Why does my dog need canine physiotherapy?
Lots of dogs can benefit from physiotherapy whether you have a working or performance dog who needs to be at the top of their game, an elderly dog who is starting to struggle with arthritis and reduced mobility or a dog rehabilitating from an ongoing issue such as hip dysplasia or an operation for example crucial surgery. All of these dogs can benefit from targeting increase in strength, muscle mass, weight bearing and range of motion and flexibility in their joints.
In addition, physiotherapy can be a huge part of the rehabilitation from neurological issues in dogs helping to give your dog back awareness and function of their limbs getting them back up on their feet.
What areas can be addressed through my dog’s physiotherapy plan?
- Areas of tight/low muscle tone. Dogs should have a general good muscle mass. If your dog is under-developed or really low toned in one area, comparison to another, this can mean your dog is not using that area. This is putting addition strain on the other soft tissue structures that are working hard and is likely to result in injury later down the line. Equally those areas which your dog is overusing can get tight and sore. Sessions of physiotherapy include work to help these areas of extreme muscle tone.
- Asymmetries in weight bearing. Ideally, we want your dog to be weight bearing through all four paws. Often dogs that have had injuries or pain in one limb learn to off-load that leg leading to excessive strain being put onto other limbs. Targeted exercises can help to re-establish correct posture and teach your dog to use this leg properly again.
- Pain management. Like humans, dogs can experience pain for a number of reasons including arthritis joints, areas of scarring and restrictions and areas of extreme muscle tightness. Unlike humans, dogs cannot communication that they are in pain. I will therefore identify any areas of painful tissue and seek to resolve them.
- Joint mobility. A huge proportion of the nations older dog population suffer from some level of arthritis. It is vital that we try to maintain joint mobility in these compromised joints to maintain mobility and function for a long as possible. This is something I will look to do.
- Improved range of motion. A good range of motion enables your dog to easily move around during their day to day life whether that be on a walk, jumping on and off the couch or stepping over the threshold at the front door. I will use stretches and range of motion exercises to maximise your horse’s range of motion.
- Improved muscle bulk and strength. We all want our dogs to be fit and strong to perform for us whatever they are meant to do. I will therefore use a varierty of mothds and exercises to work on improving their muscle bulk and strength.
Everybody wants their dog to have the best quality of life possible. Physiotherapy can help maintain this for your dog.
What are the signs that I should look out for which may indicate my dog could benefit from physiotherapy?
- Veterinary indicators such as if they have just had a muscle or joint injury, i.e. Post-surgery rehabilitation; an ongoing joint condition such as hip dysplasia; osteoarthritis; neurological rehabilitation
- Behavioural indicators such as slowing down on walks; not wanting to go out as far or doing more ‘pottering’; reluctance to climb the stairs, jump on/off the sofa and in/out of the car; struggling to get settled in an evening; persistent licking of an area; excessive panting when it is not hot; changes in gait; stiffness when getting up after a sleep; not wanting to play anymore; increase in aggressive or defensive behaviour