Veterinary physiotherapy began in the equine sector in the 1960's due to the growth in popularity of horse related sporting events. As the events became more frequent so did the volume of injuries. Horse owners began to look into rehab methods adapted from the human field to help their horses.
Due to advances in veterinary surgery, dogs are now receiving far more complicated surgeries than in the past. Alongside this significant nutritional and medical advancements have led to a dramatic increase in canine life expectancy. This has led to a greater interest in physiotherapy techniques as dog owners are wanting to help improve post-surgery recovery and hope to maintain their pets quality of life for as long as possible.
Physiotherapy can be used to relieve pain, restore function and improve performance. Unlike a vet who mainly concentrates on the patho-anatomical diagnosis, veterinary physiotherapists are trained to focus on the assessment and management of a patient’s function. Physiotherapists use physical interventions such as exercise prescription, electrotherapies, manual therapies and gait retraining, along with education and advice to restore function and quality of life to the animal. Selection of the appropriate combination of techniques is based on clinical reasoning and evidence available.
Physiotherapy should not be used as a substitute for veterinary medicine but a valuable complementary therapy and therefore this is why it is important for us physiotherapists to have obtained veterinary consent before treating your beloved animals.
In addition to the vet, I feel it is essential for your therapist(s), instructor, farrier, saddle fitter, dentist, agility trainer etc. to work together for best results. As such, I am more than happy to attend joint consultations with other professionals.
Please make sure than any 'back person' or therapist treating your animal is suitably qualified and insured and is working legally. Don't be afraid to ask questions - anyone treating your animals should be able to answer any queries you have.