What is canine rehabilitation?
Canine rehabilitation is physiotherapy assessment and treatment techniques applied to the canine patient. Physiotherapy in the human field is a health care profession which helps to restore, maintain and maximize strength, function, movement, and overall well-being through examination, evaluation, diagnosis and physical intervention. Physiotherapy includes rehabilitation, as well as prevention of injury and promotion of health and fitness.
Physiotherapists have a specialized university degree and have undergone intensive education in anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, neurology and pathology. Physiotherapists continue to obtain education throughout their career to keep current on latest treatments and technologies. Physiotherapists can take specialized courses to learn how to apply their advanced skills to the canine patient.
What to expect at your first appointment?
Your dog’s first appointment will be a one hour to 1.5 hour long assessment. A physiotherapist trained in canine rehabilitation will assess your dog’s movement, spinal and joint function, strength, co-ordination and other physical abilities. This assessment will help determine the extent of your dog’s injury as well as contributing factors to the injury or disability. The physiotherapist will educate you about the assessment findings and may provide your dog with hands on therapy, exercises or pain relieving modalities. You should consult your veterinarian for a full physical exam of your dog before seeing a physiotherapist for an assessment.
What to expect during treatment?
Each treatment will be 30 minutes in length. Your dog’s treatment will change depending on their injury or condition, but will consist of manual therapy, active exercises and pain modalities, such as ultrasound, acupuncture, heat and ice as needed, as well as education.
Is Canine Rehab covered by pet insurance?
Yes, canine rehab can be covered by your pet insurance. You will have to contact your individual pet insurance company to determine what they require to cover your dog’s rehab services.
Do I need to see my veterinarian before having canine rehab?
Yes, it is in yours and your dog’s best interest to have a through physical examination by your veterinarian before having canine rehab.
What is manual therapy?
Orthopaedic physiotherapy or manual therapy is physiotherapy in which a physiotherapist uses their hands to mobilize (specific technique to improve movement) the joints to reduce stiffness, relieve pain, increase movement and restore function. These techniques also include treating the soft tissue to improve length and strength. This includes a specific exercise program developed for your dog’s individual needs.
How do I know if my dog needs rehabilitation?
The following are examples of cases where your dog would benefit from an assessment and treatment:
- If your dog has had an accident, trauma, or a recent, past or recurrent injury that is limiting movement or causing pain
- If your dog has had recent surgery (orthopedic or spinal surgeries)
- If your dog is not functioning or performing to the best of his or her ability
- If your dog performs in competitive activities and requires strength and endurance training
- If your dog has developed a behavioural problem for no apparent reason, which could be a result of ill health or pain
- If your dog has a sore back when you pet or brush it
- If your dog has developed weakness anywhere
- If your dog is getting older and has any degenerative changes, such as arthritis