Physical Rehabilitation

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Physical Rehabilitation

Physical rehabilitation uses various low stress and safe therapeutic techniques to decrease pain and restore function in a pet experiencing arthritis; recovering from an injury, condition, or surgery; looking to lose weight; or involved in sports or athletic activity. It is an extremely valuable tool in veterinary medicine particularly for orthopedic and neurologic recovery.

During our assessment, we look at the entire animal, focusing not only on the obvious problem but also other issues that may have developed as a result. Pets are extremely delicate after an injury or surgery, and special care must be taken during the recovery process to ensure that the affected area is not reinjured or strained. We use a variety of proven manual techniques to slowly and safely increase stamina and flexibility in your pet, while putting minimal stress on recovering tissues. It is our primary goal to improve the quality of your pet’s life so he or she can remain fit, active, and pain free. A pet that receives rehab therapies following a procedure is more likely to achieve mobility closer to what he or she exhibited prior to the injury than those who do not.

Our services include:

Manual Therapy

Using manual  techniques adopted from human physical therapy, joints are mobilized in specific and targeted ways to restore range of motion and improve function.


We use a temperature controlled underwater treadmill with patients who can benefit from low-impact exercise. Overweight, post-surgical, and neurological patients are often more successful in achieving their goals using the buoyancy and resistance of water. The underwater treadmill is much more specific and controlled than open water swimming, which does not allow full joint extension and, in some cases, can be counterproductive to our goals. Patients often feel more comfortable in this environment with their encouraging owners close to them. The underwater treadmill is also extremely beneficial for our working, show, and agility dogs who need to be in top physical condition.

Therapeutic Exercises

Both passive and active exercises are performed to improve functional mobility and strength  in our patients. A wide variety of specific, goal-oriented exercises are taught to owners as part of the home exercise program (HEP). As the animals progress, they are reevaluated and exercises are modified to accomplish new goals.

Cryotherapy/heat therapy

Using cold packs we can decrease the inflammatory response after an injury which, in turn, decreases pain. The application of heat increases blood supply to tissues, helping muscles to relax, stretch, and generally reduce pain.


Laser therapy has been used successfully in humans for over 30 years. It uses light to create a physiological effect in the body which accelerates healing, treats pain, inflammation, muscle spasm, wounds, and arthritis.

Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES)

This treatment uses a low level current that aids in muscle contraction and decreases swelling. It is very useful for neurological and orthopedic patients to prevent or treat muscle wasting, control muscle spasms, and decrease swelling and pain.

Transcutaneous Electrical Neuromuscular Stimulation (TENS)

TENS, like NMES, produces a low level current that controls pain by disrupting pain perception pathways.

Geriatric Wellness

As your dog enters his or her senior years, we offer exercise guidelines and advice for helping your dog age gracefully while maintaining quality of life.

Weight Management

Strength/Core/Sports Training

We specialize in coaching you and your dog for a successful return to sport whatever your favorite "game" might be! Our focus is on improving strength, flexibility, endurance, balance, and body awareness through individualized programs.

Orthotics//Prosthetic/Wheelchair Fitting

Orthotics, prosthetics and other assistive devices such as wheelchairs are emerging technologies in the veterinary field that can aid in the well-being of your pet. These devices are used to either correct or accommodate the affected limb(s) of your pet that have been disabled through congenital deformity, trauma, illness, or old age. There are many advantages afforded by orthoses and prostheses and they may offer treatment options where none existed before as well as improve outcome with current therapy. We can educate you on the variety of available orthotics and prosthetics as well as help you weigh out the pros and cons of each. We are also able to obtain and fit these devices, working with your family veterinarian to ensure they are utilized successfully in your pet.

Options include:


  • Stifle braces
  • Carpal/Tarsal braces
  • Hip braces
  • Prosthetics
  • Contracture Bracing
  • Deformity Braces
  • Wheelchairs


Frequently Asked Questions

We do offer a discounted rate for pre-purchase of follow-up exams and for use of the underwater treadmill. Contact us for more information.

Yes, some companies like Trupanion do cover up to 90% of rehabilitation costs. Check with your company as they may add this service at any time.

There are several things to look for that may indicate your pet is experiencing pain:

    • Introversion or not seeking attention
    • Less activity or playfulness
    • Change in personality (more irritable or agitated)
    • Panting more often
    • Decrease in their appetite
    • Difficulty rising and/or moving around
    • Reluctance to go up or down stairs
    • Cats may stop grooming themselves
    • Falling/stumbling
    • Gait changes (limping or not bearing full weight)

Every pet is different, so it’s not possible to accurately predict. Treatment needs can range from weeks to months. It truly depends on factors like your pet’s condition, disease, age, home care, etc.

Yes, we expect and encourage it. Being with your pet allows you to learn the appropriate exercises and be an active participant in your pet’s goal setting and treatments. In some instances, we can arrange to have your pet dropped off to receive treatments if you cannot stay.

That is often up to the individual cat. We’ll treat them as much as they’re willing to allow, and do our best to accommodate them. Modalities such as laser and TENS therapy are tolerated very well by cats and can offer them pain relief when medications are not enough.

If your dog has had surgery within the past 14 days, we offer a “post-op” appointment which typically lasts 30-45 minutes. We’ll go over basic home care and pain management techniques, with treatments focusing on the surgical site. We’ll set goals and develop a plan that works for you and your pet. You’ll need to schedule a full appointment for 14 days after surgery so we can perform a complete exam to address any issues that may have developed.

At the initial evaluation, we’ll take a detailed medical and lifestyle history of your pet. Our comprehensive exam will include orthopedic, soft tissue and neurological components. Our team will review records and radiographs from your family veterinarian and take specific measurements of your pet. Together we’ll develop goals and an effective, customized plan based on the exam findings and your pet’s lifestyle. Treatments will usually begin the same day. Initial consultations generally run an hour, and you will likely be asked to return with your pet on a routine for a set period of time.

We can help with almost any orthopedic, soft tissue, or neurological dysfunction. These include but are not limited to:

    • Osteoarthritis
    • Chronic/Acute Pain
    • Cranial Cruciate Repair (CCL)
    • Femoral Head Osteotomy (FHO)\
    • Medial Patelar Laxity (MPL)
    • Medial Shoulder Instability (MSI)
    • Hip/Elbow Dysplasia/OCD
    • IVDD/ Spinal Surgery
    • Sports Training Injuries/Conditioning
    • Soft Tissue/Muscle injury/sprain and strains
    • Fibrocartilaginous Embolism (FCE)
    • Wobblers
    • Neuropathies
    • Post Operative cases
    • Tendon/ligament injuries
    • Obesity
    • Geriatric
    • Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)
    • Non-healing wounds
    • Paresis/Paralysis

Physical therapy has a proven track record of success for humans. Following any orthopedic surgery or after suffering from a neurological impairment, physical therapy starts almost immediately to help people regain full function. The same is true with our pets. Our goals are to restore functional abilities, improve performance, speed healing time and decrease pain. Physical therapy also helps prevent orthopedic and soft tissue injuries in the future by helping pets maintain fitness and lose weight. It’s imperative to initiate physical rehabilitation as soon as is practical.