Veterinary physiotherapy involves the assessment of an animal both statically and dynamically to determine any muscular imbalances or conformational weaknesses and uses physical therapies such as massage, stretches and range of motion, combined with remedial exercise in order to address these weaknesses.
Physiotherapy can be beneficial for:
- Rehabilitation post surgery
- Rehabilitation following injury
- Pain relief
- Addressing poor performance
- Management of the competition animal
Massage techniques are used to:
- Improve blood flow, increasing the delivery of nutrients to muscles and flushing out toxins as well as promoting lymphatic drainage
- Relieve areas of spasm and helps to drain oedema
Improve muscle tone
- Increase the elasticity of muscle fibres and in doing so helps to promote suppleness in the tissues and improve range of motion of the joints
- Promotes the release of dopamine and serotonin which assist with pain relief and promoting a feeling of well being.
Stretching and range of motion exercises can be beneficial for:
- Increasing joint range of motion which might of been reduced following injury or surgery
- Increasing overall suppleness and flexibility which can help to prevent compensatory injury or re-injury following rehabilitation
- To promote correct posture and awareness of limb placement.
Remedial exercise programs are used as part of an animals treatment and consist of exercises which can be incorporated into their daily work/exercise regime to specifically target areas of weakness with the aim to support and strengthen the structures in that area. Remedial exercises have the greatest effect when used in conjunction with manual therapies and should be progressive and specifically tailored to the patient. Examples of remedial exercise include:
- Core-stability exercises
- Weaving and balance exercises
- Backing up
- Hacking/lead walking exercise