Rehabilitation Client FAQs

Why rehabilitation?

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 damage.

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?

David Sessum using Therapeutic Exercises

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 rehabilitation.

When are you open?

New patients who are referred for rehabilitation are scheduled Monday through Friday when a veterinary surgeon/rehabilitationist is available.

After the initial visit, ongoing therapy is scheduled Monday through Friday between 8 AM and 5 PM.

What will 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 convenient.

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 have therapy?

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 injuries.

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.

interview/photography/videotape consent form

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!

Can I 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 rehabilitation cost?

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.

How can I contact you?

For more information or to schedule an appointment please call: (979) 845-2351

You may also send an email to:

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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