Animal rehabilitation is very similar to physiotherapy for people. Dogs and cats with mobility problems, painful issues related to the musculoskeletal system, athletic performance problems or need a weight loss exercise program may all benefit from animal rehabilitation. Full Circle Veterinary Alternatives utilizes hands-on techniques like therapeutic exercises, range of motion exercises, massage and fitness training to bring your pet pain relief, improved mobility and/or improved performance. Our veterinarians and trained rehabilitation technicians also employ therapies such as Low-Level Laser therapy, thermal modalities (the use of hot and cold), Electrical Stimulation (NMES, TENS), and Aquatic therapies like swimming or the use of land or water treadmills.
What is Therapeutic LASER Therapy for dogs and cats?
Laser uses light energy to help the body heal itself more effectively. Therapeutic lasers use light waves of a specific wavelength to cause photobiomodulation, or the enhancement of cellular and tissue functions. Light energy is then absorbed by the cells to promote growth and repair. It also reduces pain and inflammation.
How can it help my pet and me?
Laser has many benefits, which vary slightly depending on the condition. Overall, it is non-invasive, non-painful, has very few contradictions or side effects, and can be used alongside most current medications. The main clinical benefits of laser use in pets include decreased inflammation, decreased pain and improved wound healing.
How does it work?
The therapeutic laser is similar to a flashlight, but it only emits beneficial wavelengths in the red and infrared range. The probe is applied over the problem area for a specific amount of time. It is non-invasive and non-painful.
How long does it take?
Sessions take 15 minutes and are booked with our rehab technicians. The number of sessions and treatment frequency depends on the injury or health issue. Chronic conditions may be treated once every 1 to 2 weeks, while surgical incisions and open wounds may need daily treatments. The technician will advise on what is required for your pet.
Does it hurt my pet?
No. Most pets don’t even notice the treatment. Some will feel a gentle warming sensation.
What are the benefits of Low-Level LASER Therapy for dogs and cats?
Laser will benefit most conditions where reduction of swelling and promotion of healing is desired. Examples include:
- Skin wounds
- Lick granulomas
- Post-operative wounds and inflammation
- Anal sacculitis
- Otitis externa
It can also be useful to treat the following conditions. However, a referral to our rehabilitation veterinarian is required to treat these issues.
- Tendon and ligament injuries
- Muscle injuries
- Nervous system injury and neurologic conditions
What kind of LASER is used in your practice?
Most of the current research in Low-Level LASER has been done with Class IIIB lasers. At Full Circle Vet, we have two Class IIIB lasers from Spectra Vet LASERS. At our Valley location, we have a Chattanooga Class III LASER.
What can’t laser be used for?
It is not recommended in pregnant patients and those with active bleeding. It should also not be used over tumour sites and transdermal medications.
Underwater Treadmill Therapy
What is an underwater treadmill?
A waterproofed treadmill inside a tank that can be filled with water is called an underwater treadmill. Your pet enters the container and, once the door is closed, warm water gradually fills the tank to the desired depth. Your pet then walks on the moving treadmill, aided by the buoyancy of the water. Our trained rehabilitation technician supervises patients.
What is underwater treadmill therapy?
Underwater treadmill therapy may include walking or trotting on a treadmill in a tank filled with water. For animals that are severely debilitated, or who have neurologic disabilities, a trained rehab technician may help them to move in a particular way. The buoyancy and the controlled temperature of the water helps a pet to increase the range of motion of their joints, increase their muscle mass and decrease their musculoskeletal pain.
When would my pet benefit from underwater treadmill therapy (UWT)?
Your pet would benefit from UWT therapy if they have arthritis, joint pain, decreased the joint range of motion, muscle weakness or if they have any neurologic dysfunction. Healthy performance animals will also benefit from hydrotherapy in an underwater treadmill to help with muscle strengthening and conditioning. Overweight patients benefit from UWT therapy as it offers a low impact activity and helps with weight loss.
How does underwater treadmill therapy (UWT) differ from swimming?
Treadmill therapy differs from swimming in that the patient is not submerged in the water on the treadmill. All four limbs are in contact with the moving treadmill base, and so they are still walking, or trotting while being supported by the water.
Therapeutic Exercises for Pets
What are therapeutic exercises?
Therapeutic Exercises are exercises that your pet can be taught to do at home or in our clinic setting. These exercises are designed to target specific muscle groups to help strengthen and tone the muscles. Other types of therapeutic exercises help with body awareness and balance. Performing therapeutic exercises routinely can greatly improve recovery times, prevent further injury and improve performance in working dogs.
Full Circle Veterinary Alternatives uses online video, photographic and written descriptions of assigned exercises. Your rehabilitation technician and veterinarian with evaluate your pet’s progress in achieving the goals of exercise treatment.
What are the benefits of massage therapy?
In a rehabilitation setting, massage can be helpful for the following:
- soothing and comforting a patient
- calming the nervous system, improving muscle function by loosening restrictions
- reducing the build-up of adhesions
- softening and stretching connective tissues that may impinge the nerves
- enhancing circulation
- aiding in the elimination of biochemical toxins
- create a mild inflammatory response that can jump-start healing
What conditions can massage help?
Massage can decrease musculoskeletal pain caused by tight muscles, help to loosen restrictions in connective tissue, improve range of motion in the limbs and improve a pet’s mobility. Certain massage techniques can also be used to stimulate the nervous system.
Will my dog or cat enjoy a massage?
Most pets will enjoy a therapeutic massage. It can be relaxing and soothing and can help alleviate pain. In some instances, the therapist will use deep tissue massage to alleviate trigger points or loosen restrictions. It can sometimes be a bit uncomfortable, but most patients handle the treatment well and enjoy their massage sessions. Massage is also a technique that our rehabilitation technicians teach to pet parents to enhance treatment at home.
Are there any side effects of massage?
The most common side effect of massage is relaxation! However, depending on the technique used, there can sometimes be some mild discomfort for a day or two after treatment.