Rehabilitation practitioners apply exercises to help normalise muscle tone, reduce pain, promote functional independence and to improve weight bearing tolerance.

If your dog has a medical condition they should perform exercises that are designed by a rehab practitioner. Exercises not prescribed to your pet can worsen a medical condition or increase pain.

Laser Therapy

Laser (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) Therapy is an important part of your pet’s rehabilitation plan and is included in all of our packages. Offering both biological and therapeutic effects it can help many conditions including: muscle/tendon/ligament strains and tears, osteoarthritis, IVDD, neurologic disorders, wound repair, and more. In summary, laser therapy elicits effects such as: anti-inflammation, anti-edema, analgesic, and stimulation of tissue repair.

The most noticeable and important benefit of laser therapy is the anti-inflammatory effect. Decreased inflammation leads to normalization of vascular function which provides an anti-edema effect. The laser decreases inflammatory markers, Prostaglandin E2 and Cyclooxygenase-2 which is the same pathway that corticosteroid and nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) follow to alleviate pain. For pets that cannot take these systemic drugs due to health concerns, and for owners looking for alternative treatment laser therapy can be highly beneficial.

Laser radiation will be absorbed by the cells at a mitochondrial level which results in a higher availability of chemical energy (in the form of ATP molecules). This energy facilitates morphological and functional recovery of damage caused by inflammatory and degenerative processes. Stimulating collagen synthesis and fibroblast development, laser therapy increases new blood vessel formation, allowing injured tissues to be repaired. These effects help to stimulate tissue repair and increase the tensile strength of tissues

Massage and Stretching

Reasons for Massage

Pain and physical exertion often results in considerable muscle tension. Muscle tension also often occurs secondary to spinal and joint disease, including osteoarthritis. Contraction of the muscles reduces local blood flow and in turn, reduces the oxygen supply to the affected muscles and reduces the removal of metabolic waste products. By increasing blood flow, massage increases the elasticity of tendons and ligaments and also improves joint and muscle function.

Benefits Include

  • Reduces swelling and edema
  • Reduces muscle spasm, joint and connective tissue (fascia) pain
  • Reduces inflammation of skeletal muscles that have been acutely damaged by exercise
  • Improves functional recovery and decrease delayed onset muscle soreness
  • Stimulates the release of endorphins that bring further pain relief
  • Early massage after trauma/surgery helps prevent adhesions
  • In neurologic patients, massage is used to improve muscle tone and sensory awareness
  • Relaxes the pet and has a positive effect on the healing process
  • Prolonged physical contact with the patient allows for further diagnosis as the muscles relax with every visit.

Electrical Stimulation

The purpose of e-stim is to improve muscle memory and strength. This modality uses electrodes and a low electrical current to stimulate nerves at the nerve-muscle junction, causing the muscle to contract. It can be used to increase range of motion, stimulate atrophied muscles or relax muscle spasms. It is often used in paralyzed patients to electrically stimulate nerves.

Weight Loss

Obesity can lead to many health problems including, but not limited to: many types of cancer, diabetes mellitus, heart disease, and hypertension, osteoarthritis and a faster degeneration of affected joints, urinary bladder stones, anesthetic complications as they are less heat tolerant. Most owner’s do not realize their pet is overweight.

Osteoarthritis Management

Recent approaches to the treatment of Osteoarthritis include:

  • Weight management
  • Physical modalities -> Laser therapy, thermotherapy, cryotherapy, electrical nerve stimulation
  • Therapeutic exercises
  • These interventions decrease the severity of clinical signs and the reliance on medication to control pain and discomfort
  • Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) and/or Stem Cell Therapy

Post-Surgical Programs

After an ortho or neurosurgery a rehab program can be beneficial by:

  • Reducing inflammation and pain after surgery
  • Promoting early weight bearing
  • Strengthening supporting tissues
  • Decreasing compensatory muscle, myofascial, and back pain
  • Providing mental stimulation for pets who have had restricted activity
  • Improving coordination and balance
  • Reversing muscle atrophy
  • Promoting weight loss if needed
  • Developing structured homework program
  • Safely promoting faster return to function

Surgical procedures can be overwhelming for pet owners; it’s comforting to have a coach on your side to improve your pet’s recovery process and give you peace of mind.

Home exercise programs

Do you live an active lifestyle that keeps your dog on their toes?

It’s important for dogs to be kept in shape, especially if they are being asked to keep up while biking, hiking, skiing, etc.

Having your dog perform Therapeutic Exercises during their ‘off season’ is important to prevent injuries when they get back into their activities. Not sure what exercises you should be doing with your dog? We can help!