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Canine rehabilitation is an important aspect of a dog’s overall well-being, particularly if they are aging, recovering from an injury, or having mobility issues. Engaging in structured exercise with a rehabilitation expert can assist pets in rebuilding their strength, enhancing muscle tone, avoiding atrophy, improving balance, and increasing the range of motion. Physical therapy is usually recommended for dogs and other pets who are recuperating from skeletal or muscular injuries, healing from surgery, experiencing a neurological condition, delaying degenerative conditions, or enhancing the pet’s quality of life.
Here are a few different types of physiotherapy available for your pet:
Hydrotherapy utilizes water to provide buoyancy and resistance during rehab exercises. Water reduces the amount of weight and pressure placed on a dog or cat’s joints, making it easier for a pet to move and exercise.
The water resistance helps pets to Improve muscle mass and strength
Can help improve a pet’s range of motion
Help overweight pets lose weight and increase their endurance
Decrease joint pain and make it easier to exercise
Mobility conditions that benefit from water therapy include:
CCL and other knee injuries
Total hip osteotomy
Treadmill walking helps pets to strengthen muscles while working on their gait and proprioception training. This is especially important for pets healing from orthopedic injuries or suffering from an abnormal gait. Most treadmill walks will start slowly, allowing the pet time to adapt and often for short periods.
Benefits of Canine Treadmills
Help pets heal from orthopedic injury
Improve range of motion
Prevent muscle atrophy and rebuild muscle
Help with paw placement and work on gait issues
Mobility conditions where treadmill walks can help your pet:
Hip dysplasia and hip pain
Rebuilding leg strength after surgery
Passive Range of Motion
Passive range of motion exercises occurs when a CCRP manually moves and stretches a pet’s joint to work through its comfortable range of motion without weight bearing. PROM exercises are most common in pets after surgery, tissue injuries, or paralyzed pets that cannot bear their own weight. Stretching the joint encourages circulation and helps the pet to maintain proper joint health. Canine passive range of motion exercises are not intended to prevent muscle atrophy or increase strength.
Your pet professional may recommend several stretching sessions throughout the day during your pet’s treatment plan. Have them guide you through the various stretches so you can work with your pet at home. Be careful never to overstretch or extend your dog’s joint beyond what’s comfortable, and this can cause more joint damage.
Benefits of PROM Exercise
Prevention of muscle or joint contracture
Increase blood flow
Prevent joint degeneration
Mobility conditions where passive range of motion is beneficial:
Pets with hip and shoulder conditions
Pet has lost full range of motion
Recovering from TPLO surgery
Recovering from IVDD surgery
Mobility Products to Enhance Rehab Therapy
Depending on a dog’s condition or need, sometimes they need a little extra help from a canine mobility aid during their rehabilitation therapy.
Walkin’ Wheels Dog Wheelchair
A dog wheelchair can benefit many patients as they heal and recover. A wheelchair provides a pet with additional support and stability while promoting continued mobility. Additionally, a wheelchair relieves some of the weight placed on a dog or cat’s joints, making it easier for them to walk without bearing full weight.
A wheelchair is beneficial for pets dealing with partial or complete paralysis to get them standing and independently mobile. A dog wheelchair is also beneficial for pets with joint pain or skeletal injuries that struggle to bear their full weight on their injured limbs.
No-Knuckling Training Socks
Pets with proprioceptive issues, dragging paws, and struggle with their gait can utilize the No-Knuckling Training Sock to enhance their rehab efforts.
The anti-knuckling device is intended to be used during short intervals to help correct a dog’s paw placement and retrain them to walk without dragging their front or back paws. The No-Knuckling Training Sock can be used during walking exercises, land treadmills, or water treadmill therapy sessions.
VertebraVe Back Brace for Dogs
Dogs healing from a spinal injury or disc issue can wear a canine back brace to provide spinal stability back support, and limit their range of motion.
The vertebraVe dog back brace supports the spine and the surrounding muscles to prevent further injury and relieve your dog’s back pain. This is ideal for dogs recovering from spinal conditions like IVDD.
Hip-EEZ Canine Hip Brace
Canine hip dysplasia causes crippling pain that can impact a dog’s mobility and their willingness to exercise.
The Hip-EEZ hip support system provides a sense of lift and compression that relieves hip pain and makes it easier for dogs to be ambulatory. For rehab purposes, the Hip-EEZ is designed with attachments to customize the brace to accommodate different hip conditions.
Combine the hip donut with the Hip-EEZ system to cushion, treat, and protect the hip joint from developing pressure sores. The donut redistributes a dog’s weight away from the bony joint to prevent decubital ulcers from forming in down dogs.
The hip bridge is placed over the hip joint and attaches to the Hip-EEZ to help treat mild to moderate hip subluxation. When worn during regular rehab therapy the bridge applies pressure on the joint keeping the hip joint in place and prevent subluxations from occurring.
The cross-assist is worn high up between a dog’s thighs to prevent hind leg crossing in dogs with weakened back legs. When worn the cross-assist keeps the dogs legs spread apart and can help retrain them to walk normally without crossing their back legs.