Pet Dogs

Physiotherapy for Companion Dogs

Dogs can suffer from a wide variety of orthopaedic and neurological conditions in all stages of their life.  Young dogs may have developmental diseases such as hip and elbow dysplasia, dislocating patellae or necrosis of the head of femur.  Middle age dogs can acquire conditions such as prolapsed intervertebral discs, spinal strokes, and cruciate ligament damage.  Older dogs may suffer with arthritis, back pain due to spondylitis or degenerative myopathies.

Physiotherapy has a vital role to play in the management of these conditions whether they are treated with or without surgery.  As the types of operation available have advanced, so has the need for the appropriate pre and post operative rehabilitation. Physiotherapy can enhance both the quality and speed of healing; provides non-pharmaceutical pain relief; and offers long term management programme. Physiotherapy is essential in restoring normal proprioception (body and movement awareness), mobilising joints, and strengthening muscles, teaching correct movement patterns, and restoring full functional activities to improve the quality of your pet’s life.

I also offer special programmes for puppies, elderly dogs and dogs with behavioral issues.

Common conditions of the young dog that physiotherapy can help with:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Osteochondrosis dissecans
  • Patella luxation
  • Angular limb deformities
  • Avascular disease of the femoral head

Common traumatic conditions that physiotherapy can help with:

  • Fractures
  • Fibrocartilaginous embolism (spinal stroke)
  • Acute & chronic soft tissue injuries, involving muscle, tendon, ligament or joint capsule.
  • Muscle contractures e.g. Infraspinatus; Gracilis
    (usually seen in GSD)
  • Severe soft tissue and bony damage following a road traffic accident, possibly resulting in amputation of a limb
  • Joint luxation
  • Nerve injuries
  • Spinal disc disease
Companion dog

Core stability

Dog physio

Common conditions of the older dog that physiotherapy can help with:

  • Cranial cruciate ligament disease
  • Arthritis
  • Spondylitis
  • Weight control issues
  • CDRM (Degenerative Myopathy)

Physiotherapy can help with the management of geriatric dogs by maintaining or improving their mobility, flexibility, strength and muscle tone, and providing symptomatic relief for arthritis.

Puppy programmesPuppy Programs

Learning to control and co-ordinate their body does not always come naturally to puppies – especially in large and giant breeds. Puppy programmes include teaching owners light tough, massage and proprioceptive training techniques, to help puppies improve their own body awareness and learn how to control their back end.  These techniques help to improve the puppies’ coordination, balance, movement, muscle development, confidence and concentration. This assists in the prevention of injuries from over stretching joints, muscles, and ligaments. It also aids in the learning of essential life skills such as the acceptance of collar, lead and harness; toilet training; and teeth and paw examination.  These techniques also have a calming effect that can help to manage any situation that causes your puppy anxiety, including car travel, visits to the vet, fireworks, noise aversion, separation anxiety etc, and gives the owners the tools to cope with these situations before they develop into a major problem. They are also beneficial in preventing unwanted behavior such as chewing and nipping.

The first year in a dog’s life is critical to a healthy future. Puppies are hard on their bodies, and minor injuries can lead to a lifetime of problems. Puppy clinics include musculoskeletal health checks which will identify minor neck, back, joint or soft tissue injuries, and treat them before they develop into a major problem. Any early signs of possible orthopaedic issues will also be picked up and referred back to your veterinary surgeon.

Puppy programs can be arranged on an individual basis or in small groups of up to four, which will include learning how to interact with other dogs and people.

Elderly dogs

Elderly dogs

As dogs age, they are more prone to joint problems and muscle soreness.  Regular massage and other manual techniques can increase joint mobility and soothe achy muscles.  Electrotherapies can also be used to ease the pain from stiff muscles and arthritis.

I can also give advice and guidance on husbandry issues to support elderly dogs; provide splints to support failing joints; lead weight loss programmes; and prescribe suitable exercise, tactile and sensory motor stimulation, and cognitive activities, to enrich the lives of elderly dogs and help prevent or slow down canine dementia.

Behavioral Issues

Habitual patterns of unwanted behaviour can be redirected using proprioceptive training and sensory-motor stimulation.  I offer this unique therapy which incorporates the whole body and brain by increasing body awareness, improving coordination, balance, confidence and concentration.  This in turn leads to reducing stress, fear, nervousness or insecurity which is often the underlying causes of the unwanted behavior.

Rescue dogs

Rescue Dogs

I recommend that any dog that has been re-homed is given a musculoskeletal health check, especially if the dog has been mistreated or the previous history is unknown. Dogs that have been tied, up, crated, confined to a small area, abused, or just been allowed to pull excessively on their collars, will usually have some soft tissue injuries and muscle imbalances. These injuries can be the cause of aggression which is a symptom pain. These dogs may also benefit from the programmes I offer that address confidence, training and behaviour.

Back to top

In accordance with the law, veterinary consent is needed before I can treat any animal. You can download a referral form and health check form in Word format from the links below.

Veterinary referral form
Competition Animal MSK Check

Site designed & produced by smcdesign on behalf of VIP Vet Physio. 2010