What is canine rehabilitation?

Did you know that your furry friend can benefit from hydrotherapy or muscle-building exercises? Well, if your pet experiences any orthopaedic issues, it can access numerous benefits with canine rehabilitation.

Indeed, this concept is a new one, but almost all veterinarians in the US will recommend this approach for dogs that need help with recovery. Rehabilitation can decrease pain and discomfort while boosting joint mobility. So, if you’re interested in increasing the quality of life for your pet, read on to find out how canine rehabilitation can help.

PT Planned and Personalized

The first stage of enrolling your pet in a rehabilitation treatment approach is a meet-up between your veterinarian and a verified canine rehabilitation practitioner or therapist. These specialists will discuss the health problems of your pet, determine the severity of it, and create a treatment plan to help your pet overcome the problem. Rehabilitation can include several techniques useful for orthopaedic issues, like thermotherapy, hydrotherapy, or coordination exercises. Depending on the problem of your pet, the experts will craft a personalized rehabilitation plan based on the following aspects:

  • Pet massage to decrease muscle tension and improve mobility;
  • Thermo and cryotherapy to boost the range of motion and deal with stiffness with the aid of heat packs;
  • Passive range of motion to teach your pet how to regain its full range of motion;
  • Coordination exercises to recover from the spinal cord or neurological problems. In most cases, this type of session includes walking over obstacles and performing specific coordination exercises;
  • Balance exercises to improve muscles strength and deal with atrophied limbs, which is useful for pets recovering from the spinal cord or neurological problems;
  • Strengthening exercises to trach the dog how to position weight on affected limbs, along with how to regain the full range of motion. This is usually recommended for pets suffering from hip dysplasia or degenerative joint issues;
  • Hydrotherapy to ease the exercising process with the aid of water. It decreases stress on limbs, being excellent for pets recovering from surgery;
  • Electrical stimulation to deal with pain and boost the effectiveness of other rehabilitation approaches.

Labrador retrievers and canine rehabilitation

Labrador retrievers and canine rehabilitation

Large breeds, like the Labrador retrievers, are predisposed to developing hip dysplasia. This is a health issue that requires a lot of canine rehabilitation so that the pup regains his or her mobility. Mostly, hip dysplasia happens when the ball of the bone at the end of the femur loosens in the joint. As a result, the joint moves around, causing a lot of discomforts and improper hip support. This issue can be inherited, or it can be triggered by an injury your pup has in his or her first months of life. The most frequent symptoms of hip dysplasia include stiffness, slow movement, or a complete lack of interest in moving around the house. 

Veterinarians say that acupressure-massage can ease the discomfort for your pup. Besides, combining this with hydrotherapy can aid the dog in regaining mobility without stressing him or her. Moreover, this technique is one of the most preferred, as it allows the pet to wander around on a treadmill positioned inside a glass-paneled box. The warm water inside is comforting, which enables the pup to try without any pain the exercises suggested by the instructor. 

Of course, your dog won’t be extremely happy about his or her water exercises at first. It requires a bit of time for adjustment. Still, with a bit of attention and positive reinforcement, almost all dogs that do this type of canine rehabilitation are happy about it.

Teaching professionals about canine rehabilitation

Even though this is a rather new treatment approach for pets, there are plenty of programs that teach professionals about the canine physical rehabilitation process. And the purpose is to reveal the evidence-based results about the benefits of such approaches in pet recovery. These programs are developed and performed by experts in both veterinary and rehabilitation processes. This means that people who graduate from such programs become certified canine rehabilitation therapists. 

Of course, there are plenty of studies that focus on identifying the exact mechanics behind canine rehabilitation. As an example, Dr. Darryl Millis is a professor in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences at the University of Tennessee, who aims to analyze the befits of canine rehabilitation on Labradors. He believes that this particular dog breed can benefit from a lot of preventive care with the help of canine rehabilitation. Because it is a fact this breed is predisposed to arthritis, hip dysplasia, or ligament rupture, he suggests that doing physical therapy before having such issues can lessen the burden for the dog. 

Thus, the common belief today is that dogs make use of a limited amount of their range of motions. This means that if a dog learns how to increase his or her mobility, he or she will be less prone to experiencing health issues. Keep in mind that additional research is required to prove this point, and, of course, for some problems, it might be useful. Still, strengthening a dog’s muscles and increasing his or her mobility can only benefit the overall wellbeing.

The similarities between human and canine rehabilitation

The similarities between human and canine rehabilitation

Many experts in canine rehabilitation believe that the tendency to confine a dog after a surgical intervention can only harm him or her. As such, canine rehabilitation should be done gradually as soon as the procedure ended. And this process should be done similarly to human rehabilitation programs. 

Mostly, canine rehabilitation can be defined similarly to human rehabilitation. It represents the treatment of a physical injury or health problem to diminish pain and restore mobility. Manual therapies are the main focus of both types of rehabilitation processes, as soft tissue mobilization and stretch performed in a massage session can turn out to be extremely beneficial.

Hence, you can perceive canine rehabilitation as a recovery process similar to that performed in humans. It includes several therapeutic exercises, physical modalities, or stretching sessions so that your pup regains his or her mobility. There are plenty of certified rehabilitation centres all around the US, all of which is managed by physical therapists knowledgeable in both human and canine recovery therapies.

Getting a certified canine rehabilitation therapist

If you aim to get for your pet a certified therapist, you should start by inquiring about the topic at your veterinarian clinic. Based on his or her diagnosis, your vet can suggest distinct approaches of treatment, along with what type of canine rehabilitation therapist he or she needs.

Still, keep in mind that canine rehabilitation can turn out to be rather pricey. The first consultation features both physical and neurological check-ups, and it can cost you up to $200. Besides, the average price for a session can start at a $75 daily fee. And if you aim to make an estimation about how much it will cost to have a complete rehab program for your pet, you will discover that the costs can go up to $1500. Still, you should know that some pet insurances can offer reimbursement of rehabilitation. Therefore, if you aim to get a pet plan with such coverage, you can find a lot of pet insurance reviews and compare distinct quotes at Petinsurancefinder

And don’t forget about teamwork

It is not enough to enrol your pet in a rehabilitation program. You will have to become part of the team and encourage your fluffy friend to keep going. And this means you should focus on encouraging your pet to remain active at home and perform with him or her similar exercises. So, you can ask the therapist about how you can get involved in your pet’s rehabilitation process.

Research shows that pets are more inclined to stick to their routines if their owners are actively involved in the process.

Canine care is a field that evolves continuously. This is why canine rehabilitation became so popular during the past years. Several pet health problems can be dealt with more efficiently. Pet owners learn how to help their pets exercise at home. Neurological pet patients learn how to recover their balance. Senior pets benefit from stretching exercises. And there are plenty of other advantages for your pet’s wellbeing that can come from canine rehabilitation.