May 18, 2022

Post-op Rehab

You wouldn’t expect your granny to have a hip replacement and not have rehab from a physiotherapist. Nor would you expect a young football player to have a cruciate repair and not have physiotherapy rehabilitation. So for your dog, cat, rabbit or other pet to optimise success after an operation use Physiotherapy post-op Rehab by an ACPAT  Veterinary Physiotherapist.

ACPAT Veterinary Physiotherapists are trained in post-op rehabilitation for animals whether that be an operationon their leg or back or any other operation that affects their movement/strength.
Each case is unique and receives an assessment before any treatment is applied. Physiotherapy is not prescriptive; we use information from assessment, vets and owners to clinically reason with our knowledge on tissue healing, surgical procedures and biomechanics to devise a bespoke rehab program for that animal.

The aims of physio rehab after an operation are:

a) reduce pain and improve relaxation and coping
b) promote healing
c) promote controlled functional use of the limb/s
d) prevent compensatory stresses on the musculoskeletal system
e) provide advice to the owner.

This quote epitomises physio rehab: “Knowledge of the stages of tissue healing and of the strength of tissues is critical to avoid placing too much stress on the surgical site, yet some challenge to tissues must be provided to optimize the return to function. “ (Davidson et al 2005) (ref) .

Physio is more successful as the first resort not the last resort – it is easier to prevent lack of use and tissue restrictions than to try to reverse them.

Research (ref) by vets and physiotherapists has shown that early formalised physiotherapy intervention, as part of the postoperative management, can improve limb function, prevent muscle atrophy, build muscle mass and strength, and increase joint range of movement.

Cat physiotherapy

Depending on the outcome of the detailed assessment some of the treatments in the days following surgery may include: cold therapy, gentle range of movement exercises, controlled standing exercises to encourage expected weight bearing status of the limb/s, proprioceptive exercises and a detailed home management program. All of this is highly controlled and relevant parts taught to owners to continue as a daily rehabilitatin program.

Mid to latter stages of physio include pulsed magnetic therapy, transition exercises, progression in proprioception exercises; gradual exercise increase on lead incorporating changes in terrain and controlled speed as rehab progresses. All the time checking the pet is not compensating and overloading other structures.

The highly specialised operation done by your vet is complemented by professional rehabilitation to bring your pet back to full form in the best way possible.

I am quite happy to talk with you and your vet about the process and during the rehabilitation your vet receives regular reports of progress.