Goals of physical therapy include improvement and maintenance of functional abilities of diseased, hurt and healthy animals. The selection of a proper treatment is necessary in order for the results of the therapy to remain beneficial and long term. Physical therapy for dogs is applied above all for orthopedic and neurological disorders as a supplement to the surgery or other conservative treatment. It is also used as a treatment procedure of its own. This type of therapy is of great importance for athletic dogs as well as older dogs so that the optimal function is maintained. Methods used for this therapy include therapeutically planned exercises, massages, electro therapies, ultrasound, hydro therapies etc.
Before starting with the therapy, a checkup needs to be done. This has a goal of determining the functional level and the nature of the problem. After the checkup, the therapeutic plan is created, deriving from present problem, current functional level, equipment and knowledge of the therapist as well as individual requests of the owner.
Physiotherapy in orthopedics
Ideally, one would perform therapy on patients who don’t feel excessive pain. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen as often. Most common causes of the pain are linked to joints, bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments or a combination. Manifestation of the orthopedic problems is pain, contractions, stiffness, abnormal walking cycle etc. All of these problems require a long rehabilitation period in order to be returned into normal state.
Here are some of the most common orthopedic issues:
Rupture of the cranial crucial ligament
Physical therapy with these patients begins in the pre-operative period. It continues its effect into the post-operative period as well. Therapeutic plan depends mostly on the how is the ruptured tendon treated, then age, type of dog, longevity of the condition etc.
Physical therapy is useful in the acute phase as well as an addition to the conservative treatment. By doing so, you will reduce the swelling, inflammation and other symptoms of this condition.
Physiotherapy can be an addition to the surgery, with this disease specifically. Degree of luxation, age of the dog and overall treatment are factors which need to be considered prior to determining the precise therapeutic plan. In the early post-operative flow the accent is on controlled walks, practicing in the sagittal plan etc. Electro therapy is usually added to the therapy, as well as ultrasound and hydrotherapy.
Physiotherapy can be used to treat fractures, which are extremely diverse. Precise instructions for the owner to be followed at home are also very important for the safe and sound recovery of the patient. The goal of this therapy here is for the bones to heal up and to maintain and improve the movement radius, prevent contractions and improve the overall muscle mass in terms of extremities functioning. In the acute phase after operation, mild massage and passive movements are considered to be the best tools to use.