At-home Rehabilitation Therapy for Pets

July 1, 2018

In terms of veterinary rehab, it very much follows human rehab.

"In terms of veterinary rehab, it very much follows human rehab," says David Dycus, DVM, MS, CCRP, DACVS, orthopedic staff surgeon at Veterinary Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Group in Annapolis, Maryland.

"For many of us when we've been assigned to go to physical therapy, we go we meet with the physical therapist, they say, 'OK, here's what we're going to do today,' and you do your exercises, and they always give you your homework. And the goal of that homework is to build on what you started so that way when you come back to rehab, you can continue to advance. We do absolutely the same thing in veterinary medicine.

We're going to have our once-to-twice weekly rehab sessions in a formal setting with a skilled rehabilitation therapist, but then we're also going to have our home exercise plan. So, I always tell owners there's 2 parts to this- there's going to be the part where you're going to come in and we're going to undergo sessions, whether it's an hour or 2 hours, and then every single day you're going to have your homework. And then the goal is that you do your homework so that when you come back we can advance and then we advance our exercises. So absolutely it follows almost the exact same trends. And you know, probably the nuts and bolts of the home exercise plan is going to be walking, walking, walking.

Now once we get a little further down the line in terms of improvement comfort, we can start to add in uneven terrain, we can start to add in inclines and declines and stairs. Just trying to depend on what we're shooting for in terms of are we're trying to extend hip range of motion? Or are we trying to work on elbow flexion or elbow extension? We can alter what we're having the owners do at home to facilitate what we're trying to achieve."