What is physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy for animals has become increasingly popular in recent years. Physiotherapy is an umbrella term for many types of treatment including: massage, exercise, hydrotherapy, acupuncture and laser treatment.
Here at Okeford, we offer massage and targeted exercise programmes working closely with a mobile physiotherapist. Gill Hayes owns Moor2Sea, a mobile business treating small animals, horses, people and occasionally sheep and goats. She first qualified with a BSc in physiotherapy from Oxford Brookes University and then worked in both the NHS and private practice for 3 years. She also did a two year post-graduate degree in Veterinary Physiotherapy at the Royal Veterinary College in Hertfordshire.
Will physiotherapy help my pet?
Patients commonly referred for physiotherapy would be those recovering from orthopaedic surgery and from soft tissue injuries. This can range from a mild muscle strain that occurred after a strenuous walk to complicated joint repair. Additionally, we see many dogs and cats suffering from arthritis type ailments. While physiotherapy cannot eradicate arthritis, it can ease discomfort and help keep joints mobile and functional for much longer.
Any surgery can lead to discomfort that can be alleviated through massage and directed exercise and we have seen patients afflicted with cancer benefiting from the palliative advantages of massage and range of movement exercises. On the other end of the spectrum, growing dogs can benefit from specific exercise programmes that help build major muscle groups and prevent any bad habits. Canine athletes, such as agility dogs, can utilize physiotherapy to prevent injury and help extend their sporting career.
If clients feel their pets would benefit from physiotherapy, they should contact a vet at the practice or discuss the issue at a health check. In some cases, a vet will refer a patient for physiotherapy following surgery or a medication check for arthritis treatment.
What will happen?
Initially a patient will come for an evaluation and full massage and will go home with an exercise programme that has been devised for the patient’s specific needs. Most patients will attend three physiotherapy sessions and then visit the vet for a reassessment. At this point, a patient will either be discharged or moved onto a maintenance programme for massage therapy and exercise. Patients with chronic problems may continue to see the nurse for treatment for extended periods of time.
Costs and insurance
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 Gill or if you would like further information please contact the practice on 01647 432488 or 01837 52148.