Canine Rehab


Partner Content Furever Strong K9 Rehab

Article by Kathleen Smith PT DPT CCRT

Photography by Kathleen Smith PT DPT CCRT

Canine rehabilitation, dog physical therapy, physical rehabilitation: it doesn’t matter what you call it, it all means helping your dog be pain free, move better, and get stronger. It is a relatively new but quickly growing field in veterinary care especially for your canine companion. Rehabilitation is most commonly thought of after a surgery, to help manage post op pain, and help them return to being a dog. Those dogs absolutely benefit from a progressive program, but so do many other dogs. Those that are suffering from arthritis, general aging related difficulties, soft tissue injury can benefit greatly, and many can even benefit from rehab prior to surgery to help speed up their recovery.

Following a similar model to human physical therapy, the first goal is always pain management. You may think your dog is not in pain, but there are many subtle signs that say otherwise such as a subtle limp or favoring of one limb, panting, limited range of motion of a joint, tenderness around a joint or muscle, lack of desire to participate in running, jumping and other activities. A Certified Canine Rehab Therapist can help identify the location and involved tissues, as well as compensatory dysfunction, think tightness in the back and unaffected limb due to limping. 

Along with a nose to tail musculoskeletal evaluation, a certified rehab therapist will perform hands on treatments such as massage, take the dogs through exercises and prescribe home exercises for you the pet parent to do with your dog to make the lasting changes. The home exercises are where the magic really happens, it takes consistency and patience, but it allows for the long term changes and gains that have to occur for recovery. As pain is reduced, function improves, and strengthening activities continue to progress the pup to their prior level of living, and return to their activities.

That is always our goal, get you and your pup back to enjoying all of their favorite things. If you are noticing your dog slowing down, limping, or avoiding their favorite activities contact your local Certified Canine Rehab Therapist to discuss the next steps.

Businesses Featured in this Article

Related Articles

See More