Canine physiotherapy is suitable for all breeds of dog, of any age or discipline, from your average pet to show dog, racing greyhound, agility and flyball dogs and working dogs such as police and gun dogs.
The purpose of physiotherapy is to restore and maintain mobility, function, independence and performance. From the management of joint or spinal problems to rehabilitation from lameness, fractures or any injury, physiotherapy is an essential addition to medical and surgical treatment. This is where canine physiotherapy can be a real benefit to your dog.
Trigger point release
Trigger point release involves the application of controlled pressure performed by the physiotherapist to areas of increased tone (trigger points) within the muscle belly. This sustained pressure results in a moment of ischemia so that a resurgence of local blood flow will occur upon release, increasing the efficiency of nutritional transportation and cell modulation. When used in combination with reciprocal inhibition, trigger point release is extremely effective and produces a noticeable change to muscle tone in one treatment. Horses also tolerate this very well and this may be the treatment of choice for nervous or anxious dogs.
In human physiotherapy, the management of myofascial is becoming increasingly documented. Adhesions, scarring and tears in fascial connections have been shown to reduce range of movement, increase neural tension, compress vascular structures and cause pain. We offer solutions where fascial restriction may cause pain and reduced range in dogs. Using a combination of the above techniques, in addition to mobilisations of supporting joint structures, frictions and stretching we can reduce the viscosity of hyaluronic acid between layers of fascia to break down collagen adhesions and encourage efficiency of cell transportation.
Neuro Muscular Electro Stimulation (NMES)
Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) is a non-invasive means of muscle rehabilitation after injury, surgery or disease. The device applies customised electrical stimulus to a specific muscle or muscle group to cause contraction. The physiotherapist is able to correctly select a suitable frequency, application time and application location in order to facilitate the action of the muscle.
For orthopaedic problems, NMES is useful for reducing muscle atrophy, restoring joint mobility and pain reduction. NMES is also effective in the process of post-operative rehabilitation when trying to increase proprioception and neuromuscular activity. All functions require variations of applications sourced from well documented, published research in both human and animal practice. NMES is only available as a multiple appointment package and is not available as a single appointment/ treatment.
Joint mobility depends on how freely it can move through range, which is crucial for effective movement. Problems occur when joints either become too stiff or too mobile, effecting the balance between joint MOBILITY and joint STABILITY. Following a process of palpation and joint mobilisation the physiotherapist will identify joints that are either too stiff or hypermobile.
Immobile joints can be moved passively according to their angle and location using Maitland mobilisations, a graded series of joint movements that restore joint function. This treatment is used extensively in canine physiotherapy.
For joints that are hypermobile we may prescribe suitable corrective exercises to stabilise the joints. If not corrected, joint instabilities can lead to ligamentous strain, poor muscle activation and reduced optimal movement.
Transcutaneous electrical neural stimulation
TENS is a well-known treatment modality in human practice for pain reduction. We can also use this for pain in dogs. TENS is useful in the early stages of post-operative rehabilitation or when it is too early to use other forms of treatment. The TENS machine is available for hire following full assessment and owner training.
Red and infrared light therapy
Red and infrared light at specific wavelengths and frequencies have been found to be effective in accelerating tissues healing processes, reducing swelling and inflammation and relieving pain.
Using these devices, wounds and other injuries can heal faster and chronic conditions can be managed without the overuse of pain and anti-inflammatory medications within a few treatments.
As chartered human physiotherapists, we are skilled in the prescription of graded exercise in appreciation of healing rates and tissue responses. We are able to transfer this skill to our canine clients. This is especially useful in post-operative rehabilitation and also encourages owner responsibility and effective long term management. We offer tailor made canine physiotherapy exercise programs following referral and assessment that allow the owner to have a structured day to day routine.