When your pet needs surgery for whatever reason, you are naturally worried and anxious about their procedure. But what about the postoperative period? The time that your pet takes to recover is also an important part of their overall procedure. Your four-legged friend needs as much care and attention during the postoperative period as they do during the surgery itself. 

After your pet’s orthopedic procedure, such as a fracture repair or cranial cruciate ligament repair, what happens during their recovery period is critical for successful healing. And, the quality of the physical rehabilitation after your pet’s procedure is extremely important for a good surgical outcome. 

What is physical rehabilitation for pets?

Physical rehabilitation for pets is similar to physical therapy for people. A variety of methods can help restore function, mobility, and comfort to a pet suffering from a multitude of health issues. Physical rehabilitation treatments we offer at Animal Rehabilitation Center include:

Whether your pet has recently had surgery, or is experiencing a neuromuscular or orthopedic condition, rehabilitation techniques can improve muscle strength and coordination, increase joint movement, provide mental stimulation, and decrease pain and inflammation. 

What conditions in pets benefit from physical rehabilitation?

Dogs can benefit from physical rehabilitation not only after surgery or an injury, but also for a variety of age-related conditions, degenerative diseases, and neuromuscular system disorders. Any pet of any age can benefit from physical rehabilitation for many common conditions, including:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Cranial cruciate ligament tear
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Neurological disorders
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Postoperative recovery
  • Trauma
  • Degenerative myelopathy
  • Intervertebral disc disease
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Weight loss
  • Athletic conditioning

Following orthopedic surgery, quality physical rehabilitation provided in the following 8 to 12 weeks is essential for your pet, to regain full mobility and use of the affected limb or joint. People intrinsically understand the importance of physical therapy after their orthopedic procedure—no one expects to have a total knee replacement or ACL surgery without intensive physical therapy!—but many pet owners do not realize this service is available for dogs, and vital to their recovery.

How is physical rehabilitation for pets performed?

During your pet’s physical rehabilitation session, our Animal Rehabilitation Center team will help your dog perform tasks, exercises, and movements that will help them heal, and to recover from their injury, surgery, or medical condition. We’ll carefully evaluate your pet’s mobility, gait, and range of motion, to determine the most effective therapies. Then, we’ll design a customized treatment plan for maximum results. Over time, your pet’s rehabilitation plan may change as their body heals and grows stronger. Many different rehab treatments are available to help your pet feel better, heal faster, and become healthier.

What results can I expect to see with physical rehabilitation?

Depending on the condition that requires rehabilitation, your pet may need only a few sessions to make a quick recovery, or long-term physical rehabilitation. Postoperative care following an orthopedic surgery typically requires 8 to 12 weeks of rehabilitation, while maintaining healthy muscle mass after an osteoarthritis diagnosis can require lifelong therapy. 

How can physical rehabilitation help my pet recover after surgery?

If your pet undergoes orthopedic surgery for a fractured leg or cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) repair, physical rehabilitation after the procedure is as important as the procedure itself. For example, physical rehabilitation after CCL surgery improves range of motion. Ice packs, massage, range of motion exercises, and low-level laser therapy can be a huge help in the first few days after surgery. Without physical rehabilitation, scar tissue will develop and can limit your pet’s range of motion permanently. So, although they can be painful at first, range of motion exercises, which reduce scar tissue formation, are incredibly important for a full recovery.

How do I know if physical rehabilitation is right for my pet?

Many pets can benefit from various physical rehabilitation therapies, whether they’re injured, recovering from surgery, or need to lose weight. If your dog needs to burn off some steam on a hot day, they would love a session on the underwater treadmill. Or, if your senior dog is struggling with arthritic hips, a multimodal treatment plan of acupuncture, low-level laser therapy, and hydrotherapy can provide the perfect treatment combination that will help them get back up on their paws. 

If your pet has recently undergone an orthopedic surgery or other procedure, physical rehabilitation may help them along the road to recovery. Contact our Animal Rehabilitation Center team to schedule a consultation for your pet.