What can I expect from my dog’s veterinary physiotherapy 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 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 and soft tissue techniques 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.
How long will a session take?
An initial session may take up to 60 minutes to establish a thorough history and understanding of your dog’s requirements and to allow your dog to calm down and settle for the session. Sessions following this will be 45 minutes to allow for any updates to be shared and to re-assess your dog’s progression and perform another treatment session.
Will my dog need more than one session?
Yes, it is highly likely your dog will need more than one session, this is as muscle memory occurs in all tissues, therefore to re-establish a normal movement pattern several sessions will be required. If your dog has muscle loss on a particular area, it will take time to rehabilitate to symmetrical muscles. To receive the best quality care possible, the physiotherapist will discuss how many sessions your dog may need. Block bookings are available for rehabilitation cases.
Does a vet need to give permission?
Your veterinarian will need to fill out a referral form for your dog to receive veterinary physiotherapy. This will be a short form to outline any conditions your veterinarian has diagnosed, you dog does not have to have a specific condition but the form is still required for well-being treatments. This is as veterinary physiotherapy should not be used as an alternative to veterinary care but in conjunction to support your dog’s well-being.
Are there other things that I can do to help my dog?
Home management is very important for canines. Some examples may be having short, frequent lead walks or adapting the home so the floors are non-slip. The condition being treated and at which stage will determine the changes which may need to be made. You may also receive exercises which will aid the recovery process of your animal, these may range from applying heat, ice, massage, range of motions or stretches. If these are applicable to your dog, they will be shown to you in detail so you can safely apply them to your animal.
What are the benefits to my dog if their receiving physiotherapy?
Many dogs have conditions which alter their movement abilities, these can be managed via physiotherapy so the problems don’t become chronic and have larger long term effects.
The main effects of physiotherapy are pain relief, re-balancing musculature, allowing your dog to return to previous level of activity. If your dog has had surgery the healing process can be optimised, but even the smallest complaint can be managed ensuring your dog is comfy all of the time.
What conditions can benefit from veterinary physiotherapy?
Almost any musculoskeletal condition can benefit from physiotherapy, including but not limited to, arthritis, cruciate ligaments, hip dysplasia, shoulder and elbow issues, disc diseases, and spinal conditions.
My dog is insured; will the insurance company pay for the veterinary physiotherapy?
Many insurance companies do cover veterinary physiotherapy, but this will depend very much on your own policy and it’s best to check with your company. However, you will still need to pay your veterinary physiotherapy fees at the time of your appointment and then the appropriate paperwork will be filed for a claim to be made.
My dog is on medication; do you need to know about this?
Yes, all medication should be made known to the veterinary physiotherapist and will be discussed at both the initial session and in following sessions to clarify any changes.
Can my dog have normal exercise after their treatment?
This will entirely depend on why your dog requires physiotherapy, but generally a short lead walk will be recommended on the day your dog has received treatment. Further exercise recommendations will be made on a case by case basis.
Does my dog have to have a condition to receive veterinary physiotherapy?
No, you can get your dog maintenance physiotherapy for their own comfort and well-being. Your dog doesn’t need to have a specific complaint to receive physiotherapy if you think that your dog would benefit, however you will still need veterinary permission.
My dog seems tired after their session, is this normal?
It is completely normal for your dog to feel slightly lethargic after treatment, natural endorphins are released. If your animal has muscular spasms, then waste products are higher in these tissues and will be removed which may fatigue the animal. These effects should last no more than 24 hours.
My dog is drinking more than normal after their session, is this normal?
This is very natural, soft tissue therapies rehydrates tissue that may have been dehydrated therefore the extra fluid is required. Your dog has not been living dehydrated, only certain muscles, but massage increases the circulatory system rehydrating these tissues.
All appointments are at pre-arranged times, subject to availability, and will involve the Veterinary Physiotherapist either coming to your home (canine) or yard (equine).
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