Veterinary Physiotherapy is a holistic, science based approach to providing animals with therapy for specific requirements; whether that be for rehabilitation, management of injuries/conditions or fitness and strength training. In the human field, Physiotherapy "helps to restore movement and function when someone is affected by injury, illness or disability. It can also help to reduce your risk of injury or illness in the future" (NHS). The same principles are applied in Veterinary Physiotherapy, with the exception of the patient having four legs! (or two, if you're a bird!).
What is included in Veterinary Physiotherapy treatments?
Treatments vary depending on the animal and their condition; what works for one animal may not necessarily work for another. Treatment options can be split into 3 main categories:
1) Manual Therapies. These may include massage, stretching, joint mobilisations, hot/cold treatments, trigger point therapy, myofascial release...
2) Electrotherapies. This may include LASER/Phototherapy, Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy, TENS, Muscle Stimulation, Ultrasound....
3) Remedial Exercise Programmes. Development of a remedial exercise programme (REP) is an important part of any veterinary physiotherapy treatment, and directly involves the owner, often as part of a "homework" plan. REP may include exercises for building strength, increasing flexibility, reducing lameness and preventing injury in the future.
What conditions can veterinary physiotherapy help with?
Veterinary physiotherapy can help with a range of conditions across a range of species. common uses/reasons for veterinary physiotherapy include:
- Surgery rehabilitation (e.g. cruciate ligament, luxating patella, hip dysplasia, arthroscopy)
- Tendon and ligament injuries
- Muscle injuries (e.g. back pain or tightness)
- Neurological injuries/conditions (e.g. IVDD, degenerative myelopathy, wobblers, paralysis)
- Joint conditions (e.g. osteoarthritis, OCD, fractures, elbow/hip dysplasia, kissing spines)
- Pain management
Veterinary physiotherapists work closely with Vets to provide the best possible care for the individual. Before assessing and treating any animal, all veterinary physiotherapists must gain referral from the animal's primary vet.
What qualification's do Veterinary Physiotherapist's have?
There are multiple routes into becoming a veterinary physiotherapist, all of which ensure that your therapist is highly knowledgeable and working to correct standards. When selecting a therapist for your animal, always check their qualification and certification; look for a degree in Veterinary Physiotherapy (whether that be a BSc, MSc or PgDip). Governing bodies such as NAVP and professional registers such as AHPR are also in place to ensure high standards and provide a directory of qualified therapists.
Do you think your animal could benefit from veterinary physiotherapy? Contact Us Now for a no obligation chat to find out more.