Veterinary Physical Rehabilitation: More than Just an Underwater Treadmill

Just like in the human physical therapy field, the purpose of veterinary physical rehabilitation is to use a non-invasive, non-surgical approach to address some of the musculoskeletal and neurological ailments that can beset our four-legged companions.
Whether the root of these ailments is congenital, traumatic, or just the natural wear and tear of age, the rehab doctor or technician’s job is to look for ways to improve the function of the affected area while simultaneously decreasing any discomfort the pet might be in. Basically what that means is I want your pet to move better and feel better, even if I have to get creative to get them there.

Lack of Exercise Leads to Soft Tissue Injuries in Pets

Injury and instability go hand in hand. When something happens to damage a joint, it is because the tissues responsible for maintaining proper function weren’t up to whatever force acted upon it at the time of the injury. That’s why overweight and out of shape dogs are so much more likely to tear their cruciate ligaments. When they don’t regularly exercise the muscles surrounding and supporting their knees, that tissue can’t always stand up to the stress of a sudden, quick turn. If the muscles aren’t doing their job of holding the joint in the right position, that leaves the ligament as the main stabilizer, which is stressed with a lot more work that it was designed to do and can result in a partial or complete tear.
This principle applies to pretty much any injury or joint in the body, whether it’s arthritis, hip dysplasia, IVDD, or any of the many ways our pets can hurt themselves. To compound the problem, once something hurts, the animal is going to want to take as much pressure off it as possible, which over time leads to loss of muscle tone and even more instability in the joint.
That’s not to say that well-muscled pets don’t get hurt, but the more tone they have, the more stress they are able to take on their joints before injury occurs.

Once an injury to an animal happens, it’s important to stabilize the joint as much as possible. That’s where rehabilitation is key.

Our Chattanooga Pet Rehab is Dedicated to Healing Injured Pets

Through the use of targeted exercises, stretches, and modalities such as a therapeutic laser, ultrasound, and massage, the therapist can work on the specific weak spots in your pet’s musculoskeletal system, helping to tone the supporting muscles and improve both healing and function.
One of the biggest misconceptions that I’ve encountered since our rehab department opened is the idea that pet rehab is all about the underwater treadmill. For whatever reason, that one piece of equipment has become the gold standard of rehabilitation in the minds of clients everywhere, to the point that there are people who won’t even consider bringing their pet to an appointment, solely because the pet hates the water. That’s unfortunate because animal physical rehab is so much more than water therapy.
Don’t get me wrong, our Chattanooga therapy pool can be very beneficial for some patients. I have a pool in my department, and I absolutely love it for many of the injuries that I see. But probably half of my patients never use it, because medicine should never be one-size-fits-all. Different patients require different approaches, and that’s one of the reasons I love this specialty. There are numerous remedies for dog joint pain, so if one thing isn’t working, there are other options available.

Help Pets Heal Faster: Home Treatments for Injured Dogs

Many people also assume that starting pet rehab appointments means that they will be solely dependent on rehab sessions to improve their pets’ condition. That is not the case. I would like to see patients at least once a week to start and get the pet back on the path to healing, but I always offer my clients instruction on exercises and/or stretches that they, themselves can do at home. My ultimate goal is to aid in the healing of injured pets, but much of the work can be done at home, by the owner, with proper guidance.
Will your pet heal without rehabilitation? Probably, to some degree, but the road to recovery will be far longer than it would be with the aid of therapeutic modalities designed to speed healing and improve the pets’ quality of life. The healed area will also be weaker in most cases which makes it more likely to be reinjured. Pets who have received rehab after an injury heal faster and are stronger, post-rehab than pets who rely only on time and medication alone.

’Does My Pet Need Peabody Rehabilitation Center?’

Most pets are a candidate for rehabilitation. Here are a few of the common cases regularly seen:

  • Arthritis
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Age-Related General Immobility
  • Torn Cruciate Ligament
  • Muscle Atrophy
  • Post-Surgical Recovery
  • Weight loss
  • Competitive Athletic Conditioning
  • Congenital Mobility Defects

Some of the modalities offered for helping Chattanooga TN dogs recover from an injury are:

There is nothing more personally satisfying for me than to help a pet in need. The Amelia Peabody Rehabilitation Center was founded for that singular purpose. Let me know what I can do to help your pet. Please indicate whether your pet is a New Rehab Client or a Referral from another doctor.

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