PHYSICAL THERAPY IN VETERINARY MEDICINE

WHY RECOMMENDING PHYSICAL THERAPY POST OP?

Many  studies have shown that patients receiving physical therapy  after surgery  reach normal limb function compared to dogs that just rested. Physical therapy post operatively is beneficial because provides  early mobility and comfort,  and encourage early usage of the operated leg.

WHAT IS INVOLVED IN PHYSICAL THERAPY

Ice therapy

Heat therapy

Passive and active range of motion

Under water treadmill

Strengthening exercise

WHAT IS ICE THERAPY?

Ice therapy is also called cryotherapy, which translates to cure with ice. Ice is used to control pain and swelling during the phase of inflammation. Commercial ice packs covered with a cloth should be applied over the incision for 5 to 10 minutes  three to four times per day for 3 to 5 days.

WHAT IS HEAL THERAPY?

Heat therapy is also called therm-therapy and it is used for rehabilitation purposes after the inflammatory phase ( 5 to 7 days after surgery). Moist (ONLY) heating pads can be purchased in any drug stores and  can be warmed in the microwave. They should be used for 5 to 10 minutes over the affected area 3 to 4 times per day for 2 to 3 weeks.   The benefits are reduction of pain, relieving muscle spasm and decreasing inflammation by improving the blood flow to the surgery site.

WHAT IS PASSIVE AND ACTIVE RANGE OF MOTION EXERCISE (P-A-ROM)?

Passive and active range of motion refer to the movement of the limb passively my the therapist or actively by the dog itself. P-A-ROM  entails bending and extending every single joint starting from the paw to the hip or shoulder regions. During the P-A-ROM, if resistance is felt  the intensity of the exercise should be decreased so there is not pain.

WHY DOGS SHOULD BE ON A LEASH WHEN WALKED?

Leash walk is  important during the recovery process because slows the patient down and encourage early weight bearing. Slow, short leash walks with the support of a sling or harness prevents the patient from falling and spraining the operated limb. The patient should not exceed his or her limits. Start 5 minutes walk and increase it over time by monitoring the patient’s limb function is recommended.

STRENGTHENING EXERCISE

  • Stand and sit exercise
  • Figure eights and weaving between  cones set in a line
  • Dancing exercises
  • Cavalettis training – stepping over poles.
  • Physioballs balancing – placing the body over a ball and then rolling it
  • Wobble boards – standing on a platform that can move in all directions

WHAT IS THE ADVANTAGE OF UNDERWATER TREADMILL?

Water treadmill is beneficial for the recovery of the patient because it a low impact exercise and helps with the muscle build up and joint loosening.

WHEN DO I MASSAGE MY DOG?

Massage of the muscle group has been shown to release muscle spasm and provide pain relieve. The best time to massage is before heat therapy followed by exercise (P-A ROM) then ice therapy.