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Physical Rehabilitation

A manual treatment method used to decrease pain and restore function.

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Physical Rehabilitation

From cruciate (ACL) tears and arthritis to neurologic disease and animals that have experienced fractured bones, our goal is to provide the support and treatment they need so that they can return to living their best lives!

The methods and principles are very similar to physical therapy in people.

The benefits of
 rehabilitation include:

  • reduced pain and inflammation

  • quicker surgical recovery time

  • muscle strengthening

  • increased mobility and range of motion

  • weight loss

  • re-training how to perform basic functions (walking, etc) after a traumatic injury.

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The treatment methods that are utilized in our rehabilitation programs include
  • soft tissue manipulation/trigger point release

  • manual therapies

  • therapeutic exercises

  • electrical muscle stimulation

Rehabilitation therapy (RT) is usually used in conjunction with laser therapy and acupuncture for optimum results.

RT has been shown to speed healing and improve the return to function after trauma or surgery.

For those dogs (and even cats!) that may not be good candidates for surgery, it can allow us to achieve pain reduction and improvement in mobility which would not otherwise be an option.

As a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist, Dr. Lindsey has undergone extensive and in-depth training to be able to diagnose and treat many different orthopedic and neurologic conditions.

Frequently asked questions

What does physical rehabilitation mean for dogs and cats?

Physical rehabilitation is treating and managing disease using hands-on methods like soft tissue manipulation (medical massage), stretching, joint mobilizations, therapeutic exercise, and modalities.

For humans, it is very standard after injuries or in the process of surgical recovery to undergo physical therapy to promote the best return to normal function that is possible and to help manage pain in the recovery period.

The same is true for dogs and cats- whether there is a cranial cruciate ligament injury, surgery for a fractured bone, or an older animal with degenerative joint disease, physical rehabilitation allows for a better quality of life both in the short and long-term.

Does physical therapy/rehabilitation work for dogs and cats?

It does! It can be used as follow-up therapy after surgery to help regain muscle mass and flexibility that has been lost during the injury period. It can help to maintain or improve mobility in an older dog or cat that has arthritis or other diseases that compromise the ability for them to have a good quality of life.

In some cases, injuries do not have a surgical repair available to correct them and physical rehabilitation can provide an opportunity to help the pet return back to their state of being prior to when the injury occurred.

How often do pets need physical therapy/rehabilitation?

After surgical procedures, many dogs and cats will need 1-2 sessions per week for a few months to help improve their comfort and slowly encourage them to return to their highest level of function.

In older pets that we are trying to keep comfortable, 1-4 sessions per month can be instrumental in achieving our goals.

How do you do physical therapy/rehabilitation for dogs?

It is very important to make physical rehabilitation a positive experience for the pet. For dogs and cats that are food motivated, we use treats and high-value food items to keep them engaged and bursting with enjoyment during their sessions.

Many pets appreciate the relaxation that is provided by the therapeutic soft tissue manipulation, which would be comparable to a human having a massage by a sports medicine specialist.

At Crystal Lotus Veterinary Care, we perform physical rehabilitation in the comfort of your home so that your dog or cat can be where they are comfortable, and many of them start to view Dr. Lindsey as a friend who plays games and hands out a lot of treats during her visits!

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