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What is animal physiotherapy and why is it important?

Animal Physiotherapy is a non-invasive, complementary therapy carried out with veterinary consent, it can aid all manner of ailments such as skin conditions, arthritis, neurological disorders, orthopaedic conditions and many more. With the use of manual therapies and various modalities such as phototherapy, ultrasound and pulsed electromagnetic field therapy physiotherapy can help all animals and is particularly popular for our most common pets such as dogs, cats and horses, but it is not limited to just them!


Firstly, physiotherapy can help manage pain. Pain has a huge impact on animals and can create longstanding chronic issues even when the cause of the initial pain has been treated. Whether it is due to an injury or a more long-term condition such as arthritis, pain reduction is key in your pets recovery and well-being. Compensatory pain can affect posture and cause wear and tear on other joint structures eventually manifesting into problems of their own. If pain is dealt with consistently and promptly these compensatory issues can be eradicated and there can also be a reduced need for prescriptive anti-inflammatory drugs whilst ensuring that your pet has an improved quality of life.


The benefits of animal physiotherapy can include a reduction in invasive procedures and long-term medications. Picking up orthopedic conditions early on (working alongside your veterinarian) and treating with physiotherapy can postpone or even eliminate the need for invasive surgery in cases such as cruciate ligament tears and hip dysplasia. Strengthening and conditioning the correct muscle groups to support joint mobility is imperative in the recovery and maintenance of our four legged friends and in order to do this your physiotherapist will do a full gait analysis to make sure any incorrect movement patters are corrected. Keeping your pet mobile as they get older or post-operative/ injury will increase their longevity and quality of life. Movement is key and a physiotherapy program is a great way to ensure that their exercises are targeted, pain free and effective.


Often, aside from being our loyal companions our pets also have important jobs to do such as; seizure alert dogs, guide dogs and horses involved with projects such as riding for the disabled. There are also those who are used in a competitive environment and always try their best to please. Increasing stamina, fitness and reducing the chance of injury, it is a wise decision for your animal to have an animal physiotherapist as part of their care team and enable them to work for longer and to their best ability. I will cover competition horses and dogs in more depth in a future post.


Our animals are skilled at hiding discomfort, and usually the signs are so subtle that they are not easy to pick up, and once they are obvious it is possible there has been discomfort for some time. Having an animal physiotherapist involved for general maintenance treatments and in recovery can avoid further bills and keep our faithful friends by our side, in comfort for longer.


Photo above of some happy hounds


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