What is Animal Physiotherapy?
The purpose of Animal Physiotherapy is to regain the functional ability of limbs and joints by optimising movement and therefore improving quality of life. Animal physiotherapy is also an effective way of providing pain relief andcan assist with the pre/post rehabilitation process for your animal. Physiotherapy enhances recovery and function in both companion and performance animals and is vital in the prevention, restoration, and rehabilitation of most injuries, degenerative conditions, and surgeries.It is supplemented with individual exercise programs designed to enhance joint mobility, muscle and joint strengthening, balance, and flexibility.
How does it work?
Each treatment is tailored to the individual pet and the owner. The partnership between the therapist, pet, and owners includes education, advice, manual therapies such as massage and joint mobilisation, and dry needlingas well as active involvement in a recommended exercise program.
Medical model evidence-based manual techniques used include joint mobilisation, stretching, massage, dry needling, and trigger-point therapy to address pain, movement, posture, strength, and balance.
Medical model evidence-based electrophysical therapeutic physiotherapy modalities may also be used to reduce inflammation, pain, and stiffness. These include ultrasound, Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS), Functional Electronic Stimulation (FES), laser, shockwave therapy, and hot and cold therapy.
Animal Physiotherapy may help with:
- Ageing pets
- Back pain
- Cardio-respiratory problems
- Degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis) in all body parts
- Neurological: including spinal injury, vestibular, and degenerative back conditions
- Orthopaedic: cruciate ligament and cartilage of knee (stifle); fractures; hip and elbow dysplasia; muscle and tendon injuries, patella luxation, shoulder instability, toe injuries
- Pre and post-surgical management for any orthopaedic condition
- Soft tissue and sporting injuries
- Sporting, performance, and conformation
How will my pet respond?
Following the physiotherapy treatment and subsequent exercise program, your pet should be able to move more freely through improved/increased joint range of motion, muscle flexibility, muscle strength, and tone. Pets may also be tired and a bit sore after moving muscles that have been injured previously. The full benefit will be theacceleration of the rehabilitation process and rebuilding function. It can also prevent further movement dysfunctions or injuries and reduce pain and inflammation.
“Betty, an eight-year-old Cavoodle, had severe back pain, a funny walk, and wasn’t able to jump onto the couch. Her owners took her to the vet where she was given a Metacam injection and prescribed four weeks’ rest. After one week, Betty resumed family walks, which exacerbated the back pain resulting in another trip to the vet for more pain relief. This time, the vet referred Betty for Canine Physiotherapy at Paws Connect.
Her comprehensive physiotherapy treatment included soft-tissue massage of the cervical-thoracic-lumbar spine and the muscles supporting the spine; soft-tissue massage to the shoulders and chest area to relieve compensatory stressors; soft-tissue massage to both hind limbs concentrating on the quadriceps, hamstrings, groin, and hip flexors; and stretching of bilateral hind limbs of the quadriceps and hamstrings.
This was coupled with dry needling of the thoraco-lumbar spine, which reduced the tension and decreased fasciculations and roaching of the thoraco-lumbar spine with an immediate observable positive effect. Betty was noticeably more spritely, and her hind limb base of support became narrower, which reduced her wobbly gait.
She was also treated by one of the other practitioners in the centre using The NES BioEnergetiX WellNES system – designed to read, communicate with, and stimulate a change in the energy of the body – with excellent results for Betty’s neck and myofascial release of the cervical-thoracic-lumbar spine.
Betty was given a home exercise plan, including sit-to-stand practice with treats pulling forwards, encouraging Betty to walk over poles on the ground and to walk up gentle hills. This was in addition to standing weight shifts and three-point standing.
Two weeks later, her owner wasn’t sure if she needed to bring her back to physio for another treatment but decided to so she could show how much Betty had improved after her first session of Animal Physiotherapy. Betty was a completely different dog, walking with a narrow base of support, no ataxic, or wobbly hind limb gait. She was more energetic, spritely, and bouncing around!
Physio provided maintenance treatment and dry needling to Betty during this second session, and this time Betty really enjoyed the session. Her pain had gone. Betty had now returned to baseline function and activity.”