Why would my dog need veterinary physiotherapy?
Many dogs are amazing at continuing to go about their daily lives with little twinges and tweaks in their bodies. However, this unfortunately doesn’t stop the effects of injuries, even if adrenalin is masking the signs during exercise. Age related changes occur in all dogs, and physiotherapy can keep your dog feeling great to carry on with the walks you both enjoy.
Vet physio is highly used both pre- and post-surgically and if possible as a preventative measure. Pre-surgically physiotherapy aims to strengthen soft tissues around a joint and lengthen contracted tissues to increase joint stability post-op.
Post-surgical physiotherapy relieves pain, rebuilds muscular strength, increases mobility, and correct movement patterns for long term health.
Neurological cases also benefit greatly from physiotherapy for muscle and joint support, especially if the dog cannot move itself at this point. Physiotherapy can keep muscles active and neurological pathways can be re-activated through sensory stimulation. Joint range of motion can be kept normal so that if your dog becomes ready to weight bear all limbs they will be better prepared!
Signs your dog may benefit from veterinary physiotherapy:
- Difficulty rising from sitting or lying down.
- Stiffness when walking or trotting.
- Always sitting to one side as opposed to “square.”
- Struggling to jump into the car or onto other surfaces.
- Difficulty going up stairs.
- Withdrawing socially, seeming sad or irritable.
- Repetitive licking to an area or joint.
- Tender to touch.
- Arthritis or other age related conditions.
What to expect from your session:
- Once your dog has been approved by your veterinarian and signed your referral form, your dog can have their first appointment.
- Please allow 60 minutes for your initial session, and 45 minutes for sessions thereafter.
- During the session your dog will be observed in their normal environment, whilst a history is taken to fully understand the nature of their complaint. The dog will then be assessed in walk and trot (if applicable) and a full joint range of motion will be performed.
- The dogs muscle development will be checked and discussed with you as the owner so you can understand any areas of weakness and the impacts this may have on your dog.
- Following this your dog will receive either massage, soft tissue techniques and/or electrotherapy.
- Your vet physio will then discuss any management options that will enhance your dog’s benefits from the session and any exercises you can do at home.
- The biggest benefit as an owner that you will see if your dog’s comfort levels will rise, this can happen by the end of your first session.
- Pain relief benefits may slow the need for your dog to be on pharmaceutical pain control.
- Your dog’s tissues will become more relaxed so their movement is greatly improved.
- Stretching re-aligns tissues for better healing and movement benefits, improving joint stability and range of motion.
- Overall posture improvements and strength gains are seen for a healthier dog, who can keep up their activity levels!