Q: Do you treat exotic pets?

A: We can provide veterinary care to all species of small mammals and reptiles. At this time, we are not able to see birds or venomous snakes.

Q: What is animal rehabilitation therapy?

A: Physical rehabilitation is an essential part of human medicine and has been since the early 1900s. Animal rehabilitation therapy treats animals with injury, pain, physical abnormalities, neuromuscular and functional mobility deficit through the application of physics, biomechanics, anatomy, physiology, and psychology. Treatment techniques include modalities (ice, heat, electrical and laser stimulation), joint and soft tissue mobilization, as well as massage, therapeutic exercise, aquatic therapy, acupressure, and much more.

Q: Who is qualified to perform rehabilitation?

A: A certified rehabilitation therapist or practitioner should perform animal rehabilitation therapy. Extensive coursework and training is required to achieve this status. Rehabilitation specialists have knowledge of your pet’s anatomy and physiology, understand the principles of tissue healing, are able to protect a joint and/or muscle carefully moving it to avoid adverse effects of immobilization while preventing injury, and can safely design an appropriate exercise program specific to the patient.

Q: What conditions do you treat?

A: Many. Below is a list of just some of the conditions we treat. If you have any questions about your pet’s condition please contact us.

  • Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
  • Spinal Conditions
  • Post Surgical Conditions – Orthopedic and Neurological
  • ACL (CCL) Injuries
  • Muscle Strains
  • Soft Tissue (Muscle, Tendon, Ligament) Injuries
  • Arthritis
  • Degenerative Myelopathy
  • Athletic Injuries
  • Sore Joints
  • Fibrocartilagenous Emboli
  • Post Fracture Management
  • Trauma
  • Disc Conditions
  • Obesity

Q: What are the benefits?

A: The benefits of rehabilitation aim to reduce pain, inflammation and swelling, increase joint mobility, flexibility, strengthen, and improve fitness to ultimately improve your pet’s range of movement, function, and quality of life. Here’s a list of just a few ways physical rehabilitation can help.

  • Decrease lameness and increase mobility after a severe orthopedic or neurologic injury.
  • Promote safe use of a painful limb after an injury or surgery, speeding their recovery.
  • Prevent further injury toward injured limbs as well as non-affected ones.
  • Improve and prolong the quality of life of geriatric and arthritic pets.
  • Achieve weight loss in overweight and obese animals.
  • Manage acute and chronic pain.
  • Increase the fitness of athletic animals and working dogs.
  • Provide ambulatory assistance to patients who need ambulation carts, orthotic devices, or prostheses.

Q: Can rehabilitation prevent injury in my healthy pet?

A: While not all injuries are preventable, having a well-structured exercise routine as well as healthy weight and fitness levels will speed return to function for more injuries.

Q: Can I afford it?

A: Sessions are individually designed for both you and your pet. The rehabilitation team will discuss your pet’s treatment plan on the first visit. Depending on your pet’s condition, the sessions may vary from 30 to 45 minutes per visit. Give us a call for individual pricing.

Q: What should I expect?

A: The goals of therapy vary between patients and are based on the initial evaluation of your companion. They will be clearly discussed with you afterwards. Some patients may return to high-performance activities, while others may have to learn to function with life-long limitations that can be minimized with proper maintenance activities. Goals may include decreasing pain and swelling, improving lameness or motor control, rebuilding muscle mass, weight loss, and improved outdoor (uneven terrain) or indoor (including stairs) mobility.

Q: How soon after surgery/injury does rehabilitation begin?

A: The pain-relief and anti-inflammatory phases of rehabilitation should start immediately after an injury or surgery. Delaying rehabilitation is generally never beneficial. The strengthening phase of rehabilitation usually starts two weeks after your companion’s surgery or injury has taken place.

Q: How do I get started in a rehabilitation program?

A: You will need to call and schedule an initial evaluation with the rehabilitation team. This appointment will generally take an hour. During this time a comprehensive orthopedic and/or neurologic examination will be done and any specific measurements will be taken. If you have any radiographs (x-rays) or discharge papers from your veterinarian please bring them to your appointment. A home exercise program will be created based on your pet’s capability and reviewed with you to ensure you are able to perform the exercises at home. Recommendations for in-house therapy including frequency and duration of visits will also be discussed. We encourage you to be with the pet during the rehabilitation process as much as possible. Follow-up rehab sessions will include reviewing the current home exercises as needed, progressing to new exercises as able, manual therapy, modalities and aquatic therapy as discussed. We do offer drop off service if you are unable to make a scheduled appointment time.

Q: What if I don’t have the time or money for rehabilitation?

A: Keep in mind that rehabilitation often reduces the need for anti-inflammatory or pain medications for your pet, which in turn saves you money in the long run. It will also speed your companion’s recovery and help to prevent any further injury. As for time, we will teach you some basic at-home techniques if you can’t come into the practice as often as prescribed. Working with your pet on rehab exercises can even help to develop an even closer relationship.

Q: What if my pet needs rehabilitation therapy, but I can’t take them home yet?

A: We are a 24-hour medical and emergency facility that is able to offer in-patient rehabilitation therapy. If your pet is not mobile after surgery or is unable to come home immediately post-injury/surgery, we are able to provide overnight care and daily rehab therapy until your pet is well enough to come home.

Q: What types of treatment and modalities do you use?

A: We have several tools available to help with returning function and quality of life to your companion. Some are listed below.

  • Cold Laser
  • Aquatic Therapy – Underwater Treadmill and Therapy Pool
  • Therapeutic Exercise
  • Joint Mobilizations
  • Massage
  • Manual Therapy
  • Home Exercise Instruction

Q: How do I tell if my pet is in pain?

A: Unlike you and I, animals are not usually vocal when in pain. So, without careful observation, owners often fail to recognize that their companion is in pain. Here are some guidelines.

Mild Pain Signs

  • Less activity.
  • Going up or down stairs less frequently.
  • Abnormal gait.

Moderate Pain Signs

  • Unwilling or hesitant to climb or descend stairs.
  • Difficulty standing up.
  • Stumbling.
  • Sleeping more than normal.
  • Obvious abnormal gait (hopping, limping, favoring limbs)
  • Excessive panting.
  • Sensitive to touch on specific areas of the body.
  • Irritable disposition.

Sever Pain Signs

  • Severely abnormal gait (little to no use on a limb, constant weight shifting, head bobs while walking, etc.)
  • Decreased appetite.
  • Restless at night.
  • Sleeping excessively during the day.
  • Severe sensitivity to touch, possibly aggressive response.

Q: What do I do if my pet seems sore after therapy?

A: Being tired after a session is okay. If your pet is sore after exercising at home or at the rehab center, make sure to let the therapist know. Soreness right after an appointment or that lasts more than 24 hours may indicate that your pet did too much that day and we may need to adjust their activity level. Decrease the amount of activity by half for the next day and gradually return to the level of activity that did not cause soreness. An ice pack to the injured area may be recommended as well. Contact your therapist for more assistance.