Rehabilitation Therapy

Our clinic offers several exciting types of physical rehabilitation therapies to help your pet overcome injuries, stiffness, and lameness. Rehabilitative therapy is also used to help manage pain from chronic disorders, such as arthritis, cruciate injury, and disc disease. Rehabilitation therapy is all about improving function and controlling pain. We take a holistic approach to rehabilitative therapy at Marda Loop Veterinary Centre, addressing both the cause of the problem as well as the symptoms. Rehabilitation therapy also includes post-surgery and preventative physical conditioning.The following rehabilitation therapies are offered:

Comprehensive Lameness Examination:
A full musculoskeletal and neurological exam is preformed to create a holistic approach for rehabilitation. It is important to treat not only the primary problem but also treat the compensation to that problem which can be just as painful or dysfunctional. The exam includes range of motion measurements, muscle evaluation, joint evaluation, reflexes, proprioception testing, neck and back assessment and gait analysis.

Chiropractic
A gentle, drugless form of therapy, chiropractic is based on spinal manipulation. There is a focus between the neurologic mechanisms and the biomechanics of the spine. Chiropractic ultimately treats the nervous system, which is a pinnacle to health. Chiropractic therapy can be used to treat pain, lack of mobility and improve athletic performance. Chiropractic can treat the primary source of disease as in spondylosis. It is also very useful in treating compensation of extremity lameness. The abnormal transferring of weight is transmitted through the vertebral column and can create pain, muscle spasm and immobility. Initially chiropractic treatments are done on a weekly basis. Each week the response to therapy is assessed. Therapy is spaced according to response. A typical spacing is weekly for 2-3 treatments then spaced to 4-6 weeks. If no improvement in the condition is achieved within 3 treatments continuation of treatment is critically evaluated.

Acupuncture
Acupuncture’s most common use in Western society is the treatment of pain by restoring the flow of chi. Most animals tolerate the needles remarkably well and relax during treatment. Acupuncture uses very tiny needles that are place in specific loci along meridians. Also acupuncture can be used as a comprehensive medical treatment usually with herbs (Traditional Chinese Medicine) Initially acupuncture treatments are done on a weekly basis. Each week the response to therapy is assessed. Therapy is spaced according to response. A typical spacing is weekly for 2-3 treatments then spaced to 4-6 weeks. If no improvement in the condition is achieved within the 3 treatments continuation of treatment is critically evaluated.

Electrical Stimulation
Electrical stimulation is used to treat orthopedic and neurological diseases in rehabilitation. Its focus is those diseases that cause acute or chronic pain or muscle atrophy. Low frequency pulsed alternating currents are used. This is a treatment that has a potentially adverse sensation. Most dogs will tolerate it, especially neurological patients, but do to temperament some dogs may not be candidates for this therapy.

For post op muscular stimulation, treatments are done 2-3 times/week until almost full weight bearing is achieved. For neurological disease, treatments are 2-3 times/week and up to daily until the desired response is achieved.

For neurological disease the benefits are two fold: Firstly to prevent muscle atrophy via muscle contraction and Secondly to use the target muscle to stimulate the nerve cell which can lead to a control function.

Therapeutic Exercises
A home therapeutic exercises program is an essential part of a rehabilitation program whether a patient is being treated for surgical or chronic conditions. Goals of exercise are to improve mobility, strength and endurance while decreasing pain. All orthopedic, soft tissues and neurological cases are candidates for therapeutic exercises. Rehabilitation assistance will guide the owner and animal through each movement, explain the purpose and be available to answer questions regarding the exercises. The exercise program should be periodically re evaluated as the animal improves.

Ultrasound
Ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves to heat deep tissues to improve elasticity, decrease pain, improve blood flow and promote healing. Ultrasound is especially effective in treating disease and dysfunctional joints and certain muscle diseases.

Ultrasound is done twice weekly for a total of 6 treatments. Active range of motion exercises is performed at the same time or immediately after the ultrasound treatment.

Extracorpeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT)
ESWT is a drug free method used to treat pain associated with arthritis and tendinopathies. Short-term pain relief may occur but it is used for the long-term analgesic effect. Mechanical and chemical effects at the cellular level may explain this, where shock waves initiate repair processes and modulate or suppress pain signals.

ESWT is done a weekly basis for three treatments. Pain relief is expected to be 4 months. Some contraindications should be considered.

Contraindications < 8 weeks from surgery, implants, acute inflammation acute episodes of joint disease, neoplasia, open growth plates coagulation disorders and infection

Pulsed Signal Therapy (PST)
Pulsed Signal Therapy mode of action is described as emulating the body’s electrical energy signals (streaming potentials) that stimulate cartilage regeneration, repair and maintenance. In double-blinded studies there has been a clinical improvement in 70% of treated individuals compared to placebos. Suitable for acute or chronic musculoskeletal disorders especially arthritic conditions.

The Pulsed Signal Therapy (PST) consists of nine 30-minute sessions that must be completed within 14 days. In PST, an electromagnetic field serves as a carrier for pulsating signals with a biological frequency and minimal energy. These signals provide stimulation, and thus regeneration, of damaged structures such as cartilage, discs, bones, ligament structures, among others. It is a pain-free therapy. Studies have shown 70% of cases have good to excellent results, however it is imperative the 9 sessions be completed within the 14-day time frame

Land Treadmill 

Land treadmill allows the weight of the animal to be shifted forwards or backward to target specific muscles while walking. By slowing increasing the speed of the treadmill and the time of the session the animal can build up muscle mass and improve motor skills while allowing the gait and body alignment to be monitored and adjusted.

Water Treadmill
The water treadmill offers the benefit of buoyancy, which decreases the weight placed on the joints during treadmill session. The water treadmill, when water level is lowered, can also add resistance to the treatment to build up muscle mass. For more information on Water Treadmill

The vet that specializes in rehabilitation therapy at our clinic is:

Dr. Laura Romano, DVM

  • Certified in Canine Rehabilitation
  • Certified in Veterinary Acupuncture
  • Certified by the American Veterinary
  • Chiropractic Association


For more information on physical rehabilitation therapies, please read our brochures.

Further information on animal massage is available here.

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