Rehabilitation Therapy

Rehabilitation Therapy
cropped agility roomThe goal of Physical Rehabilitation is to help the animal to return to function after injury or orthopedic surgery using the same techniques and treatment modalities as Physical Therapy for humans. An injury in one limb can affect both the spine and other limbs through compensation. Special care is given to examine all joints and muscles in the animal beyond the injured limb or joint. Therapy is aimed at restoring normal joint range of motion, flexibility and muscular strength. Recovery times vary for different injuries or surgeries, however most animals receive rehabilitation treatments and exercises for 8-12 weeks after injury or surgery before they are allowed to return to normal activity.

What types of treatments are used in Rehabilitation Therapy?

Manual therapy and joint mobilization are used by the therapist to help restore normal, fluid motion to joints.

ball rehab

Massage – Massage and trigger point therapy are used to reduce painful muscle spasms that are inhibiting normal movement.

Stretching – Both active and passive stretching are used to increase flexibility and improve joint range of motion

Heat/cold therapy – depending on the injury, the application of either heat or cold may be used to increase circulation to a region or reduce inflammation and swelling.

Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) – By passing an electrical current through electrodes placed on the animal’s skin, EMS may be used to relax tight muscles, relieve pain, or strengthen muscles after surgery.


Laser therapy – Laser light at therapeutic wavelengths penetrates tissue to decrease pain, inflammation and edema, reduce muscle spasm, and improve soft tissue healing. Learn more.

Therapeutic exercise – Specific exercises are prescribed at different phases of the recovery process to encourage weight bearing on a limb, improve flexibility of a joint, or to increase strength.