Physical Therapy for our Dogs
Physical Therapy For Our Dogs
Physical therapy is a form of physiotherapy applied to the body to stimulate and assist normal physiological processes. This is achieved by means of massage, application of hot and cold, hydrotherapy, electromagnetic devices emitting varying wave lengths, ultrasound, faradism (muscle contractor) magnetic field, and laser therapy.
Physical therapy has a well established role to play in the treatment of injuries and post operative needs for all dogs. There is little doubt that this form of treatment is quite adequate for the early stages of muscle injuries such as myosotis, bruising, and sprains, for tendon and ligament injuries, and for the reduction of unwanted adhesions between structural joints.
Nearly all forms of physical therapy produce a local temperature rise with an increase in local blood flow and it is this, that is the benefit of these treatments. This temperature increase may follow with the application of heat from an external source, such as hydrotherapy or heat packs, ultrasound or infrared lamps.
Cold and Hot Therapy.
Detecting the minor injuries to muscles, tendons, and ligaments early when there are small tears, contusions, sprains (ligaments), or strains (tendons), and treating the inflammation that is common to all is the best way of preventing major injuries. Simple as it may seem, the use of cold in initial stages following an injury is the first therapy that should be applied to any musculoskeletal injury. In the first 48 to 72 hours after an injury (depending on the severity) and the inflammation, cold therapy should be applied to the area to reduce inflammation by decreasing local blood circulation, pain, and tissue swelling. This can be done with water from a hose, cold packs, cold compression units. A couple of practical methods are; is to use a bucket of iced water to treat lower limb injuries by standing it in the bucket and the other is to freeze water in a small paper cup and then tear off the top part and use it to massage over the inflamed area for 10 to 15 minutes a couple of times per day for the first 48 hours. This combines cold therapy with massage.
Once the inflammation of the injury has been reduced, other forms of physical therapy can be introduced for the healing process. Heat is applied to the area to enhance blood supply and circulation. By using ultrasound with its various settings helps the blood vessels to dilate. The settings available also reduce muscle spasm, reduces pain, and accelerates tissue healing if the lesion is superficial. The heat also increases connective tissue extensibility in superficial tendons, ligaments, joint capsules, and scars. Stretching or doing range of motion exercises after this treatment allows increased elasticity of the tissues as well as reducing joint stiffness. The ultrasound can be adjusted to treat deeper lesions or damage to muscles caused through injury or surgical intervention.
With the increased number of dogs visiting with established injuries (some many years) l have decided to send out the various treatments that we have available. This is the first of the series to be put out.
Dogs can tolerate pain to some degree so if you see something of concern check your dog over for any swelling or soreness and if you do follow the above treatments this may reduce the risk of any serious problems. Many dogs after surgery are just left to rest with no rehabilitation treatment at all but this should not be the case as people need some form of treatment and so do our dogs.