How Gentle Veterinary Rehabilitation Keeps Senior Pets Active & Comfortable
Due to better veterinary care and responsible ownership, our dogs and cats are living longer than ever. Many of us treasure our geriatric friends tremendously—they've been a valuable part of our lives for more than a decade and have a special place in our hearts. That's why it is so hard to see the natural changes and conditions that often accompany normal aging. A previously strong and healthy senior dog may start to show difficulty with routine activities such as climbing the stairs or jumping on the couch.
Dogs often experience joint pain as seniors. Like people, as pets age, they lose muscle, and with it, strength and balance. Many aspects of aging can make normal daily activities challenging for geriatric pets:
- Musculoskeletal pain
- Decreased range of motion
- Loss of balance or coordination
- Diminished endurance
Veterinary rehabilitation addresses many of these problems.
Goals for Treatment
For the geriatric dog, rehab goals include improving cardiovascular health, optimizing range of motion and flexibility, and maintaining or improving strength, thereby helping the dog to stay as active and comfortable as possible.
When a dog experiences less pain, he or she is able to move more easily. The overall treatment goal is to improve the animal's ability to maneuver in his or her environment, participate in exercise activities, position to urinate and defecate, go for a walk, and function in other ordinary ways. With rehabilitation therapy, dogs may live longer and are far more likely to enjoy an improved quality of life in their later years.
Treatment and Clinical Applications
Many forms of rehab and modalities are useful in managing geriatric conditions:
- Hydrotherapy, utilizing our hydro-treadmill
- Manual therapy and other modalities, including neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES)
- Therapeutic laser
- Therapeutic exercises
To schedule a consultation for your senior companion, please contact us.
"On several occasions, Dr. Hammel administered acupuncture to help Stone, our aging Black Lab. He was like a babe in her arms and the relaxing effects of the procedure seemed to help his mobility. It was a spa treatment for him with healthful results. "– Chris S.
"When Gracie had her hip surgery, the surgeon referred me to Dr. Hammel for physical rehabilitation to speed her recovery. She steadily improved and now plays just as hard as our puppy! I think she misses her rehab sessions though!"– Patrick H.
"Cody, our 12-year-old German Shepherd, has osteoarthritis and difficulty walking. He has been coming to VRCC for physical rehab and it is helping him tremendously. He feels better, has started playing again, and is now able to go for walks. Cody loves his rehab sessions, especially the underwater treadmill!"– Becca P.
"You can tell that Dr. Hammel cares about each pet and treats them as if they are her own. My dog always feels right at home with VRCC and I love the excellent care she receives there!"– Missy S.