Age is often associated with aches and pains, so when your furry friend ages, he is injured, or is suffering from overuse,  he won’t be able to get around.To become mobile again. veterinary intervention may be required. Pet rehabilitation involves different treatments to ensure your pet’s joints and muscles start to function normally again.

Veterinary rehabilitation or physical therapy includes veterinary advice as well as physiotherapy techniques such as laser treatments, manual and touch therapies as well as exercise. Many dogs and cats that can’t walk get a new lease on life with the help of slings and harnesses as well as other assistive devices.

Each pet and rehabilitation case is different and the costs are variable, depending on your pet’s course of therapy. The treatments available will vary. Manual therapy for instance, will include working on your pet’s range of motion. Gait training will help your pet learn to walk again after surgery.

Rehab ensures quality of life

The whole purpose of rehabilitation with animals is to achieve the highest level of independence and quality of life. The rehabilitation expert is trained to perform an evaluation of the patient, including functional activities, strength, joint range of motion, gait and soft tissue mobility.

These veterinarians have unusual skills because pets can’t talk and tell us where their pain is. The vet actually needs their wits about them as they have to get pet-patients to perform certain movements or exercises.

Then again, there are treatments that are well received by pets such as cold laser where the light waves penetrate gently into tissue. The laser also increases endorphin release and decreases inflammation. The beam stimulates muscle relaxation and immune system response and reduces pain. The laser beam is non-invasive and animals are calm and comfortable during treatment.

A typical rehabilitation treatment plan may include these laser treatments but also medication,  therapeutic exercise, massage, heat application and range of motion stretching. 

Some of the conditions that benefit from physical rehabilitation:

  • Fractures
  • Patella luxation
  • Disc disease
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Neurological conditions
  • Obesity
  • Tendon and ligament injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Arthritis
  • Soft tissue injuries … and others

Most veterinarians see dogs and cats for rehabilitation, but other pets such as birds and rabbits also require rehabilitation. Some rehabilitation sessions are short – maybe an hour long – while others are longer and may even require more tests or a change of medication.
Each pet’s needs are different and the vet designs a treatment plan unique to your pet. There are cases where a pet requires lifelong rehabilitation but in most cases visits are frequent at first and then occur less as your pet improves.

Getting started – a medical history

Before getting down to rehabilitative treatments, your cat or dog will be evaluated and a medical history will be requested. The owner of the pet will be informed about treatment options and the long term outcome. They will also be informed about what they can do to make it easier for the animal-patient to get around.

Pet rehabilitation is all about decreasing pain and improving function, and many times a vet has additional training in veterinary rehabilitation therapy which includes a lot of hands-on experience too.

The greatest asset of the best rehabilitation practitioner is their knowledge about how to provide successful care. The care-plan should focus on owner education, therapeutic exercises as well as home exercises to continue therapy at home.

A treatment plan customised to patient’s needs

Pets that require rehabilitation are first assessed so that a treatment plan can be designed on the patient’s needs. Some of the kinds of rehabilitation therapy include:

  • Stretching exercises
  • Exercise programs
  • Massage
  • Acupuncture
  • Laser sessions
  • Underwater treadmill sessions
  • Cannabidiol (CBD) based oil – particularly in dogs with osteoarthritis

All these techniques can help your pet with a broad range of problems.

Managing pain

It can be disease, pain after an accident or surgery that is causing your beloved pet to be so miserable. It may be nerve issues that are preventing movement and causing pain. Rehab can help to alleviate discomfort. This kind of pain is nearly always treated with pain-relieving drugs, but sometimes drugs are avoided and ice packs, heat, physical therapy and bandaging are used.

What pain management entails –

  • The animal is assessed for pain.
  • Pain management is tailored to the unique animal in terms of size and age.
  • Animals in pain are almost guaranteed to have stress and anxiety and a vet may prescribe an antianxiety drug.
  • Every pet recovering after any kind of trauma requires plenty of rest to allow restoration to take place.
  • Your pet relies on you to help him with recovery after surgery. He needs to be kept as calm and comfortable as possible. Keep your cat or dog isolated from other animals as well as small children to allow him to heal. Check the wound every day for bleeding, discharge or re-opening and consult with your vet if there is any cause for concern.
  • Be responsible in administering of the medication prescribed by the vet.

Physical rehabilitation restores your pet, improves their quality of life and offers a number of benefits –

  • Speeds up recovery
  • Decreases pain and inflammation
  • Improves function and mobility
  • Improves blood circulation to speed up healing
  • Increases strength
  • Lessens the chance of future problems

Pet rehabilitation is all about increasing mobility and function for your pet and to also reduce pain so that your furry pet can enjoy a quality lifestyle into old age.