Just as human physical therapists are able to use therapeutic exercise to help their patients recover from an injury or manage a chronic condition, veterinary rehabilitation practitioners can use similar practices to improve quality of life for animals. Therapeutic exercises can be used to strengthen muscles, improve balance and proprioception, increase endurance, and more. Our therapeutic exercise plans are tailored for your pet to address their specific needs and are adjusted based on your pet’s progress.
Manual therapy techniques are vital for the diagnosis and treatment of soft tissue injuries. Using manual therapy, Dr. Brown can assess and improve your pet’s flexibility, muscle tightness, and range of motion. Examples of manual therapy include PROM (passive range of motion) exercises, therapeutic massage, stretching, and joint mobilization.
Chiropractic/VSMT (Veterinary Spinal Manipulation Therapy)
VSMT, or Veterinary Spinal Manipulation Therapy, is a treatment modality that focuses on restoring and maintaining proper neurological function. When the spine is out of alignment, it alters the neurological communication to and from the brain. When the brain gets “bad” information, it sends out “bad” feedback, which can predispose your pet to injury. Performing chiropractic adjustments helps to repair and restore the neuron pathways, which improves neurological function, alleviate pain, and maximize strength and recovery.
Therapeutic Ultrasound allows us to apply heat therapy to joints and deep tissues through the use of high-frequency sound waves. By applying heat to deep tissues, we are able to increase blood flow and reduce inflammation. Increased blood flow to elastic tissues like tendons and ligaments help to maintain flexibility and pliability of the fibers. Joints also benefit from Therapeutic Ultrasound. Swelling and scar tissue around affected joints can be broken down, increasing range-of-motion and decreasing pain.Therapeutic Ultrasound can be used to treat conditions such as chronic pain and inflammation, iliopsoas strains, tendinitis, and muscular spasms.
Therapeutic Laser Therapy
Therapeutic laser therapy relies on photobiostimulation, or the ability of light energy to affect cell function. Laser therapy has been shown to stimulate healing of superficial tissues, decrease pain and inflammation, improve post-op recovery, aid in wound care, promote neurological recovery, and reduce edema.
NMES, or Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation, involves sending an electrical impulse through a muscle, causing it to contract. It is a particularly helpful modality when working with patients who are unable to contract the muscles on their own. NMES has been shown to ward off muscular atrophy and improve muscular strength during recovery from an injury or surgical procedure.
Underwater Treadmills provide many advantages over traditional treadmills or walks because we are able to utilize the positive properties of water while adjusting variables like speed and resistance based on the patient’s needs. By using the buoyancy of water, we can get patients who are painful when walking to move without them having to support the full weight of their body, therefore decreasing their pain level. We can also adjust parameters such as speed and resistance as needed. Exercising in water encourages weight loss and increases muscle mass, making it a great addition to a weight-loss program. Other benefits include improving gait, balance, and proprioception, as well as increasing range of motion and endurance.
Orthotics, Prosthetics, and Assistive Devices
Orthotics are beneficial because they provide support to a patient with an injury or deformity. These devices are custom-made to fit the patient and are dynamic, meaning they can be changed over time based on patient progress. Adjustments, such as increasing range of motion or decreasing the amount of support provided, can allow us to ease the patient back into their normal routine while decreasing the risk of further injury. Prosthetics can improve the mobility and quality of life of animals who have had limb amputations. Wheelchairs/carts can also be used, both as an assistive aid in recovery and for long-term management of a chronic condition. Other examples of assistive devices are braces, wraps, and splints.
Regenerative medicine is an exciting new development in veterinary medicine. Using technologies such as stem cell therapy and PRP (platelet-rich plasma), we are able to decrease pain and inflammation and potentially restore function to affected areas. Examples of conditions that can improved with regenerative medicine are hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis, and injuries to tendons and ligaments.
Whether temporary, such as during surgical recovery, or chronic, such as from arthritis or neuropathy, it is important to manage pain in our patients to give them the best quality of life possible. Pain management is often a multimodal approach, utilizing pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, chiropractic, physical therapy, and more. No two pets are the same, so by approaching the problem with a variety of options at our disposal, we can create a pain management plan that works best for each individual patient, taking into account their condition and medical history.
Obesity is the most common condition seen in our pets today. Just as with people, there are many factors that contribute to obesity, including poor diet, overfeeding, lack of exercise, and in some cases, underlying health problems. Obesity predisposes our pets to orthopedic injury, then the injury itself keeps them from being active, which predisposes them to further injury. Conditions such as osteoarthritis and diabetes can be greatly improved by weight reduction. When evaluating your pet for a weight loss program, it is important to consider any physiological causes as well as their diet and exercise regimen to set them up for success.
One of the hardest parts of being a pet owner is watching our pets age and struggle with basic functions such as standing and walking. There are many factors that should be considered when coming up with treatment and management plan for geriatric patient. Evaluating mobility and physical condition and developing a pain management protocol are some of the important considerations that should be made on a patient-by-patient basis. Often times, a variety of modalities are utilized in order to give the patient the best quality of life possible.
Fitness Evaluations & Conditioning Plans
Canine athletes are dogs who compete in events such as agility and flyball or who perform forms of work such as search-and-rescue, field trials, and herding. It is crucial for these dogs to be in peak physical condition in order to have long, successful careers in their sport or work. Fitness evaluations allow us to assess weak points in your dog’s structure or function and create conditioning plans to target those weak areas, as well as improve overall core strength, cardiovascular health, and endurance.
Evaluating and improving fitness is not just for seasoned competition dogs. Dogs who jog, run, bike, hike, and fetch a tennis ball in the backyard also benefit from fitness evaluations and conditioning plans to help avoid injury and maintain a good physical condition.