What is Canine Rehabilitation?
Canine rehabilitation utilizes techniques, traditionally used in physical therapy on humans, to reduce pain, restore functional mobility and prevent injuries in animals. There are two programs in the United States, which provide training to veterinary and physical therapy professionals to train them to provide quality rehabilitation. Canine rehabilitation treatment can include hands-on techniques for stretching, exercises for balance and strengthening, gait training to normalize walking, therapeutic laser and electrical stimulation for pain control, and underwater treadmill for cardiovascular conditioning and weight loss. At University Veterinary Specialists, your rehabilitation therapist and a veterinarian will perform a comprehensive examination to determine a treatment plan that is appropriate for your pet.
How Can Canine Rehabilitation Help Your Best Friend?
Physical rehabilitation can benefit animals in many different ways. Pets that are having difficulty walking due to pain or having accidents in the house because they are too weak to get up by themselves, would benefit from rehabilitation. Some animals do “pre-hab” to get stronger or lose weight before a procedure because they will recover quicker if they are strong and mobile going into the surgery. Rehabilitation following many surgeries improves the outcome by reducing swelling and returning them to their normal everyday activities. Canine athletes can also benefit greatly from wellness or conditioning programs to improve their athletic abilities and prevent injuries.
How Rehabilitation Helped Elsa:
Elsa is a two-year-old mixed breed dog that would have been euthanized if she had not been rescued by her loving and supportive family. When Elsa was born, a large portion of her brain was missing. I first began working with her when she was 4 months old and, at that time, she was unable to do many of the things that come naturally to most puppies. Elsa was not able to get up off of the floor or stand by herself to eat or go to the bathroom. We first taught her how to stand, then to walk with support, then to finally walk on her own. Now, not only does Elsa walk, she runs, swims, hikes, and plays with very few limitations! Not only is she living a full and happy life, thanks in part to canine rehabilitation, but she is also enriching others’ lives as a Certified Therapy Dog!