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Pet Rehabilitation Therapies

View our list of pet rehabilitation therapies

  • Bowen Therapy
  • Chiropractic
  • Home Exercise
  • Massage
  • Physiotherapy
  • Shockwave Therapy
  • Therapeutic Laser
  • Therapeutic Ultrasound
  • Hydrotherapy

Bowen Therapy

Canine Bowen for dogs is rapidly growing in popularity as more and more people start to hear about its effects on a broad range of conditions, as with people it has the potential to help many physical conditions, but also is very beneficial when used on dogs with emotional issues such as phobias, anxiety and stress.

Prior to treating the dog, a full background history is taken. This will include information about the dog's daily lifestyle such as diet, exercise, temperament, behaviour etc. This helps to build a clearer picture on areas that may have an impact on the condition the dog is being treated with.

Observations will be made on static and dynamic conformation, this basically means looking at how the dog is put together, how it stands and moves etc.

Observations will also be made by running the hands all over the body, looking for areas of tension, tenderness, heat or cold etc.

The actual time 'hands on treating' the dog is relatively short, about 20 minutes. The 'breaks' of around 1-2 minutes will be put in after 2-3 sets of moves. However, dogs are far more in tune with their body's and will often decide where they want the breaks and move away. It is not uncommon for a dog to leave the room for a few minutes only to return for more. The dog is never restrained during the treatment and is free to move around, or come and go as he/she likes.

Dogs that have regular Bowen often walk over and present the area they want or need working on!

How many treatments will be needed?

How many treatments a dog requires will depend on it's presenting condition, age etc. But as with people, I would recommend 2-3 treatments at weekly intervals initially.

Working or competing dogs would benefit from regular treatments to help prevent injury, maintain health and enhance performance and recovery time.

  • Back / neck / shoulder pain and stiffness
  • Muscular tension and stiffness
  • Hip, Elbow displaysia and other joint issues such as OCD
  • Spinal injuries
  • Cruciate ligament problems
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Addisons, Cushings
  • IBS, Colitis and other digestive complaints
  • Epilepsy
  • Post surgery to aid recovery
  • Behavioural issues e.g. phobias, anxiety
  • Maintenance and performance enhancement in competing dogs
  • Palliative care for dogs with terminal illness

Chiropractic

Chiropractors use their hands to assess, find and adjust the joints of the spine and limbs where signs of restricted movement are found. Gentle, specific manipulation techniques help to restore normal body movement. Treatment aims to make your pet move better and more freely.

When the bones and joints in the body are not moving correctly this has an adverse effect on the nervous system which alters function and movement of muscles and joints. This can lead to symptoms such as pain, muscle spasm, muscle weakness and lameness.

Usually, during a chiropractic session all the joints are taken through their normal range of movement. If a restricted area is found then a manipulation or adjustment is performed to the joint to restore normal movement, or muscle release to encourage the nerves to fire differently. This re-sets the nerve input into the brain and spinal cord and therefore improves movement. A chiropractic adjustment is a low amplitude, high velocity thrust along a specific line of correction. It is well tolerated by most animals. It is used as a single therapy for some conditions and along side other therapies as part of our holistic approach to healing at Pet rehab. It can help with many conditions such as osteoarthritis, back pain, post surgery rehabilitation, hip and elbow dysplasia, sciatic pain and lumbosacral pain.

Home Exercise

A program of therapeutic exercises performed both in the clinic and at home is an integral part of the rehabilitation program.

This sort of physiotherapy for animals is more challenging than with people as we can not explain to them what we want them to do. We have a wide variety of exercises that can be used to target movement at different muscle, tendons or joints and can be adapted to the individual capabilities of your pet.

Doing these exercises at home enables you to be involved in your animals recovery and will speed up the rehabilitation process considerably. Lead walking is often an essential part of the recovery process and we can assist with preventing pulling and enabling the walking to be a valuable part of therapy rather than a battle.

Therapeutic exercises can be used to encourage weight bearing on a limb, improve active joint motion and to build power, strength and speed. They can be used to help proprioception (the awareness of where the body is in space) and balance ( the body’s ability to maintain equilibrium while standing or moving over different ground conditions). Simple massage techniques or stretching may be demonstrated to you to help manage pain and recovery from injury.

The therapists at pet rehab will develop a unique program for your pet and it will be adjusted as we go through the rehabilitation process. If a particular exercise is difficult to do we can design an alternative. We can assist with training your dog (or cat or rabbit etc) to complete the exercises- sometimes this may be as simple as training a dog to sit, sometimes training methods such as clicker training are used.

Please contact us if you struggle with a particular exercise - we are here to help!

Massage

Massage is the scientific manipulation of soft tissue for injury prevention and therapeutic purposes. It helps to remove the build up of general aches and pains and to restore function back to damaged tissues following injury or trauma. The therapist uses their hands to explore the tissues, find the problems and deal accordingly with the damage, this in turn improves performance, endurance, prevents injuries and loss of joint mobility.

Massage clears away any toxins present within the muscles and encourages them to relax back into a supple state with the aid of blood flow and lymph drainage. It can help with muscle spasms caused by a muscle contraction that has failed to release as the muscle has relaxed. The spasm protects other damaged tissues but can cause joint restriction and muscle tightness. Massage improves the relaxation and desensitisation of muscle fibres that lead to the release of a spasm, therefore improving joint mobility as well as lowering stress levels placed upon the body.

Physiotherapy

Physiotherapists are experts in mobilising joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons, to provide pain relief and the restoration of function. Techniques include hands on treatments such as soft tissue and joint mobilisations/ manipulation, massage, myofascial and trigger point release work and stretches. Electrotherapy is used as appropriate – for example, laser or ultrasound therapy.

Physiotherapy can be used to treat problems such as joint disease, rehabilitation after surgery, nerve injuries and muscle strains.

It can be used as part of a program to optimise performance in sports dogs and manage injury. It can be used to help support geriatric pets and slow down the effects of ageing on mobility helping to enhance quality of life.

Physiotherapy can be used as part of a holistic approach to reduce reliance on pain medication for chronic painful conditions.

Shockwave Therapy

Shockwave uses sound waves to stimulate repair of tissues.

It can release growth factors and can help dissolve dystrophic mineralisation (calcium deposits) in tissues.

Shockwave can be particularly effective for osteoarthritis, lumbosacral disease, tendinopathies and ligament injuries and has been used to treat a range of other conditions.

Therapeutic Laser

Laser therapy uses infrared light to stimulate cellular activity and increase the body’s rate of healing. It also has an analgesic and warming effect on the tissues.

Laser therapy is painless and well tolerated by patients.

After treatment a healing process is initiated that continues to actively reduce inflammation for up to 24 hours.

This therapy can be effective in treating both acute pain and inflammation, chronic conditions and post-operative pain.

Typically even long standing conditions can show improvement after 3 to 5 sessions. Laser is also useful in the treatment of open or non-healing wounds.

Therapeutic Ultrasound

Ultrasound uses low frequency sound waves to stimulate tissue healing. It can be used for heating effects in deep tissues as well as to break down adhesions and scar tissues particularly in tendons.

Ultrasound is used to stimulate healing of collagen. Soft tissues with a high collagen content will respond well to ultrasound treatment.

Common conditions treated with ultrasound include tendon injury, ligament injury and muscle injury.

Ultrasound will also stimulate circulation by increasing the blood supply to the injured area, helping to maximise the healing process.

Hydrotherapy

In Hydrotherapy, the buoyancy of the water enables dogs that are in pain walking on land to use their limbs more freely increasing muscle tone, and helping to make their day-to-day life on land easier and less painful.

The water treadmill is an ideal environment for the safe, early introduction of exercise after surgery. At least one therapist is always in the water supporting the dog and another therapist will support from outside the treadmill if needed, especially in the early stages. This enables the patient to use their limbs correctly and learn to walk properly rather than establishing an incorrect gait pattern. Different heights of water are used to work specific muscles or joints. Walking in the water reduces the load through joints or surgically treated areas while allowing the muscles to work and help to prevent atrophy caused by disuse.

Aquatic therapy is also beneficial pre-operatively, for example before a hip replacement, when muscle tone can be improved around the affected joints to aid recovery after surgery.

Hydrotherapy can be used as part of a fitness and conditioning program for sports dogs and can even be used as part of a weight control program for dogs struggling with obesity.

We spend time accustoming dogs to going into the treadmill and make if fun for them with the use of treats and toys. Even dogs who do not like swimming will usually be happy to walk in the treadmill after the initial introduction.

Common conditions treated with hydrotherapy include:

  • Post orthopaedic surgery – for example, Cruciate repair, fracture repair, spinal surgery 
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • CDRM
  • Nerve injury
  • Muscle, tendon and ligament injury
  • Intervertebral disc disease
  • Fitness and conditioning
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