Animal rehabilitation is the use of physical modalities and therapeutic exercises to improve a patient’s functional mobility. It can include manual therapies by the therapist including massage and joint mobilizations to increase the range of motion, loosen restrictions and decrease pain. It can also include other physical therapies such as Low-Level Laser therapy, the range of motion exercises and stretching, thermal modalities (the use of hot and cold), Electrical Stimulation (NMES, TENS), Therapeutic Exercises and Aquatic therapies like swimming or the use of an Underwater Treadmill. At Full Circle Veterinary Alternatives, it also includes other treatment systems including Traditional Chinese Medicine (Acupuncture and Herbal Therapies) and Animal Chiropractic.
A structured rehabilitation program can be of great benefit to many patients. Rehabilitation has been shown to decrease pain, increase weight bearing, increase or maintain joint range of motion and build muscle strength. It can greatly shorten the recovery period post surgery. Rehabilitation can also benefit patients with arthritis or joint disease who can not or would not benefit from surgical intervention. Rehabilitation benefits senior pets as it helps maintain muscle mass and joint range of motion and can also help relieve chronic pain. Overweight patients benefit from rehab as it can help with weight loss and offer joint support and muscle building. Sporting and working dogs benefit from rehabilitation as it can increase their conditioning and fitness level, improve their strength and their body awareness.