How Physical Rehabilitation Can Help your Pet

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By Dr. Adriane Ventresca, DVM, CCRP – Central Ohio K9 Rehabilitation

Veterinary medicine is constantly evolving and finding new and safer techniques to help you give your pet the best quality of life possible.  One of these emerging specialties for your canine companion is physical rehabilitation therapy. In human medicine, physical therapy has existed for decades. Most people have experienced, or know someone who has experienced, the benefits of this branch of medicine for treating a variety of chronic ailments or post-operative conditions.  We now have the capacity to apply many of the same rehabilitation principles in a fun and dog-friendly way to help our furry best friends.

In order help animals lead fuller, healthier lives through the use of physical rehabilitation therapies, I completed an additional two years of training and continuing education to become one of a handful of Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioners (CCRP) in the state of Ohio. Central Ohio K9 Rehabilitation, located in Powell, Ohio, began operation in 2008 and offers a complete line of rehabilitative services, each tailored to the specific needs of your pet. Our goal is to improve quality of life and decrease pain for our companion animals. (read more)

Physical rehabilitation programs can help a large number of canine health conditions.   Some of the most common post-surgical conditions we treat include repair of ACL/CCL knee  injury (lateral suture, tibial tuberosity advancement, and tibial plateau leveling osteotomy), hip replacement or femoral head otsectomy, patella surgeries, recovery after broken bone fixation, and intervertebral disk disease.  Arthritis management is also an area we work in extensively.  Degenerative myopathies, sprains/strains, athletic injuries, and many genetic dysplasias can also be handled through physical therapy programs.  Additionally, physical rehabilitation techniques are very instrumental in producing positive results in weight loss in obese patients and fitness conditioning for competition dogs.

Our most beneficial (and fun) piece of equipment is an underwater treadmill that often serves as the core of our programs.  The benefits of an aquatic treadmill are tremendous because it provides a low impact way to improve gait training, cardiovascular fitness, and joint motion; and also reduces swelling in affected areas to minimize pain and discomfort.  Owners often report improved attitudes and overall psychological well-being in patients that may have been depressed or stressed about pain and loss of fitness due to injury, arthritis, or obesity.  The underwater treadmill is also an avenue for safe release of exuberant energy levels for active or working dogs.

Low level laser therapy (LLLT) is a great addition to rehabilitation therapies for animals. The low level therapeutic laser provides a quick, painless, non-invasive means of controlling pain and accelerating healing with no adverse side effects.  In addition to new technology and equipment, physical therapy often uses a series of groundwork activities that keep your dog mentally stimulated while helping to improve physical well-being.  Exercise bands, weighted backpacks, weave poles, cavaletti rails, balance boards, physioballs (yogi balance balls for dogs), crawl tunnels, incline ramps, and stair work are often incorporated into your dog’s recovery or workout plan.

As veterinary medicine continues to expand in our capabilities to provide increased quality of life, it is important to disperse this information as widely as possible so we can help as many pets as possible. For additional information on the topic of physical rehabilitation, please visit our website at or contact Central Ohio K9 Rehabilitation at 614-314-1249.
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