Has your vet told you that hydrotherapy would help your dog?

Your regular veterinarian will always manage the general medical condition of your dog. A rehabilitation practitioner looks at function and structure related to that diagnosis. Many dogs have the same diagnosis but present with different issues related to that diagnosis. A canine rehabilitation exam will assess your dog’s function and define the appropriate therapy with parameters that can be measured.  (This is not a diagnostic medical assessment.)

What kind of conditions can be improved with rehab?

Orthopedic trauma, disc injuries, neurological diseases, hip dysplasia, soft tissue sprains/strains and arthritis are just a few examples of conditions improved by physical rehabilitation. Additionally, recovery from orthopedic surgeries can be dramatically enhanced with a physical rehabilitation program.  Basically, any problem involving stiffness, trauma, pain, muscle atrophy, imbalance, or inflammation can benefit! Any species of animal can benefit from rehab, too.

How frequently should my dog get a massage?

If a dog is struggling with pain or a mobility issue, it may be best to do massage once or twice a week. For younger dogs seeking massage as a preventive measure, once or twice a month may be right. During your initial session, we will talk about a plan for your dog’s health going forward.

How soon after surgery can we start physical rehabilitation?

The post-operative waiting period is determined by your dog’s surgeon, based on factors such as the type of surgery. In most cases, physical rehabilitation can begin 2-6 weeks after surgery. The sooner physical rehabilitation begins once your surgeon has determined it to be safe, the faster and more effective treatment will be. In some cases, physical rehabilitation can be an alternative to surgery. Conditions that can often be managed non-surgically with proper rehabilitation include cruciate ligament tears, patellar luxations, hip dislocations and disc issues.

How can I determine if my pet needs physical rehabilitation?

Many animals can benefit from the services of physical rehabilitation. In the human world of health care, we receive physical rehabilitation after an injury or surgery, for any type of pain or dysfunction. We also receive treatment after neurological injuries (such as a stroke), for fractures, sprains or strains, for the treatment of wounds, athletic injuries, arthritic conditions (Lyme Disease) and the effects of aging (osteoarthritis).

Animals can receive physical rehabilitation for all of the above. Too often, our pets do not receive physical rehabilitation and this may prevent them from returning to a full recovery.

How often does my pet need treatment?

Each pet’s needs are different. At the initial consultation, we may design a treatment plan for your pet. If your pet is receiving rehab and home exercises are appropriate, doing these exercises as prescribed may reduce the frequency of clinic visits. Visits are more frequent initially, then may occur less often as your pet improves/stabilizes. In some cases, the need for visits may be lifelong. Ultimately, it will depend on the pet’s medical needs and your established goals, financial constraints and commitment to care

Do I need a referral from my veterinarian?

We work in conjunction with your regular or specialty veterinarian. It is important for us to have a good medical or surgical history about your pet, as each case is unique. Detailed information and collaboration with your veterinarian will assist us in determining the proper course of therapy. Gone To the Dogs is a rehab-only practice – we do not provide routine or emergency veterinary care.

How can you do rehabilitation without an underwater treadmill?

Veterinary rehabilitation is similar to physical therapy in people, and how often have you heard of physical therapists with underwater treadmills – not often!  The most important parts of rehabilitation are manual therapy (massage therapy, joint mobilizations, range of motion) and targeted therapeutic exercises.  We work on reducing pain and inflammation, strengthening muscles, and reducing compensation using these methods.  Too often people think that the underwater treadmill is like magic pool and by putting their dog in it he or she will automatically get better.  There are definite benefits to the underwater treadmill, but by no means is it necessary to have one to do a good job.