Why does my dog need canine physiotherapy?
Many 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 cruciate surgery. All of these dogs can benefit from targeted increase in strength, muscle mass, weight bearing, 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, in comparison to another, this can mean your dog is not using that area correctly. This puts additional 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 equally 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 arthritic joints, areas of scarring, compensatory issues and areas of extreme muscle tightness. Unlike humans, dogs cannot communicate that they are in pain. Physiotherapy can give huge benefits in pain relief in both arthritic and injured dogs. 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, function and reduce pain for a long as possible. This is something I will look to do using a combination of soft tissue mobilisation techniques, electrotherapies and passive range of motion exercises.
- 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 dog’s range of motion.
- Improved muscle bulk and strength. We all want our dogs to be fit and strong enabling them to have a good quality of life and be able to enjoy day to day tasks such as going for walks. I will therefore use a variety of methods and exercises improving their muscle bulk and strength.
Everybody wants their dog to have the best quality of life possible and animal physiotherapy can help maintain this for your dog. Whether this means, maintenance to keep your competition or sporting dog at the top of their game, rehabilitation following injury or surgery, canine rehabilitation from neurological conditions or relieving pain levels and improving mobility.
Signs that your dog could benefit from physiotherapy
- Veterinary indicators such as:
o If they have had a muscle or joint injury.
o Post-surgery rehabilitation
o An ongoing joint condition such as hip dysplasia
o Neurological rehabilitation
- Behavioural indicators such as:
o Slowing down on walks, not wanting to go out as far, doing more ‘pottering’.
o Reluctance to climb the stairs, jump on/off the sofa and in/out of the car.
o Struggling to get settled in an evening
o Persistent licking of an area
o Excessive panting when it is not hot
o Changes in gait
o Stiffness when getting up after a sleep
o Reluctance to play
o Increase in aggressive or defensive behaviour
For more information or an informal chat regarding your dog physio needs contact us.