Rehabilitation Therapy

Low Impact – Therapeutic Strengthening Exercises

  • Equipment: Inclines, exercise balls and rolls, carts, steps, cavaletti rails, obstacles, resistance bands, tugs, weave poles, and balance/wobble boards, to name a few.
  • Home Care: Each patient is provided with a customized home care plan which includes an exercise regimen, massage, stretching routines, and/or a diet and supplement plan.
  • Passive range of motion (PROM) exercises increase nutrition availability at the joint, stimulate new cartilage production
  • Stretching exercises and massage increase circulation and muscle flexibility.
  • Proprioceptive and Weight Shifting exercises are exercises used to help the animal shift their weight to the affected limb or side, and to help the animal know where their feet are in space, improving balance and coordination.
  • Strengthening exercises are used to strengthen individual muscles or muscle groups.

Manual Therapy Techniques for Canine Rehabilitation

Performing manual therapy techniques is an essential component of advancing tissue healing after an injury or surgery. Here at Healing Care Animal Hospital our knowledgeable staff uses several manual therapy techniques such as massage, joint mobilization, stretching and range of motion exercises to reach the desired goals for each of our special patients.

Canine Massage
Massage is an important technique that has many benefits for dogs including:

  • Increased circulation to help reduce swelling
  • Decreased muscle soreness and overall pain
  • Decreased muscle tension or spasm
  • Increased muscle flexibility
  • Reduced adhesions, scar tissue formation and muscle contracture

Massage is essential to perform after your dog’s surgery to help with pain and swelling. Geriatric dogs with osteoarthritis love massage as it helps to decrease pain and improve mobility at sore joints. Massage can also help athletic and performance dogs recover quickly after a competition.

Stretching and Passive Range of Motion
Stretching and passive range of motion techniques are critical to restore muscle flexibility and joint mobility following surgery, trauma or injury. During the hands on stretching technique, the therapist focuses on comfortably elongating the targeted muscle to decrease pain, spasm and encourage normal muscle flexibility. Stretching in combination with massage is valuable for soft tissue injuries like iliopsoas strains, which are common in sporting dogs. Passive range of motion techniques are used to enhance your dog’s joint nutrition and lubrication as well as reduce joint inflammation or pain.

Joint Mobilization
Joint mobilization is a hands on technique that is indicated for dogs with a stiff or   decreased mobility  joint to increase joint capsule mobility, decrease pain and restore normal joint mechanics. Joint mobilization techniques help to work the stiffness out of joints that have had surgery like knees, hips and elbows. Additionally, geriatric and arthritic dogs love mobilization techniques that decrease pain and help them move more freely. If Joint Mobilization is not performed, the decreased mobility joint will create a hypermobile segment in a different part of the kinematic chain, creating a much more difficult injury to rehabilitate. Joint mobilization is performed before stretching the soft tissues structures like muscle and fascia to enhance soft tissue flexibility. Without performing joint mobilizations, the soft tissues are more likely to experience re-injury

Transcutaneous Electrical Neuromuscular Stimulation (TENS) for Canine Rehabilitation

Just is in human therapy, Transcutaneous Electrical Neuromuscular Stimulation (TENS) works in dogs by sending low level currents to an area of muscle that has been injured or weakened due to lack of use, stimulating it and forcing it to contract.

This stimulation helps to re-train your dog’s muscle, which improves the muscle’s ability to work properly and speeds the healing and strengthening process. After a dog has had an orthopedic injury or surgery, it is extremely important that the affected muscle group heals and strengthens properly. The proper rehabilitation and healing process not only helps return your dog to an optimal level of activity, but is the best way to prevent arthritis that can result when weak muscles are not adequately supporting the joint. In a dog where arthritis has already set in, neuromuscular stimulation may also be used to stimulate the muscle and improve stiffness in the joint.

Benefits of Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation in Dogs include

  • Helps muscles to heal or strengthen more quickly, treat or prevent muscle atrophy. Assists in strengthening and re-educating individual muscles or muscle groups.
  • Accelerate wound healing
  • Reduce muscle spasms
  • Relieve pain and edema
  • Improves or maintains range of motion in the affected joint
  • Helps prevent osteoarthritis after a surgery
  • Helps prevent muscle atrophy (weakness and degeneration of muscle)
  • Faster healing which means less pain for your pet

Contraindications of TENS

  • Over neoplasm
  • Over spinal cord post-laminectomy
  • Over fractures
  • Over epiphysis in immature canines
  • Over areas of decreased circulation, pain or temperature sensation.
  • Over infection

At Healing Care Animal Hospital We use TENS for the following conditions

  • Rehabilitation for dogs recovering from Cranial Cruciate Ligament surgery like TPLO, TTA and also Total Hip Replacement, and other orthopedic surgeries.
  • Rehabilitation for dogs recovering from a fracture.
  • Therapy for dogs with arthritis due to age or injury.
  • Therapy for dogs who participate sporting or performance activities that result in high impact on their joints.

There is variety of benefits of Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation in dogs needing rehabilitation or arthritis therapy. It is important for pet owners to understand that this therapy in itself will not completely heal or cure injury arthritis. It is among a variety of therapies that will be implemented to your dog’s treatment plan to provide for an optimal outcome based on their individual condition.