What is Veterinary Physiotherapy (VP)?
"I've heard of human physiotherapy, but what is veterinary physiotherapy?"
Veterinary Physiotherapy (VP) is rapidly becoming a popular tool for rehabilitation post-injury or surgery, however what it entails is still widely misunderstood. Essentially, a Veterinary Physiotherapist is the same as a human physiotherapist, apart from they work with animals not humans.
Knowledge and understanding of healing and recent surgical advances in veterinary medicine have suggested that rehabilitation through rest and pain medication alone may not be enough to provide an optimal healing programme, and may be an outdated approach. VP can be incredibly useful in providing both physical and mental stimulation, and optimising the healing process of all animals (large and small) when recovering from surgery, trauma or disease.
"What does a veterinary physiotherapist do?"
"But my animal is young and healthy, I don't need physiotherapy..."
Veterinary Physiotherapy is not just for sick, old or injured animals. It can be useful for animals of all ages and condition. Physiotherapists are trained to assess body condition and spot dysfunctions within tissues (e.g. muscle, bone, tendons etc), this means that they can often help spot compensatory issues and minor dysfunctions before they become major issues resulting in surgery or loss of performance. A veterinary physiotherapist will aim to treat these dysfunctions using a range of manual, electrotherapy and exercise prescriptive techniques, and will work with you as the owner to build an effective treatment plan.
"So is it just massage therapy?"
Elderly Animals - Relief from the pain of conditions such as Arthritis through a range of different techniques, aims to improve mobility and improve quality of life, provides enrichment.
Young or 'Healthy Animals' - Aims to protect developing bones, joints, and muscles. Provide suitable exercise regimes and home adaptations.
Pre-operation - Advise the owner, formulate a rehabilitation plan, reduce compensatory issues, ensure the musculoskeletal system is healthy prior to surgery
Post-operation/Injury - VPs work with vets to help provide pain relief and rehabilitate animals following surgery or injury using a range of electrotherapy and manual techniques.
Paralysed/Neurological Cases - Aim to support the whole body using a range of techniques to encourage nerve regeneration and reduce neurological and musculoskeletal issues.
Performance Animals/Fitness - VPs can help reduce the chance of injury through regular musculoskeletal checks and treatment, and home exercise tasks and advice. (This is particularly beneficial for dogs and horses that regularly compete or take part in heavy training, e.g. Agility).
The benefits of veterinary physiotherapy are extensive and vary greatly depending on the type of tissue or condition being treated so it is not possible to list everything. However, this is something that the veterinary physiotherapist will go through with you in detail as a part of your individual treatment program.
It is completely normal to have a lot of questions when first starting physiotherapy, so please contact me, and I will endeavour to answer any questions or concerns you may have, whether you are a client already, or considering the use of my services, I am always happy to help.
To find out more about my services, including what to expect from your first appointment, please click here.