Veterinary physiotherapy is fast becoming an essential part of rehabilitation for our pets. It can be used alongside veterinary care to help with the treatment or long-term management of many musculoskeletal or neurological conditions and injuries. It can also be used for performance enhancement in our animal athletes and working pets to minimise injury risk whilst maximising performance. The aims of physiotherapy are to reduce pain, improve mobility and restore normal muscle control and function.
Here at Mercia Veterinary Surgery we have a fully qualified veterinary physiotherapist, Laura Winyard, who graduated from Harper Adams University in 2017 with a postgraduate diploma (PgD) in veterinary physiotherapy.
What happens during a consultation?
Our physiotherapist will make an initial assessment of your pet, which includes analysing his or her clinical history, observing how he or she moves and using palpation (hands on techniques) to assess muscle tone, mass and symmetry. These bits of information combined can build up a picture of why your pet moves as they do, why their posture may be different and whether there are any areas of discomfort. This enables our physiotherapist to put together a treatment plan to suit both you and your pet.
Treatments fall under the following categories:
- Manual therapies: massage, stretches, myofascial release and passive range of motion exercises.
- Electrotherapies: laser therapy, pulsed electromagnetic field therapy and ultrasound.
- Remedial exercise programmes: Tailored to suit the individual in order to help encourage correct movement patterns, improve muscle strength, endurance and suppleness, improve proprioception (the animal’s awareness of where it’s limbs and body are), balance and stability as required.
- Management advice: Making appropriate adaptations to the home environment, general management to help with your pet’s rehabilitation.
Our physiotherapist Laura is based mainly at our sister practice Melbourne Veterinary Centre in Cannock, however we are able to offer appointments at our Tamworth branch if access to Cannock proves difficult.
Treatment sessions last for around 60 minutes, and the majority of pets require around three concurrent sessions initially, and then maintenance treatments are arranged throughout the year. However this totally depends on your pet’s condition and progress.
Many insurance companies recognise the benefits of physiotherapy and will therefore often cover the cost of this treatment. Because of this we recommend getting in touch with your pets insurer before treatment to see if your policy will cover it.
If you are interested in arranging a physiotherapy assessment and treatment session for your pet please speak to your vet who will arrange referral to Laura. Or if you would like further information please contact the practice on 01827 54343.