What exactly is animal rehabilitation?
The term rehabilitation (or ‘rehab’) comes from the latin word ‘rehabilitare’ which essentially means ‘to make able again’. When we rehabilitate animals, we aim to return them to the best possible function as quickly and with as little pain as possible, whether that function be better mobility, strength, gait, balance, flexibility, or any of the other things their bodies need to be able to do for them to carry out their daily lives, be that as pets, athletes or working animals.
What kind of animals need rehab?
Any animal which is suffering from difficulty in any of the following areas could benefit from the right kind of rehabilitation treatment:
- Lameness or mobility problems, such as having had (or preparing for) orthopaedic operations eg torn cruciate ligaments or broken bones, or arthritis
- Flexibility problems, such as stiff joints or a bad back.
- Poor strength, either in just one area like perhaps in hip dysplasia, or all over after serious illness or when afflicted with problems such as underactive thyroid gland or Cushing’s syndrome.
- Pain, whether acute after an accident eg a road traffic accident, fracture or wound, or chronic, like arthritis or old injuries which still cause discomfort
- Balance and co-ordination, for example after spinal or head injury such as intervertebral disc disease, fibrocartilaginous embolism or CDRM, where the body’s control of the back legs is slowly fading away.
- Lack of fitness whether due to medical complaints that have made it harder for a pet to exercise, or when training up for the competition/show season or for the demands of a working life.
- Under- or overweight and struggling to reach ideal body condition.
How does ARC rehabilitate animals?
The first priority is to examine the patient and find out the full extent of the problem(s). Unlike a car, all the different parts of the body interact and depend on each other, so it is quite common for problems in one area to affect other quite different parts, so vet Rhona needs to check over the whole of the patient to make sure there are no hidden factors which are complicating how he or she feels and moves. The next task is to put these in order of importance to the animal’s overall wellness, because sometimes the most obvious problem turns out not to be the most serious. We need to know a lot about what each patient’s life involves in order to do this. We can then draw up a plan of what each individual patient needs help to improve, and how ARC can achieve this. There are lots of types of treatment (or modalities) available at ARC, and each pet will need a different approach to treatment. For example, an older dog with several stiff painful arthritic joints might need to have painkilling medicine and/or acupuncture to relive the soreness before having treatment to warm up the joints to help them bend and flex better, and some hydrotherapy to help his circulation and enable him to exercise and build his muscles and fitness back up with minimal impact to the joints, whereas a horse which has injured its tendon might need ultrasound to help the tendon heal with less scarring and better flexibility afterwards.
What rehab equipment does ARC have?
We are proud to offer a wide range of new and up-to-the minute facilities including:
- Technik Hydrophysio HP300 underwater treadmill
- Swimming pool with antiswim jets for resistance or massage, full ramp access and member(s) of staff in the pool with the patient as necessary.
- Intelect mobile therapeutic ultrasound
- Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES)
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) for in-clinic and at-home use
- Transcutaneous Electrical Stimulation (TSE)
- Full range of therapeutic exercise equipment including BAPS boards, wobble cushions, gym balls and physiorolls, weights, resistance bands, cavaletti rails, cones and training toys
- Equipment for disabled and injured pets including lifejackets, buoyancy floats, harnesses, slings, walkin’ wheels mobility carts, protective boots
- Cryo- and thermotherapy
- Facilities to custom-fit orthotics and braces
- Range of appropriate sizes of high-quality sterile disposable acupuncture needles
- Comfortable mats for massage and exercise
- Selection of models and training aids to help make sure information provided is clear and easy to understand
- Digital video and photography for accurate recording and analysis
Rehab for my animal
If you think rehabilitation might be suitable for your animal, speak to your vet regarding referral, and feel free to give us a ring! For your animal’s safety, your vet must refer him/her. This ensures we know all the necessary information and clinical details about the patient and can work with your home practice for the best results.
Not all patients need hydrotherapy, and pets of all species can be treated at ARC. Home visits for equine ultrasound and acupuncture within a reasonable radius can be arranged.