"What is Veterinary Physiotherapy?"
Updated: Jan 25
I have been answering this question for about 6 years so don't worry, you're not the only one who's not quite sure what it is that I do.
To put it quite simply, I do everything that a human physiotherapist would do, but on your animal!
Your animal comes to me with an injury, I can help to rehabilitate it.
Your animal isn't performing quite as you want him to, I can help to build up his fitness and get him top notch.
Your animal is plodding along quite happily and you want to keep him that way, I can help to maintain his condition.
Obviously the main difference is that we often don't know where these issues lie. So in comes the detective work!
You could walk up to human physiotherapist, tell them your knee hurts and get a series of exercises and treatments to help that knee. Your dog or horse tries their hardest to tell us their knee is hurting but we often mistake it for misbehaviour or stubbornness. If the issue isn't prominent enough to make them lame or limp, then I have to read all the other signs to work out that the pain is actually in the knee.
I do this by reading their behaviour, palpating (feeling them all over with my hands) and moving around their joints and limbs. Once I have decided that the pain may be coming from the knee, I would then have to consult with your veterinarian as they may want to investigate the issue themselves.
Often we are not just dealing with the issue of where the pain is coming from, but also the consequences this has on the other parts of the body. A painful knee could cause a painful lower back from changing the way the back supports the weight. Or the opposite knee could become painful from carrying more weight than before. Or even a shoulder or elbow could become affected.
So you can start to see how difficult it can be just to figure out what is causing the animal discomfort!
Once we know, the treatments can begin. Now these vary greatly depending on the issue but to summarise some of the treatments I have available at Shoreline Vet Physio I will be writing blog posts about each of them in time. I have:
- LASER therapy
- Massage therapy
- TENS electrotherapy
- NMES electrotherapy
- PEMF therapy
- Heat therapy
- Remedial exercises and exercise plans
Physiotherapy is never a one off treatment and the problem is solved. It always involves a treatment plan and regular check ups to make sure everything is going to plan. Some cases require treatment multiple times a week, some maintenance cases need tailored exercise plans that revolve around what you do with your animal at home.
To summarise, us veterinary physiotherapists have become incredible mind readers to get an animal that can't talk to tell us what is going on. This only comes with a full qualification and experience so don't cut corners!
Thanks for reading!
Harley :) x