FAQs about Rehab
Q: What is animal rehabilitation?
A: Rehabilitation is the application of physical therapy techniques to animals, which allows for a faster return to full function with strength, flexibility, and minimal pain. We use many treatments such as manual therapy (using the hands to work on the body), acupuncture, regenerative therapies, therapeutic ultrasound, therapeutic (cold) LASER, electrical stimulation (TENS or NMES), hydrotherapy, and strengthening exercises to overcome injury and disability. We manage chronic pain so your pet can function better. We also address the problems that result from damage to the muscles, nerves, and bones after trauma.
Q: How do animals benefit from rehabilitation?
- Quicker, better healing from surgery, injury & nerve damage
- Increase strength and mobility
- Minimal pain and discomfort
- Weight loss and improved body condition
- Reduce arthritic stiffness, inflammation, and pain
- Improve balance and coordination
- Manage continence and chronic wounds
- Reduce unhealthy scar tissue
- Resolve pain-related movement inhibition
- Involve owner in pet's recovery plan
Q: Why haven't I heard of animal physical therapy or rehab before?
Veterinary physical therapy has been around for several decades but its use has been limited by the lack of trained practitioners. In the last few years, professionals from both the veterinary and human fields recognized the need to provide special services that hasten and improve an animal's recovery. This field is now being incorporated in the curricula at several veterinary schools. Many other forces have recently come together to foster therapy for animals:
- Better general medicine leads to longer lived pets
- Greater value placed on pets as family members
- Greater awareness of nutrition and exercise benefits
- More advanced surgical techniques for correction of orthopedic problems
- Growing expectations from pet owners
- University studies on benefits of therapy in animals
- Advances in repair of fractures and wounds
Q: Is it alternative medicine?
Rehabilitation integrates with traditional medicine to facilitate recovery. Physical therapy is an adjunct to standard human medicine and is considered complementary rather than an alternative field in human practice. Physical therapy is a well established and documented science used in many acute and chronic debilitations.
Q: What are the most typical conditions that benefit from therapy?
- Osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease
- Neurological problems (Lumbosacral Diseases, Spinal Trauma, peripheral neuropathies, degenerative myelopathy, disc disease, post-op brain surgery, encephalitis/meningitis and geriatric vestibular disease)
- Orthopedic Trauma or corrective surgery (TPO, TPLO, FHO/FHNE, Total Hip Replacement , elbow or hip dysplasia, fractures, etc.)
- Severe or Chronic Soft Tissue Injuries (ligaments, tendons, muscles, scars)
- Compensatory Injuries following surgery, illness, injury or developmental abnormalities
- Obesity and Fitness Issues
- Reconditioning after illness or injury, chemotherapy or diabetes
Q: What are some issues I should consider before selecting a therapist for my pet?
First you should determine whether the therapist is a board-certified veterinarian. Specialized veterinarians across the country focus on rehabilitation and intensive therapy, but many providers are human physical therapists, not veterinarians. Independent physical therapists have little supervision and may have little training qualifying them to practice on animals. In Oregon, physical therapists may work with animals only if referred by your vet and under his/her direct guidance. Ascertain how much training and experience the individual has in the specific field of animal physical therapy. Ask about the number of patients seen, what conditions he/she has treated, and what level of success has been achieved with your pet's specific conditions. Ask for references from former or current clients.
Q: What are some of the most common patient issues/symptoms that therapy can help to resolve?
Therapy used in conjunction with regular veterinary care can increase your pet's quality of life by increasing mobility and lessening pain, by providing appropriate activity and keeping your pet feeling good about himself and his recovery. Therapy can help in resolving:
- Reduced Mobility
- Pain and Inflammation
- Poor nerve reflexes or sensory responses
- Loss of balance, agility, and coordination
- Loss of strength, endurance, and muscle mass
- Disuse atrophy or reflex inhibition due to long-standing pain
- Soft tissue trauma such as strains or sprains, including recurrent injuries
- Post surgical healing
Q: What do rehab therapists do?
The first priority is to control pain and facilitate movement. Then we address the amount and quality of scar tissue affecting movement. Next is to redevelop muscle coordination and strength. Finally, we rebuild endurance and the ability to perform full activity safely.
Rehab therapists apply physical therapy methods derived from the human field in order to address physical restrictions resulting from pain, injury, overuse, disuse, and neurological deficits. Because every animal is unique, each pet is treated to a full neuro-musculoskeletal assessment at Back on Track before our staff formulates a care plan. Each plan covers the expectations and key milestones of recovery and maintenance, so your pet's progress is tracked. After an individualized, comprehensive care plan has been designed, our therapists implement it using appropriate treatment methods.
Q: What different rehab treatments are available?
At Back on Track, we have a variety of tools and methods to apply physical therapy to your pet. After a thorough evaluation of your animal and a consultation with you, we determine the best care plan to facilitate your pet's healing and recovery. Some pets tolerate one method over another. Some need frequent in-clinic therapy. Some pets may benefit from owner provided home care. Many therapy tools are inexpensive and easily applied (i.e. heat, ice, massage), which allows you to take an active role in the treatment and rehabilitation of your pet in a safe and effective manor.
At our facility we provide a variety of therapy treatment options, including hydrotherapy, underwater treadmill, therapeutic ultrasound , TENS, heat/cold treatments, acupuncture, massage and manual manipulation, and pulsed electromagnetic therapies. We reinforce these treatments with the use of individualized exercise plans. In special cases, we can advise on, order or develop custom splints, wraps, and bands. In accordance with our holistic philosophy, we frequently incorporate Nutritional Therapy and supplements into the treatment regimen.
Q: How can I get more information on animal rehab and physical therapy?
Contact us at 503-546-8995 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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