Physiotherapy for Animals

Animals, like humans, are living, moving creatures prone to injuries, illnesses and diseases that can benefit from physiotherapy intervention.

The animal patient (equine, canine or feline), whether it is used for sport or not, is also subject to degenerative changes that affect its neuromusculoskeletal system.

The horse is an athlete regardless of of whether he is used for light hack work or top level competition. The same can be said for one's canine friend who is taken on long walks and/ runs or is used in canine sports.

Routine maintenance of the horse and sport dog's neuromuscular and musculoskeletal systems will help to ensure peak condition.

Physiotherapy should be regarded as an essential adjunct to veterinary medicine. The physiotherapist relies on a sound veterinary diagnosis in order to carry out correct treatment for a particular condition. Treatment in the early stages of an injury is most beneficial for the owner, horse and rider. Thus, prompt referral from the veterinary surgeon to the physiotherapist is recommended.

Examples of conditions treated:

  • pain ( neural; musculoskeletal)
  • muscle, tendon and ligament injuries
  • nerve injuries ( spinal and peripheral)
  • degenerative joint diseases incl. arthritic conditions
  • post operative orthopaedic and neurological rehabilitation
  • equestrian sports conditioning and maintenance (pre- and post competition)

Why does my horse need Physiotherapy?

Animals have no way of telling us where their pain is or if they have an injury. More often than not, they tend to hide their discomfort.

Behavioural problems, schooling issues and poor performance can be caused by pain, muscle weakness, neurological pathology or joint stiffness. Your horse may also have suffered a direct trauma/injury and may need rehabilitation to assist with return to its previous work or workload.

From and evolutionary point of view, horses are being asked to do far more than one could have expected of them and the pressure on both the rider and horse to perform at peak levels is always on the increase. It is, therefore ,not surprising that the injuries do occur. Any degree of pain and/ discomfort can inhibit the horse's performance.

Physiotherapy aims to restore flexibility and normal range of movement in the muscles and joints where movement is either restricted and/ painful. The biomechanical balance needs to be restored and maitained and can be done so with physiotherapy, if used correctly and at the right time. The aim is to restore and maintain health and fitness, to restore soundness and regain or improve performance.
This is done by reducing pain and discomfort and improving mobility.


Why does my dog need need physio?

Although many people have had physotherapy at some point in their lives, the idea of it being available to their pets may be quite novel.

Many dogs suffer from fractures, soft tissue & other other injuries due to falls, car accidents and other mishaps.

The sporting or working dog should be viewed as an elite athlete & should be given every opportunity to reach the optimum level of performance withoutpain or discomfort.

Physiotherapy has a role in reducing pain, enhancing or restoring movement following injury or operation and also in the prevention of pain, improvment of strength and endurance as well as in the reduction of performance problems.

Dogs suffering from spinal conditions such as spondylosis, those plagued by congenital disorders such as hip dysplasia and degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis can benefit greatly from physiotherapy intervention.


Why does my cat need physio?

It is not common to hear of someone's cat being treated for an injury or a condition by a physiotherapist, but why not?

Cats are plagued by musculoskeletal problems just like humans, horses and dogs! All animals respond well to the gentle, non-invasive approach of physiotherapy.

Cats with congenital and degenerative spinal and orthopaedic conditions as well as those who have suffered injuries due to accidents, respond well to physiotherapy and rehabilitation as the principles and benefits of treatment remain the same.