Physiotherapy for pets is the treatment of disease, injury or deformity by physical methods such as massage, heat/cold therapy and specific exercises. Physiotherapy helps to restore movement and function for pets and also reduces the risk of injury or illness in the future. These techniques can be used alone or in combination with surgery or medication.
Physiotherapy can help treat many conditions by reducing pain, swelling and muscle spasm for dogs and cats. It also encourages healing and improves the range of movement in their joints.
Examples of animal conditions that physiotherapy can treat:
- Post orthopaedic surgery eg. fractures, cruciate ligature ruptures and hip replacements
- Post spinal surgery eg. intervertebral disc
- Tendon and ligament strains/ruptures
- Muscle atrophy eg. in a dog or following a leg being in a plaster cast
- Nerve damage eg. fibrocartilaginous embolism, degenerative myelopathy
- Joint problems eg. arthritis, hip and elbow dysplasia, lumbosacral stenosis
Hydrotherapy for Pets
Hydrotherapy is a physiotherapy modality which uses water to help treat dogs and cats. At Animal Trust, we have an underwater treadmill, surrounded by a four-sided glass chamber which allows a physiotherapist to observe a dog or cat’s gait (how it walks). Using the platforms situated either side of the chamber, the physiotherapist can stand and assist your pet if they need help with correcting their walk.
How does Hydrotherapy for Pets work?
During hydrotherapy, the warm water helps boost a pet’s circulation and warms up their muscles. The hydrostatic pressure of the water exerts on the pet’s body and reduces swelling, while the water provides buoyancy and counteracts the pet’s body weight, supported by the animal’s legs, and therefore making them lighter. The water also provides resistance as the animal walks through it, which gently helps build muscle and improve cardiovascular fitness.
Hydrotherapy is useful for treating many conditions such as those listed above, in combination with other animal physiotherapy techniques. Hydrotherapy is also an excellent form of low weight-bearing activity for overweight dogs looking to undertake a weight loss programme.
An additional benefit of hydrotherapy treatment for pets is that even dogs who don’t like water are usually happy using the underwater treadmill after a gentle and treat filled introduction session.
Where can I access these services?
Animal Trust Ellesmere Port – Physiotherapy
Animal Trust Bolton – Hydrotherapy and physiotherapy