We all love a good massage! But did you know that our pets can benefit from physiotherapy and massage therapy too? Physiotherapy for dogs is most useful with orthopaedic conditions such as arthritis, ligament tears and fractures that have previously healed. It should be used as an adjunct to other forms of treatment, such as surgery and medication, but if used properly it can speed recovery and improve quality of life in the pet. It is used extensively in rehabilitation following major injuries, orthopaedic or spinal surgery. It can also be useful in the treatment of more chronic conditions such as arthritis.
Physiotherapists use a combination of massage, stretching, thermotherapy, cryotherapy and hydrotherapy, among other techniques. The goal of physiotherapy is to reduce pain, promote earlier return to function, reduce muscle atrophy and improve quality of life.
It is important to first consult your veterinarian and to choose a certified animal physiotherapist. After this, the physiotherapist will likely need to have several sessions with your pet and may even teach you simple exercises that can be performed at home. If hydrotherapy is available nearby, a few sessions in the pool may also benefit your pet. Like any treatment, it is very important for you to follow the instructions provided and remain persistent with the treatment.
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