My 10 year old dog was recently diagnosed with arthritis. I have heard of canine physical rehabilitation. Would this help her?
Yes, physical rehabilitation can help dogs with arthritis. Arthritis is usually managed utilizing a multimodal approach consisting of daily low impact exercise, such as walking or swimming, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pain medications, and maintaining an ideal body weight. Canine physical rehabilitation, like human physical therapy, uses techniques such as stretching, therapeutic exercises, aquatic therapy, low level lasers, therapeutic ultrasound, and electrical stimulation. A certified canine rehabilitation practitioner is trained to evaluate each patient and create an individualized treatment plan. In the case of arthritis, a rehabilitation program can aid in increasing or maintaining muscle mass, increasing joint mobility, reducing pain, and can help with weight management. At Oradell Animal Hospital, we are fortunate to have an underwater treadmill that is a mainstay in canine physical rehabilitation. Water’s buoyancy eases the pain of exercise by decreasing the load placed on joints. Walking in water improves strength, range of motion, and cardiovascular fitness. Canine physical rehabilitation is also used for animals recovering from orthopedic surgeries or injuries and neurologic conditions.