Whether you’ve ever had physical therapy or not, you probably know of its importance. The purpose is to help restore function, reduce pain, and hopefully provide a structural function that will help guard against future injury. Human medicine has long regarded physical therapy as an essential adjunct of care.
Animal Rehabilitation (AR), as it is officially called in California, is a growing and exciting field. Veterinarians have recommended swimming and walking as therapies for years. But there is so much more. There are different levels AR provides ranging from veterinarian to human physical therapist to lay person. Some of the modalities available for use include swimming, therapeutic laser therapy, electrical stimulation, therapeutic exercise, chiropractic and acupuncture. One area that is particularly interesting is the field of regenerative medicine. In veterinary medicine this is primarily removing adult stem cells from either the animal’s blood or fat and injecting them into ailing soft tissue or joints.
An Animal Rehab practitioner can play a key role in helping your pet to reach its best physical potential. Those goals may include athletic fitness training, post-injury recovery, arthritis management, or weight management. The possibilities are virtually endless. Contact your vet to determine the best rehabilitative protocols to fit your situation. If rehabilitation is not their expertise, ask to be referred to a certified rehabilitation practitioner.
“Ask the Vet” is a monthly feature of the Times-Advocate brought to you by Dr. David Knox of Companion Animal Clinic. If you have a question for the Vet, please submit it to editor@ times-advocate.com.