Introduction

What is physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy is the application of physical stimuli, such as heat, cold, light, pressure and movement, to prevent or improve disorders in the postural and musculoskeletal system. The use of these stimuli is done by means of manual or electrical techniques, which can be generated by various actions such as massage, movement therapy and hydrotherapy or physiological applications such as ultrasound and thermal applications. 

Why use physiotherapy for our small animals? 

Animals are heavily dependent on their freedom of movement. A healthy animal can move harmoniously, because all parts of the body are in balance with each other. When this balance is disturbed, defects can occur (limping, dragging the paws, difficulties standing up, getting behind during the walk,…). At that moment an animal physiotherapist can play an important role during rehabilitation.

If there is hip dysplasia (HD) and osteoarthritis, an animal physiotherapist can not directly influence this condition. He can treat the consequences of this condition properly by  establishing pain relief or keeping the muscles flexible and as strong as possible. Because of this, physiotherapy is also strongly recommended for animals that do not tolerate certain medications or who have little or no response to it.

Physiotherapy can also be supportive and restorative to animals that have undergone orthopedic surgery.

How do I know if my pet qualifies for physical therapy?

  • Your pet is limping / stiff on a front leg or hind leg (or both)
  • After rest periods your pet suffers from standing up, he / she is less energetic and lays down much faster.
  • Your pet has difficulties jumping / does not want to walk on the stairs anymore.
  • During urinating and defecating your pet takes a different attitude.
  • Your pet is hopping with the hindquarters like a rabbit.
  • Your pet has reduced sports performances.
  • Your pet is getting behind during the walks.
  • After an orthopedic surgery (eg, a femur head excision) your pet shows a reduction in support / the rehabilitation proves difficult.

How do we go about it?

It is very important to start looking for a diagnosis of the problem first. For this, there is a very close collaboration with the orthopedic and neurological department to set up a treatment plan that is as correct as possible.

Conditions that are eligible for a physiotherapeutic treatment include:

  • Acute injuries to muscles, joints, ligaments or tendons after an injury or accident.
  • Tendon, bursa and joint inflammations
  • Rehabilitation after fractures and operations (e.g. after a cruciate ligament rupture / arthroscopic treatment of a loose coronoid process)
  • Joint abnormalities, such as hip dysplasia.
  • Osteoarthritis and problems involving old age.
  • Muscle diseases
  • Reduced sport performance

What can we do?