Physical Rehabilitation Treatment for Animals

By Christy Leddy RVT, CCRA >>>

Animal physical rehabilitation is continually growing in popularity within the veterinary community. With pet owners requesting more answers and options for their pets who are suffering from various health conditions, physical rehabilitation is opening the doorway for veterinarians to treat acute and chronic injuries.

I have worked in veterinary medicine for the last 15 years, in many areas of the field, from equine and shelter calls to emergency medicine, and now rehabilitation. I feel that veterinary medicine has made progress by leaps and bounds during that time, and many veterinary professionals are becoming more open to alternative treatments. I have fallen in love with rehabilitation medicine over the last five years, and continue to pursue that as the focus of my career.

Years ago, if your pet presented to your veterinarian with symptoms of a tendon, ligament, or muscle injury, it was most likely labeled as “a soft tissue injury” and you were sent on your way with a prescription of anti-inflammatories and orders for kennel rest, in the hopes that the injury would resolve itself with time and rest. There are so many more options today in the world of rehabilitative medicine to truly treat these conditions and improve the overall health of our patients.

Over the last five years I have been working on educating the surrounding community regarding rehabilitative medicine for our pets, and our rehabilitation department here at AV Veterinary Center in Lancaster has grown tremendously. So much so, that we are opening a brand new “rehab only” facility for the Antelope Valley and surrounding areas.

Zen Den Animal Wellness and Rehabilitation, which opened its doors in August, offers a multimodal approach for the treatment of injuries, arthritis, weight loss and conditioning. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, cold laser therapy, pulsed electromagnetic field therapy, underwater treadmill, individualized exercise and nutrition plans, and manual therapy techniques are all offered to ease pain, improve mobility and strength, and improve overall quality of life.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy increases plasma oxygen concentrations, in turn saturating tissues with oxygen to reduce swelling and pain, and promote healing. Cold laser therapy stimulates cell regeneration and circulation, and pulsed electromagnetic field therapy enhances healing from injuries and wounds. The underwater treadmill strengthens muscles using the resistance of water, and buoyancy to reduce strain on the joints. Manual therapies can ease overstressed muscles, improve range of motion, and stimulate the neurologic system.

If you are interested in rehabilitation for your pet, I would definitely encourage you to discuss this interest with your veterinarian or call us for more information.