Physical rehabilitation treats animals with injury, dysfunction
or pain by implementation of therapeutic exercise, manual therapy,
and physical modalities (e.g. ice, heat, electrical stimulation,
ultrasound, laser, etc.) Rehabilitation promotes a faster rate of
healing and an earlier return to normal function. Tissues such
as bone, cartilage, and muscle are damaged when not used.
Rehabilitation employs a variety of methods to improve
mobility of an injured limb, which prevent or improve tissue
Rehabilitation can also be very beneficial to geriatric and
severely compromised patients by allowing them to exercise without
the normal weight-bearing stress on their joints. Rehabilitation
helps patients lose weight throughout their lifetime. Sporting and
working dogs can benefit from the off-season and preseason
conditioning offered through the sports medicine program.
What are some common conditions
that may benefit from rehabilitation?
How can I
schedule an appointment for my pet?
If your pet is currently a patient at the Veterinary Medical
Teaching Hospital (VMTH), ask the veterinarian in charge of your
pet's care about a rehabilitation consult. If your pet is not
currently a registered VMTH patient, a referral from your
veterinarian is required before your pet can begin
When are you
New patients who are referred for rehabilitation are scheduled
Monday through Friday when a veterinary surgeon/rehabilitationist
After the initial visit, ongoing therapy is scheduled Monday
through Friday between 8 AM and 5 PM.
happen during the initial visit?
A senior veterinary student will meet with you first to obtain a
complete medical history. Please bring your pet's medical record or
information. It is particularly helpful for us to know what
treatments have been done (surgical or medical) and the dosages of
any current medications. It is also helpful your veterinarian can
give us access to radiographs (x-rays), if any have been taken. We
may ask you to complete a pain assessment questionnaire.
After the veterinary student obtains your relevant information,
he or she will bring your pet to the rehabilitation area where a
technician will assist them with a physical examination. The
student will then discuss the medical history and physical
exam findings with the veterinary surgeon, while the surgeon
completes their own thorough examination.
At this point, typically the surgeon, student, and one of the
rehabilitation technicians will all meet with you to discuss their
findings and recommendations. The recommendations may include
adjustments in pain medications and diet. In most cases, the first
therapy session can be done the same day. Occasionally, additional
diagnostics are recommended prior to starting a rehabilitation
program to ensure the safety of your pet and allow us to create a
therapeutic plan that is based on a complete understanding of your
pet's health. Further diagnostics, if indicated, can often be
performed with your primary care veterinarian and we will discuss
that option with you and your veterinarian.
A thorough evaluation and discussion can take some time, so
please be prepared to spend an hour or more on your first
visit! It will take even longer if you elect to have the
first therapy session performed on the same day.
How often do I have to
bring my pet in for therapy?
Most patients come in for therapy two or three times weekly, and
many clients find it most convenient to drop their pets off in the
morning and pick them up later in the day. Evening pick-ups can be
arranged. Boarding is also available if that is more
In most cases, supplementing in-house therapy with a home care
program provides the best results. If you are not able to come in
regularly for therapy, we can provide you with a home care program
only. This will not be as effective as having a skilled therapist,
but our primary concern is the health and function of your pet. We
will do our best to support you and create the therapy program that
works best for you and your pet!
How long will my pet need to
It depends on the severity of your pet's problem. Some animals
will show improvement after only one session, but the majority of
our patients continue with therapy for several weeks. In some
cases, clients elect to continue with rehabilitation on a long-term
basis to maintain musculoskeletal health and help prevent future
Will photos of my pet
appear on the VSMR web site or Facebook page?
No. Not without your permission! We love to feature photos of
some of our favorite patients, and our Facebook friends like to see
them too. But photos and videos are only posted if we have signed
consent from the family member responsible for the patient's care.
There is no pressure to consent to having your pet's photo
displayed, and there are no consequences for declining.
Will students work
on my pet?
Students are involved in the initial evaluation and may
participate in patient care and basic rehabilitation techniques.
However, in most cases, intensive rehabilitation sessions are
administered by our highly trained veterinary rehabilitation
technicians, under the supervision of a veterinary surgeon /
rehabilitationist. One of our missions is to train our
future veterinarians. However, physical rehabilitation is currently
not part of the core curriculum for veterinary students.
What if my
pet doesn't like therapy?
For patients who are initially nervous, we may have you
accompany them during a pre-therapy visit or during the first
therapy session to help them acclimate. Most patients adapt very
well, in fact, clients often report that their pets seem eager
to come back!
participate in the therapy session?
Yes, we can schedule some therapy such that you can be with your
pet during the session. Some patients enjoy having family members
nearby. However, many patients are more distracted with family
members in the room and benefit more from the therapy if they can
focus on the therapist. We will tell you what we think is in your
pet's best interests. If we recommend that you let the therapists
work privately with your pet, you can request a video
clip, so we can show you how they did.
Regardless, if you would like to see our therapy rooms, just
ask. We'll be proud to give you a brief tour!
How much does
If you are referred to the VSMR by your veterinarian, you will
pay a referral office visit for your initial visit. Beyond that,
you will pay for each therapy session. The cost depends on what
skills, techniques, equipment and time are involved in each therapy
session. We will discuss costs with you before proceeding with
therapy. The Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital accepts payments
in the form of cash, check, or major credit cards.
Are there forms
that I may complete in advance?
It is not required, but here are some forms you may wish to look
over in advance. You may download, print and complete.
I contact you?
For more information or to schedule an appointment please call:
You may also send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
After your visit, please let us know what you think - both what
you liked and how you think we could improve. You can tell us in
person or send us an email, but the best way would be to fill out
an online hospital survey.
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