Canine physiotherapy is an effective and scientifically proven modality to reduce pain, tissue damage and compensatory discomfort related to a variety of physical ailments. The purpose is to encourage or boost the natural healing process in order to regain, maintain and improve functional ability of limbs and joints and thus improve quality of life.
As with humans, as dogs get older they are more likely to suffer from joint problems such as arthritis, whether from normal wear and tear, repetitive activity, injury, infection or autoimmune disease, and this is a key area in which early identification and regular physio can make a massive difference to the welfare and behaviour of your dog.
A chat with Kent Animal Physio for advice and assessment will always be worth it if you have noticed behavioural or musculoskeletal changes in your pet, or your vet has diagnosed conditions such as:
- Elbow and hip dysplasia, luxating patella, cruciate ligament disease
- Difficulty with functions; running, jumping, climbing stairs
- Age related joint stiffness and decreasing mobility
- Lameness or loss of muscle mass
- Spinal stiffness/soreness, intervertebral disc disease
- Abnormal posture when standing or sitting
- Back, neck, pelvic pain
- Trauma and soft tissue injuries to tendons, ligaments and muscles
- Weight or inactivity/obesity problems
- Pain or discomfort
- Behavioral changes such as a dislike of being touched.
There are many conditions affecting dogs that result in weakness in the back legs, such as spinal injuries, spondylosis or hip dysplasia. To overcome this, dogs tend to use their front end more so to reduce movement in their back end. Dogs can be very clever at hiding their discomfort and as a result, their shoulders and front legs often become sore and arthritic if the issues are not addressed which is why your physio will provide a holistic treatment for the whole body, not just the site of pain.
Canine physiotherapy applies non-invasive techniques and exercise prescription as an alternative or complimentary solution to medicated pain relief, as well as aiding recovery from injury. The benefits of canine physiotherapy have been widely accepted in the veterinarian community for many years, with vets changing their focus from palliative care to preventative care.
It is important you are aware of any changes to your dog’s health to avoid aggravating a symptom. If a dog is in pain they may express this as aggression or seem depressed or “lazy” and should further emphasise the urgent need to visit your vet.
Physiotherapy should commence as soon as possible after injury, surgery or diagnosis. Gentle movement and techniques to reduce pain early after injury or surgery can actually stimulate healing, help reduce pain, swelling and stiffness, reduce muscle atrophy and degeneration of cartilage, bone and ligament. There is no need to wait until after removal of sutures. Physiotherapists are highly trained to deliver very precise and often gentle treatments so as not to jeopardise repair of painful or healing structures.