Rehabilitation is the use of therapeutic exercises combined with additional modalities to improve recovery for patients with both acute and chronic conditions. A pet suffering from chronic pain, arthritis, obesity, or muscle weakness can experience an enhanced quality of life as a result of rehabilitation. VREC is proud to offer rehabilitation services from a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner (CCRP).
Conditions which benefit from rehabilitation include, but are not limited to:
- Sprains & strains
- Stiffness & mobility problems
- Injuries stemming from muscular or soft tissue injuries
- Mobility problems or stiffness
- Hip dysplasia
- Patellar luxations
- Fracture repairs
- Neurological conditions, such as intervertibral disc disease (IVDD)
- Pets who have had cruciate surgery
- Pets who have had elbow surgery
- Pets who have had femoral head and neck ostectomy (FHO) surgery
Current services include:
- Range of motion exercises – Range of motion exercises are designed to increase movement in a joint or limb by carefully stretching a pet’s muscles and/or tendons. These exercises can benefit the head, neck, spine, hips, shoulders, and legs.
- Stretching exercises – Just like humans, stretching improves mobility and quality of life. These specially-designed exercises keep the body active to help prevent pain or discomfort.
- Balance & coordination exercises – These exercises build strength and muscle memory to help pets with reluctance to use a limb. This is commonly used for surgical patients post-operatively or for neurological concerns.
- Massage therapy – During massage therapy, the affected area is gently stretched and manipulated by the CCRP. Benefits include reduced muscle tension, increased elasticity joints and tendons, and improved blood flow.
- Heat & cold therapy – Similar to the principles of human care after a sprain or pulled muscle, applying hot and cold to an affected area helps limit pain and inflammation.
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Simulator (TENS) – A TENS unit is a neuromuscular stimulation tool used to provides stimulation to improve a muscle’s ability to work properly. Benefits include improved healing time, range of motion, and prevention of muscle atrophy.
- Assisi Loop® treatments – The Assisi Loop is a non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical anti-inflammatory device available to any species. The Loop uses low-level pulses of electromagenetic energy to reduce inflammation, pain, and speeds recovery. This tool has the benefit of being sent home with owners to be used at home.
- Activity-based weight management
- Shockwave therapy
Goals of rehabilitation are to restore, maintain, and promote optimal function and mobility; enhance recovery post-operatively; alleviate pain; improve circulation; improve coordination; extend range of motion; and decrease inflammation and swelling that causes pain. Decreasing inflammation leads to an increase joint range of motion, mobility, strength, and accelerated tissue repair. Rehabilitation exercises also help strengthen your pet’s muscles, and enior patients may also experience a boost in confidence and comfort.
Benefits of rehabilitation:
- Reduced pain
- Weight loss
- Increased muscle mass
- Increased joint flexibility and mobility
- Reduced recovery time for pets recovering from injury or surgery
- Increased conditioning of working dogs
- Improvement of arthritis and mobility problems in geriatric dogs
- Faster recovery time for working or athletic dogs
When should my dog begin rehabilitation?
Rehabilitation schedules are done on a case-by-case basis. If rehabilitation is recommended after a pet has surgery (whether at VREC or elsewhere,) our CCRP assesses each patient’s individual needs and goals.
If rehabilitation is recommended to a pet seen at VREC, instructions for at-home care will be discussed with owners before discharge. A post-surgical assessment takes place two weeks after surgery. After the assessment, a schedule will be arranged. Most pets see a gradual return to function over the following 6-8 weeks.