Alongside massage, stretching and electrotherapies, rehabilitation techniques can be a fun way for you and your dog to get the most out of the healing process – especially if your dog cannot go on your normal long walks. It is a great way to mentally stimulate your dog and can be a great addition on to a short lead walk.
Your veterinary physiotherapist will have prescribed you specific exercises and demonstrated but here are some of the benefits and rehab methods you may see.
Massage increases blood flow to the area for better tissue repair, it has a pain relieving effect. Different techniques achieve different actions, such as effleurage heats the tissue and increases blood flow. Compression has muscle pumping action helping flush waste out, whilst tapotement can excite ‘unstimulated muscles’. Cross fibre friction can reduce adhesions and scar tissue.
Stretching lengthens tissue fibres, helping to relax them and re-align the fibres. Different stretches are employed depending on which muscle you want to target. They can either help to activate a muscle group or to relax them. Stretches can be given to you as an owner to enhance your dogs progress between treatments.
Range of Motion
Range of motion isn’t only just a great assessment tool, it is a fantastic way to allow the joints to keep lubricating effectively. Joint fluid is necessary for the bones to slide past each other effectively. This can be performed to each specific joint or as a global exercise to the limb.
There is a wide range of rehab exercises, they can be extremely basic for the very early stages of condition management or after injury, to the more complex for fine tuning the more advanced dog. They can start from range of motion, to sit-to-stand exercises or involving poles for the dog to walk over. Again these can be applied by the owner to enhance your dog’s progress between treatments.
Laser, is light therapy, which penetrates the tissues with energy, this energy then creates reactions within the cells as they absorb the light. It can increase productivity of the cells for a greater healing response. It can be used to treat joints, trigger points (nodules of contracted muscles), to relieve pain, or for wound healing.
Pulse Mag (Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy)
Pulse Mag uses electromagnetic currents which stimulates cells. As a problem occurs and cells get irritated which creates an imbalance in their energy potentials. Pulse Mag restores this balance to create optimally functioning cells for increased healing potential.
A variety of settings can be used which may either replicate a heating or icing effect, calming effects or produce pain relief.
Heat is a very effective tool for an owner to apply, or to be used at the start of the session to help relax the tissues. Heat encourages blood flow to the area, along with thermal receptors in the skin sending signals faster to the body and overriding the pain signals from this area. It can lubricate joints and relax muscles for a deeper treatment or prior to stretching.
NB: An interface should always be used between a heat pack and the dog’s body, one has not been used here for illustrative purposes of the type of pack which may be used.
Ice is great for inflammation or swelling in areas, it restricts blood flow to the area so there is less fluid leaking into the damaged tissue. It slows down the metabolic activity of the cells so damage is restricted, as well as being able to overriding pain signals from the area. Icing is great for painful joints or areas where inflammation is occurring.
NB: An interface should always be used between an ice pack and the dog’s body, one has not been used here for illustrative purposes of the type of pack which may be used.