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Doctor, You Just Repaired My Dog’s Knee. Why Are You Recommending Physical Rehabilitation?

By July 21, 2014August 14th, 2023No Comments

A common result of an injury or surgery is the deterioration of the muscles.

Knee injuries are the most common injury seen in our dogs. The following information is also true for other conditions as well.

A common result of an injury or surgery is the deterioration of the muscles. This is called disuse atrophy and will occur within days of the injury. Joints and tendons will become stiff and the area will swell. This causes pain and loss of function.

The goals of physical rehabilitation are to:

* speed recovery

* increase strength and range of motion

* reduce pain

* improve functional abilities

* enhance quality of life

After surgery, weight bearing activities need to be limited but unless we begin using the knee, permanent limitations can develop. The old adage of use it or lose it is true. This is where a veterinarian certified in physical rehabilitation can help your pet make a full recovery as well as prevent additional injury.

Normal weight bearing activities must be restricted while guided exercise is started. Once sutures are removed, the underwater treadmill can be used. The water reduces the weight on the limb while providing resistance as your pet exercises in their natural gait pattern. This builds up muscle mass and improves range of motion.

Each pet will be given a customized rehabilitation program. Home exercises will be reviewed and practiced so that you will feel comfortable helping with your pet’s recovery. Stretching is used to elongate the muscles, exercise the joints, and reduce scar tissue (adhesions). Manual manipulation will help realign the spine and therapeutic equipment will be used as needed. This includes cold laser therapy, therapeutic ultrasound, and electro muscular stimulation.

Most physical rehab sessions begin two weeks after surgery. At this initial appointment, surgical staples or sutures are removed and a more intense physical rehabilitation program is started to return your pet to their peak condition.