What is Veterinary Physiotherapy?
Veterinary Physiotherapy is a complimentary therapy carried out under veterinary referral and is the assessment and treatment of musculoskeletal, neurological or other physical disorders.
It is used in a range of siutations, including:
- Injury rehabilitation - such as ilipsoas injuries in dogs, or tendon injuries in horses, ligament injuries
- Wound care
- Management of patients during box rest
- Post surgical rehabilitation - such as cuciate surgery in dogs or kissing spine surgery in horses
- Routine maintenance of musculoskeletal system
- Improvement of athletic ability and performance optimisation
- Management of scar tissue or muscle adhesions
- Sore/strained/bruised muscles, muscle spasms
- Muscle atrophy
- Rehabilitation and prescribed exercise
-Management of elderly or arthritic patients - physio can help to retain muscle strength and help to control pain
Techniques offered include:
Exercise prescription, manual techniques such as massage or myofascial release, taping techniques/Kinesiotaping, use of therapy machines such as therapeutic ultrasound or laser, stretching, range of motion and mobilisation, rehabilitation planning.
Do Veterinary Physiotherapists Treat Humans Too?
Veterinary physiotherapy is not always carried out by a practitioner that has trained on humans first -although this is a common route into the profession.
Many vet.physios have trained specifically with animals meaning that they are specifically trained to treat your animal, rather than training on humans first then transferring the skills. Many also come from a background within the veterinary industry often starting out as vets or nurses.Many also subsequently train in the human field.
This gives them a unique and in-depth understanding of the patients they are treating. In my case, the years spent watching various types of surgery gives a brilliant understanding of the effects of surgery on the patient. How better to understand how to rehabilitate a dog post cruciate surgery, or a horse post surgery than to be in theatre assisting with the procedure.
This is then followed by nursing care during the recovery phase, and various nurse appointments for post operative checks - all providing a wonderful nursing insight into patient recovery.
Understanding veterinary clinical notes is also routine if you are veterinary-trained, especially if the practitioner was a vet or nurse. When choosing an animal physiotherapist, whether they were originally human-trained or not, the most important thing is to ensure that they are correctly qualified to treat your pet, and that you have a good rapport with them. If someone is correctly qualified, the qualification route is not important as long as they are able to get results.
Most Veterinary physiotherapists are happy to work closely with your vet to get the best outcome for your patients.
Physiotherapy can very much improve the outcome for patients who have been injured or had surgery, and can promote health so that animals do not become injured so easily.