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Physical Rehabilitation

Allandale Veterinary Hospital is pleased to offer Physical Rehabilitation services to Barrie and surrounding communities!

Physical rehabilitation is an ever evolving branch of veterinary medicine that is used to help our furry friends in a multitude of ways. We can help them to recover from orthopedic surgery, deal with arthritis, recover from a neurological disease, or even help with wound therapy. We have a variety of tools available to us to help your family member return to the life they enjoy.

We start all our rehabilitation patients off with a complete Rehabilitation Consultation prior to any rehab therapies. This allows us to identify any underlying causes, compensation issues, as well as the ability to tailor a rehabilitation program just for your family member.

Our Rehab Team will assist you and your companion on this journey with a combination of home therapies (land-based exercises or manual therapies), as well as a structured in-clinic rehab program. We will monitor your pet’s progress and make changes to their rehab program as they advance.

We also accept referrals! We will work closely with your family veterinarian when developing a rehab program for your pet as well as providing them with regular updates on your pet’s progress.

Services offered:

We offer hydrotherapy via an underwater treadmill. Water is a great low impact, muscle strengthening exercise that we can completely customize to your pet’s needs. The deeper the water, the more buoyant your pet is. This, in turn, reduces the load-bearing on painful joints and provides water resistance to help build muscle in a safe and controlled manner.

Laser therapy is an excellent pain management alternative. Laser therapy can help reduce pain, reduce inflammation, and stimulate healing. Laser therapy is a safe modality that can help to reduce the amount of pharmaceutical pain medications your pet needs.

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) can be injected into an arthritic joint, damaged ligament or tendon to help speed healing, reduce pain, and reduce inflammation. It is a relatively painless and quick procedure performed by an orthopedic veterinarian, but does often require sedation to keep your pet from moving during it.

Targeted Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy (tPEMF) is another pain management alternative. We offer tPEMF through a product called the Assisi Loop/Lounge. This prescription device can be purchased and used for in-home treatments. It helps to reduce pain and inflammation as well as stimulate healing.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is another method of managing pain and stimulating muscles. This modality does not build muscle, but if used correctly, can help manage pain and prevent muscle wasting in pets that are not mobile or have reduced mobility.

Massage helps to manage pain, reduce inflammation, reduce muscle spasm, and is great for relaxation! We provide both targeted and whole body massage options for your pet.

Manual therapies include passive range of motion and stretching exercises for your pet. These help to maintain joint range of motion, prevent muscle/joint stiffness, and help to maintain and improve joint health.

Therapeutic exercises are controlled and targeted exercises that can be done in clinic or at home. They are often fun and challenging for your pet! They can include using cavaletti rails, balance disks and other pieces of equipment, or just encouraging your pet to do certain actions or positions to target particular muscle groups or joints.

Thermotherapies, such as hot and cold, while sounding simple, are very important aspects of physical rehabilitation. When used in the appropriate manner, they can help relieve muscle spasm, reduce swelling, and increase the extensibility of tissues.

Weight loss is often a component to physical rehabilitation. We work with you and your veterinarian to develop a complete weight loss program consisting of a combination of diet and exercise.

During the colder months dogs (and people) tend to be less active due to the cold or icy conditions. We offer a Winter Fit program to help keep pets active and conditioned in the winter months when they are less inclined to go outside.

    Meet your Rehab Team!

    Dr. Rebecca Keeffe, M.V.B., C.C.R.T. (pending)

    • Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine
    • Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist (pending)

    Samantha Forrest, R.V.T., C.C.R.P.

    • Registered Veterinary Technician
    • Ontario College Graduate Certificate in Companion Animal Physical Rehabilitation
    • Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner

    Jocelyne Vasquez, R.V.T.

    • Registered Veterinary Technician
    • Ontario College Graduate Certificate in Companion Animal Physical Rehabilitation

    Kali McGean, Rehabilitation Assistant

      If you are interested in bringing your pet in for physical rehabilitation or if you have any questions about it, please do not hesitate to call the clinic and speak to the Rehab Team today!

      If your dog is suffering from decreased mobility and requires help to get around, a full-body harness that supports both the chest and the pelvis is a must have!

      Whether they are arthritic, recovering from orthopedic surgery, or have neurological deficits; this type of harness will make it much more comfortable for both you and your dog when you are aiding them in their mobility.

      When choosing a full-body harness, here are some things to consider:

      • Comfort and padding:
        • There is the potential to use this harness and lift your dog entirely! We want it well-padded so it doesn’t dig into any soft areas
      • Stays in place:
        • It can be quite difficult to have just a pelvic support harness that will stay in place. It is often paired with a chest harness and linked together to ensure it stays in the proper position
      • Pelvic support, NOT abdominal:
        • Choose a harness that supports at the pelvis. It is much more comfortable for your dog when assisting them by applying the lift pressure at the pelvis instead of the over the soft abdomen
      • Male adaptations:
        • For male dogs, choose a harness that can accommodate the male anatomy. This will make it much easier for you when taking him out for bathroom breaks and more comfortable for your dog too
      • Ergonomic design:
        • Choose a harness that will help YOU, to help your dog
      • Comfortable handles or straps make it much more user friendly

      How does a full-body support harness help you, help your dog?

      • Getting into/out of vehicles
      • Going up/down stairs or ramps
      • Walking on slippery floors (i.e. hardwood, tile, linoleum)
      • Helping them rise from sitting or lying down

      Common conditions that a full-body harness is used for:

      • Post-op surgery or the conservative management of orthopedic conditions (i.e. cruciate ligament repair, total hip replacement, patellar luxation repair, fractures, etc.)
      • Geriatric dogs
      • Arthritis
      • Neurological conditions (i.e. IVDD, FCE, etc.)

      Contact the Rehab Team today to discuss full-body harness options for your dog!

      Allandale Veterinary Hospital’s Rehab Department is proud to launch a new and interactive Home Exercise Program!

      We have partnered with PhysioTec, an online database chock-full of instructional videos to make your Home Exercise Program a fully interactive experience.

      Once we register you for an account, we’ll select a fully individualized therapeutic exercise program for you and your pet based on their abilities and exercise goals. These exercises will include written instructions and videos on how to do each specific exercise. It also allows you to track your progress in the program and upload feedback of the exercises right to us at the clinic!

      If your dog is having some challenges with their mobility, recovering from an orthopedic surgery, suffering from a neurological condition, or if you’re just interested in some fun and targeted exercises you can do with them at home; call the Rehab Department today to set up an initial consult!

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