It’s very uncommon for our dogs to suffer from issues related to their musculoskeletal systems, whether such issues are the result of trauma, degeneration, inflammation, or anything else

It is sometimes necessary to implement additional means to help the animal recover its full mobility after surgery or to help it live better with a disability or chronic pain: this is where the intervention of the physiotherapist at the Canine Rehabilitation Center comes into play. Medical or surgical treatments do not always or completely solve these problems.

What Is Veterinary Physiotherapy?

Veterinary physiotherapy is a form of physical therapy that is specifically designed for animals, particularly dogs and cats. It involves the use of various techniques, such as exercise, massage, and other forms of manual therapy, to help improve mobility, reduce pain, and increase overall function in animals.

Veterinary physiotherapy can be used to treat a wide range of conditions in animals, including injuries, degenerative joint diseases, neurological disorders, and post-surgical rehabilitation. It can also be used to help improve performance in working and sporting dogs, as well as to help maintain the overall health and well-being of older animals.

Veterinary physiotherapy is typically performed by a licensed veterinarian or a specially trained animal physiotherapist. It is usually performed in a clinical setting, although some treatments may be administered at home under the guidance of a trained professional.

If you think that your dog or cat may benefit from veterinary physiotherapy, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate treatment plan. Your veterinarian may recommend physiotherapy as part of a larger treatment plan, or may refer you to a qualified animal physiotherapist for further evaluation and treatment.

woman works with a cat and a dog in an animal physiotherapy office
woman who works with a cat and a dog in an animal physiotherapy office

What Are The Reasons To Present Your Pet For Veterinary Physiotherapy At The Canine Rehabilitation Center?

Your attending veterinarian has identified a persistent loco motor problem following trauma or after surgery

Your dog or cat presents:

  • A loco motor difficulty, of orthopedic origin (lameness) or neurological (paresis ….)
  • persistent pain after trauma or surgery (fracture, sprain, tendonitis, muscle tear, low back pain …)
  • a defect of locomotion following a neurological affection (fibro-cartilaginous embolism, cerebra vascular accident, degenerative neuropathy …)
  • chronic pain, especially in all animals suffering from osteoarthritis (osteoarthritis of the hips due to hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis of the knee following a sprain …)
  • Your dog has a hip dysplasia: physiotherapy can intervene preventively to limit the appearance of osteoarthritis.

What Are The Highlights Of A Physiotherapy Consultation At The Canine Rehabilitation Center?

The first consultation takes about 1 hour. It takes place in the presence of the owners.

X-ray of the lumbosacral spine: major spondylosis responsible for pain

It involves:

  • the medical and surgical history of your dog/cat
  • the registration of your veterinarian’s contact information if you have one
  • a general examination of your animal, to check in particular the absence of contraindications to the use of this or that means of reeducation
  • an in-depth clinical examination of the musculoskeletal system: assessment of the gait, assessment of amyotrophic (muscle wasting), neurological tests, measurement of joint angles …
  • sometimes the use of imaging examinations, performed by other veterinarians, may be necessary to clarify the situation before setting up the functional rehabilitation sessions: X-rays (search for bone abnormalities), ultrasound (search for tendonous or muscular lesions), myelography or CT scan (search for brain or spinal neurological involvement); these exams are of course set up at the Canine Rehabilitation center only with the agreement of the owner and the attending veterinarian if there is one.
  • the synthesis, with the owners, of the whole of the results of the examinations carried out which makes it possible to draw up an assessment of the locomotive capacities of the animal
  • the determination of objectives to be achieved during functional rehabilitation sessions, in agreement with the owners
  • the explanation to the owners of the functional rehabilitation program envisaged and the therapeutic means foreseen to achieve these objectives
  • the implementation of the functional reeducation program itself, on one or more sessions depending on the objectives, set
  • the report of the consultation to your attending veterinarian guaranteeing a good continuity of care for your dog or cat

The following physiotherapy sessions are shorter (30 to 45 minutes). They follow the program established during the first consultation. A reassessment of the animal is done every two weeks, and the initial program evolves according to the progress of your dog or cat.

beauceron puppy gets a treatment on its front leg
Beauceron puppy gets a treatment on its front leg

How Does A Physiotherapy Session At The Canine Rehabilitation Center Take Place?

Depending on the degree of loco motor involvement of your cat or dog, a veterinary physiotherapy session (30 to 45 minutes) can use many therapeutic modalities. However, we can identify three particular times in a session:

  • a phase of preparation and heating of the animal by massage and thermotherapy
  • a phase of actual treatment and work:
  • a treatment to fight against the pain and/or to activate the cicatrization of the tissues (cry therapy, ultrasound, electrotherapy in mode “anti-pain”, waves of shock, laser)
  • a passive work, if the animal is at the beginning of its reeducation (mobilizations of the members, electrotherapy in mode “muscular stimulation”)
  • An active work of proprioception and muscle building when the animal progresses in its physiotherapy program (treadmill, active exercises with obstacles, hydrotherapy ….)
  • A recovery phase with massages and stretching that limit the appearance of contractures and relax the animal.

Read also: Some Useful Tips & Routines To Keep Your Dogs & Cats Healthy


Dr. Orika Mosquera

Hello, I am Dr. Orika Mosquera Lopez graduated from the free university of colombia sectional Barranquilla as a doctor and surgeon. I work as a General Practitioner with Experience in the Emergency Department, Hospitalization and External Consultation. I love pets, i have 2 cats, Bagheera and Nhala and one Yorkshire Terrier called Princess. I care a lot about the well-being of my animals


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