Pain Management and Physical Rehabilitation
The Pet Doctor offers a wide range of rehabilitative, fitness and pain management services to treat cats and dogs ranging from the athletes to senior citizens.
Animals are good at hiding discomfort and pain.
Our philosophy of treatment balances the best medical approaches to address the ‘whole’ animal. We specialize in hands-on “nose to tail.” This way we can pinpoint areas of physical weakness and injury and integrate them into a rehabilitation treatment plan.
At The Pet Doctor, our goal is to help your pet regain full or near full function after injury as well as keep them healthy over the long term. We are proud of the comprehensive treatment plans and modalities we bring to our patients.
Some pets come to us after surgery for relief from pain and to speed recovery, while others come to lose weight, work on conditioning, build muscle mass, regain mobility or improve balance. At The Pet Doctor, we have the proper training, experience, and skills to address a wide range of neurologic and musculoskeletal conditions.
Many animals we see are in pain, whether the result of injury, surgery, or a degenerative condition such as arthritis. In some cases, rehabilitation can provide an alternative to surgery, or reduce or even eliminate the need for prescription pain medication.
Typically, the goals of our treatment plans are to increase your pet’s mobility and functionality. We accomplish these through treatments, exercises, medications, and supplements which:
1. Decrease pain
2. Increase range of motion
3. Increase flexibility
4. Increase the strength of muscles, ligaments, and tendons
5. Improve proprioception and balance
6. Promote and support healing
Just like in humans, adequate pain management in animals helps to promote healing. We know that pain slows healing—if the body is in pain, the healing process becomes compromised. Reducing your pet’s pain is often the first step toward increasing mobility.
Other veterinary approaches to injury or post-surgical recovery often focus on strict cage rest and may ignore pain management. Advances in physical rehabilitation techniques in veterinary medicine, additional tools and approaches such as acupuncture, chiropractic, laser, and rehabilitation plans are proven means of helping pets have a more successful recovery from injury or surgery.
We LOVE our underwater treadmill! There are many benefits of hydrotherapy that can be used to help with mobility and pain issues. It is highly beneficial as it uses the therapeutic properties of water to improve range of motion, strengthen muscles, and boost endurance – all while reducing the risk of injury. Pet water therapy can help rehabilitate after soft tissue injuries, post-surgical care, osteoarthritis, muscle weakness, geriatric care, weight loss, and other issues.
One benefit is that the water is heated. The thermal effects of water can help dogs, cats, and other pets relax during pet therapy and many of them even seem to enjoy the treatment. Warm water has the ability to lessen pain and can make connective tissue flexible, thus allowing better range of motion and deeper stretching. The warmth of the water can also increase blood flow and increase the pet’s motivation, speeding up recovery.
Another benefit is that the buoyant properties of water minimize the weight that is bearing on the bones and joints of the dog or cat. We raise or lower the level of water according to how much or little weight we want the bones and joints to bear. Our goal is to try to get it back to a normal gait pattern. Reducing the weight put on the bones and joints is highly important to increase endurance and strength without putting excess stress on the joints.
Laser treatments are a great way to provide pain relief to your cat or dog. Laser therapy reduces pain by reducing inflammation and also by activating the lymphatic system. The result is a reduction in swelling which reduces pain. The lasers also stimulate nerve cells that block pain signals from being transmitted to the brain, thereby decreasing nerve sensitivity. Because there is less inflammation, less swelling and an interruption of pain signals to the brain, the dog will experience less pain.
Laser therapy is very effective with injuries and is also helpful post-surgery. In many cases, laser therapy alone may be enough to alleviate pain and stimulate the healing process. Because it works directly on injured or affected areas, laser treatments can help speed up healing, strengthen muscle and tissue, improve mobility and enhance your dog’s overall quality of life almost immediately.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a method of using the body’s processes to heal itself. Blood drawn from the patient is run through a special centrifuge, separating the blood’s components. The centrifuge runs at a precise speed in order to separate out the platelets. The separated platelets release growth factors that stimulate healing in the area where they are placed. The growth factors that come from the platelets stimulate collagen production, connective tissue healing, bone repair and development of new blood vessels. These factors all promote the healing process.
The number of injections can vary depending on the type and severity of the condition. Frequently, injuries (especially chronic injuries) require more than one injection. The good news is a single PRP blood collection generally yields enough PRP plasma for more than one treatment. We usually do two treatments that are 3-4 weeks apart. Patients do need light sedation for the procedure, but it can generally be performed as an outpatient appointment, with drop off in the morning and pick up in the afternoon. We shave some hair over the area of the injection, to ensure that we have a decreased risk of infection in the joint. Since PRP is a component from each patient’s blood, there is no risk of a reaction.