What do we do when we don’t have a good way to help a pet? We find a new plan!

A couple of years ago, I decided that I was going to get rehab certified. I felt like there were other things that we could be doing to help a lot of our patients after injury or surgery. I did all of the hard work to go through the certification, but unfortunately got busy and really didn’t pursue using it on many cases. More recently, The Pet Doctor team has worked to come up with some great ideas to use our physical therapy treatment options. Over the last few months, we’ve started keeping all of our post op patients for orthopedic procedures in the hospital for several days. We start them on rehab at that point and have had such great success! We treat them several times a day using things like range of motion, laser therapy and hot/cold therapy. We then start standing exercises and progress over time to obstacles and hydrotherapy. We choose modalities for each pet that make them more comfortable and help them heal better. The best part is that we have a few team members that have really embraced doing the exercises. They really have fun watching the patients improve. They get multiple small sessions per day-As we walk them outside to go to the bathroom we are doing sit to stands as they’re walking down the hall. We set up Cavaletti poles or obstacles in the hallway and and then might do a session on the water treadmill. We make it fun for the pet using treats and rewards. The team gets so excited and engaged. It is so rewarding to see at the end of the week that this pet is not as lame or that we can measure that there’s actual increase in muscle size. We so glad that we started doing more rehabilitation and that we’re always working to find new ways to make a difference in pet’s lives.

Let me give you an example. We recently had Jake come in for a repair of luxated patella. He needed the surgery and bc he had muscle loss in his right rear leg. Jakes surgery was at 10 am, and by 4 pm, he was awake, recovered and had a nice comfortable nap. That first evening, we concentrated on pain control and we alternated hot and cold therapy to decrease swelling in his leg.

His protocol after surgery included laser therapy, ROM exercises and standing exercises for a few days starting the next week. By the end of the week he was doing sit to stand exercises and walking over cavaletti poles multiple times per day. By the end of the week he had a ½ inch increase in his thigh muscle and was no longer limping. His owners were so happy. He will still come back for water therapy after his stitches are removed but he is well on his way to recovery.

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