Physiotherapy can be beneficial for a wide range of dogs such as pets, working dogs and agility dogs.
The aim of canine physiotherapy is to identify and treat any problems that your dog has to enable their return to their normal activities.
The different treatment techniques used will help to reduce pain, improve muscle control and encourage correct movement patterns so that your dog can function as normally as possible.
Often, we work closely with your vet to get the best outcome. This is especially relevant when lameness or neurological signs are present, post surgery and in long term conditions such as arthritis.
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Signs your dog has a problem
Reluctant to play, go for walks or participate as usual
Change in behaviour- aggression, withdrawn
Difficulty getting in and out of car or on and off furniture
Lameness or weakness in a leg, catching toe
Stiffness in mornings or after being in same position for a length of time
Doesn't want to be stroked
Yelping when running or playing
Struggling with a particular movement or activity in working and agility dogs
Following surgery e.g. cruciate repair, joint or spinal surgery
Joint problems such as arthritis, elbow or hip dysplasia
Injuries to muscle, ligament or tendon following trauma
Neurological conditions- nerve injury, disc disease or degenerative myelopathy
Sports injuries, improving or maintaining performance
Maintaining or improving movement and quality of life of older dogs
The assessment involves finding out the dogs history such as particular problems, medical conditions, accidents or traumas, any vet involvement or investigations. Your vet may be contacted to get more information on previous imaging or tests and preferred protocol following surgery or injury.
Your dog will be observed standing, moving and carrying out specific tasks.
The muscles and soft tissues will be palpated and joint range of movement assessed.
The assessment is used to identify any particular problems such as weakness, pain, muscle spasm or reduced movement of a joint. This, alongside the history, will help to understand why some movements or activities may be difficult. An appropriate treatment plan can then be put in place.
Following assessment, the most appropriate methods of treatment will be chosen. This is usually a combination of different treatments. The different options, treatment frequency and goals will be discussed with the owner.
Manual therapy such as massage, myofascial release, trigger point release and stretching. These help to reduce pain and muscle spasm so that your dog is more willing and able to use muscles correctly.
Electrotherapy includes laser, pulsed electro magnetic energy (PEME) and TENS. These promote healing and reduce swelling and pain. Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) is used to encourage muscle activity and strengthening.
Exercises are an essential part of the program and used alongside the other treatments. They usually consist of a home exercise program tailored to address the dogs particular issues. The exercises are used to improve strength, stability, movement and proprioception.
Advice will be given to complement the treatments used. It may be appropriate to make alterations to the dogs routine, bedding or access to house and car. Changes to diet or exercise can be beneficial. In some situations, it might be necessary to speak to your vet regarding pain management options.