There are a variety of complementary treatments available to help our senior pets, one of these being physiotherapy. Below we take a closer look at physiotherapy as a therapy and the benefits it can have for your pet.
What is physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy is a hugely beneficial discipline in helping manage senior patients, especially those who suffer with degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis, and lumbosacral disease. It can consist of a range of treatments including therapeutic exercise, manual techniques, ultrasound, laser therapy, TENs therapy, and pulse wave therapy.
For a senior pet, physiotherapy could involve the use of high-tech equipment, or simply hands and gentle positioning. Based on your pet’s condition, the physiotherapist will employ the right tools to achieve the best results.
What is the aim of physiotherapy?
As a complementary therapy in helping senior pets, physiotherapy aims to improve mobility, restore normal function and relieve pain by improving muscle strength, muscle stamina and joint range of motion. Managing degenerative joints is a key focus for a veterinary physiotherapist; painful joints always mean painful muscles because of the compensating and adapted gait pattern. As such, prolonging a good quality of life for your pet is a major priority.
What are the benefits of physiotherapy?
Owners are often unaware that their pet is in pain; as a result, vets are unaware and therefore unable to adjust medication. A physiotherapy assessment on patients, can identify signs of pain and start the process of adjusting medication, managing the degenerative disease and preserving the quality of life. By closely working with veterinary surgeons, physiotherapists can constantly reassess patients to make sure any pain is managed, whilst providing an additional perspective for the vet asides from that of the owner. In most cases, vets see patients for just 15 minutes, however a physiotherapy appointment will tend to last for an hour at a time, where mobility, musculoskeletal systems, lifestyle and behaviour can be thoroughly assessed and discussed.
Physiotherapy is essential in advising owners on crucial management strategies to help senior pets cope better. These can include:
- Discussing adjustments to their home life
- Adjusting the exercise and play regime
- Keeping pets arthritic joints warm in winter to prevent inflammatory flare ups and maintain quality of life.
The undertaking of simple, quick exercises fitted into your daily routine can also improve your dog’s muscle strength and mass, as well as energy levels.
Catching degenerative diseases early is crucial for the success in long term management. Many professionals recommend having annual physiotherapy check-ups once your pet reaches adulthood to identify early and mild symptoms.