Depending on the condition being treated, various therapies can increase range of motion, improve balance, decrease pain, and strengthen muscles.
Perfect for athletic conditioning or recovery from injuries, the Animal Rehab Center offers two different ground treadmills.The treadmill encourages feet to follow a more normal gait pattern, often improving active range of motion, as well as the rhythm of weight shifting and gait. This helps muscles strengthen and allow tissues to heal in a more functional manner. One of the treadmills is outfitted with sensors and attached to a computer to allow analysis of several aspects of gait, including step length, time spent standing on each limb, and percent of body weight placed on each limb. This service helps to diagnose subtle lameness, and helps us track progress in treatment.
Balance equipment is used for improving an animal’s proprioception as well as ability to bear weight. With neurologic or soft tissue injuries, animals will often decrease use of a certain limb. Balance equipment can be used to re-train the muscles and nerves to place more weight on the affected area. Additionally, controlled challenges to the animal’s center of balance can result in improved coordination and responsiveness, and decreased falls.
Many focused exercises have been tailored and modified for animals, based on exercises used in human physical rehab. Cavaletti rails are essentially obstacles that encourage increased active flexion of the legs and improve coordination. Other exercises, such as Cone Weaving, Sit to Stands, or Wheelbarrow-ing can improve weight bearing and muscle strength in specific areas.
Massage in animals is based on very similar techniques to those used in people. Used primarily for pain relief, massage can also treat secondary muscle tension, inflammation of joints and nerves, and effusion (swelling) of soft tissues. Massage generally begins in a superficial manor, working from the feet to the spine, often reaching deeper tissues if needed. Heat and ice therapy are a great compliment to massage, additionally helping decrease pain. Heat will often be used to improve flexibility just prior to passive range of motion, and ice therapy will help decrease swelling and inflammation after surgery or an active day of exercise.