If your pet has had any of these conditions, it will benefit from a tailored rehabilitation programme.
Functional strengthening exercises (routines that mimic the demands of the structures repairing) strengthen the affected part of the body whilst re-educating motor patterns of movement. Such exercises will develop the muscles and connective tissues weakened by trauma, surgery and non-use, allowing your pet to perform at its best and decrease the risk of further injury or compensatory movements.
Kennel & Paddock’s rehab work is by veterinary referral and we liaise closely with the referring practice to ensure continuity of care.
Exercises used in rehabilitation
Balance exercises make use of equipment designed to strengthen weak muscles and build up limbs affected by atrophy (muscle wastage). These exercises include balancing on physio balls, wobble boards and balance boards. Balance exercises can be useful for animals recovering from surgery. The animal is encouraged to place weight on the surgical repair, building muscle around the affected area. These exercises can also be helpful for animals with neurological conditions. For example, an animal recovering from a stroke has decreased coordination and balance, which can be improved through a specific rehabilitation regime that includes balance exercises.
Coordination exercises help improve an animal’s awareness of its surroundings. Such exercises include Cavalettis (stepping poles), weaves and figure eights. Cavaletti is an exercise that gives an animal various obstacles to walk over. This exercise makes the animal focus on where each foot is being placed and builds coordination. Weaves and figure eights help to build coordination and strength by forcing the animal to shift its weight quickly from one side to the other as it turns. These exercises are very useful in dogs suffering from neurological conditions and spinal-cord injuries.
These exercises include uphill and downhill walking, stairs, standing on two or three legs, ramps and sit-to-stands. Uphill and downhill walking are effective physiotherapy techniques for increasing the range of movement at joints. This is also helpful in dogs with hip dysplasia or degenerative joint disease. Getting your pet walking up and down stairs under control will force an animal’s weight to shift fully onto its front or hind limbs and build muscle in the shoulders and thighs, respectively.