Canine Physical Therapy

Physical therapy for canines, or canine rehabilitation, adapts human physical therapy techniques to increase function and mobility of joints and muscles in animals. Animal rehabilitation can reduce pain and enhance recovery from injury, surgery, degenerative diseases, age-related diseases, and obesity.

The goal of physical therapy for animals is to improve quality of life and decrease pain. The techniques used in this discipline can also be applied to horses, cats, birds, rabbits, rodents and other small animals.

Massage is used in animal physical therapy to relieve tension in muscles and stimulate muscle development. Massage helps speed up recovery from injuries and surgery by increasing blood flow to the area and relieving muscle spasms. Massage is used widely in canine physical therapy and can be helpful in improving the comfort of animals affected by nearly all medical conditions.

An animal generally must have a diagnosis and referral by a veterinarian to start a physical therapy regime. A certified canine rehabilitation practitioner (CCRP) performs physical therapy. A certified veterinary technician (CVT) may also perform physical therapy techniques if they have been trained and are supervised by a CCRP.