Tag Archive for: physiotherapy

Physiotherapy is one of the recovery therapies that can bring the most benefits when there is an injury. But not just humans. Physiotherapy for dogs is also recommended so that these animals can improve their pathologies. In addition, in many cases, it gives them the extra point they lack to be able to recover completely.

The most appropriate physiotherapy technique for a dog will be different depending on the pathology it has. Among the main ones are, in addition to the classic manual therapy, there is the laser, water baths, magnetotherapy, electrical stimulation or therapy through the application of heat. But when is it necessary to use it?

When to use physiotherapy in dogs

Generally, physiotherapy in dogs is usually quite beneficial for animals that have undergone an operation. Especially, in those who have gone through an operation related to the bones, either of the limbs or of the spine. Generally, it is only necessary to apply it to adult dogs, since puppies usually recover quickly from their ailments.

Also for animals that have lost muscle mass noticeably in the joints of the legs. And also of the dogs that are getting older, more likely to suffer ailments and pains than the younger animals.

With physical therapy, which began to become popular about a decade ago, dogs can speed up recovery from an operation or their injuries. Also relieve chronic pathologies or wear and tear associated with age.

Thanks to different techniques, dogs that receive physiotherapy will be able to relieve their pains and see how the inflammation of their joints and areas affected by diseases is reduced . It will also improve the flexibility of the muscles and reduce the degree of atrophy of ligaments and tendons. And you’ll also see your recovery period shorten by about 30%.

Perro con veterinario

What are the physiotherapy sessions like for dogs?

Physiotherapy sessions for dogs are different depending on the type of treatment that should be applied to them. But in general, they follow common guidelines. Usually, each session lasts between 30-40 minutes and an hour. And depending on the condition of the animal and the estimated duration of treatment, it will have to receive sessions two or three times a week.

In addition to receiving therapy in the consultation of a specialist in canine physiotherapy, animals can also receive manual physiotherapy at home through massages. These sessions can be given by their owner, provided that they have previously received instructions to do so.

This option is the most indicated in case the dog needs a continuous treatment due to the physical wear and tear associated with age. Or when you do not allow the person who is going to apply the treatment to manipulate the area where you feel pain.

To try to avoid the latter, however, it is important that the owner of the dog is present when physiotherapy sessions are applied to the animal. This way you will have more confidence, be more relaxed, and block less access to the area where you feel pain.

Animal physiotherapy is a group of therapies and techniques that help us accelerate the rehabilitation of our friends. Recommended for a wide variety of injuries and pathologies, it is becoming a great ally for recovery.

What is physiotherapy for animals

As for humans, physiotherapy for animals is a technique that serves both for the prevention of injuries and for the rehabilitation of them. In addition, due to the wide variety of options, it is able to treat different musculoskeletal pathologies.

It has been shown that physiotherapy in animals is able to cure various conditions. With the reduction of pain, inflammation and swelling, the body is more prepared to rebuild muscle strength and thus regain lost mobility. The recovery process is reduced when these therapies are used.

Physiotherapy for animals is aimed at three different categories. On the one hand, small animals, such as dogs and cats. Secondly, large animals, such as horses. Finally, exotic animals, such as those who participate in circuses or who live locked up in zoos, in which their physical condition is seriously damaged.

Benefits of physiotherapy for animals

Physiotherapy for animals should be carried out when indicated by a veterinarian. It is a complementary therapy that needs to be supervised. Some of the benefits obtained with this treatment are the following:

  • Improved quality of life when mobility has been lost due to some type of injury or degenerative disease

  • Slowing down of the processes that damage and degenerate the musculature and bone structure of the animal. Also helps treat muscle spasms

  • Increased performance and improved treatment for musculoskeletal injuries

  • Improved energy and vitality

  • Reduction of pain in muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints that have suffered ruptures and optimization of fracture repair

fisioterapia para animales

How are the physiotherapy sessions in animals

Physiotherapy in animals covers different treatments. The duration of these sessions is between an hour and an hour and a half depending on the technique used. These can be passive or active depending on the objective we have.

One of the techniques used is massage. In addition to reducing muscle tension and pain, endorphins are released and stress is reduced. Physiotherapy in animals not only improves physical condition, but also helps the emotional picture.

Hydrotherapy is also very common for those animals with joint problems. Since in water we do not carry the weight of the body, this type of physiotherapy for animals is indicated for those whose muscles or bone structure is weakened. The rehabilitator will be in charge of assessing the modality of the swim, the intensity and the time.

Laser therapy or ultrasound are also very often used for the treatment of pathologies. The intensity and depth at which you work will always depend on the degree of the disease and should always be supervised by a rehabilitator.

Physiotherapy for animals as part of rehabilitation can greatly improve our friend’s recovery process. In our store, you can find massagers and hot and cold therapies that will help you achieve these goals.

A dog’s ability to move and perform its daily activities depends on the ability of the brain, spine, nerves, and muscles to coordinate together.

This complex communication system exchanges information when nerves in the brain send messages to the body about the outside environment, and the body sends messages to the brain about what it is experiencing in the environment. These messages are transmitted through nerves in the spinal cord, which are embedded in the spine or spine. Together, the nerves of the brain and spinal cord make up the central nervous system. Trauma to any part of the nerve pathways can lead to poor communication, or a total lack of communication between the brain and the body, leading to an inability to coordinate body movements.

Silla de ruedas para perro

The spine is made up of a set of 24 bones called vertebrae, which are separated from each other by small cushions called intervertebral discs. Together, the vertebrae and intervertebral discs protect the spine from damage. Trauma to the vertebrae or discs can create vulnerability in the nerves of the spinal cord, leading to new disorders to the neural pathway.

When a dog experiences paralysis, it is often because communication between the spinal cord and the brain has been disrupted. In some cases, the dog is not able to move its legs, a state of total paralysis, and in other cases, there may still be some communication between the brain and the spine, and the dog will only appear weak or have difficulty moving its legs, a condition known as: partial paralysis. There are also cases where a dog may be paralyzed on all four legs (quadriplegia), and in others, the dog may be able to control movement in some of its legs, but not all. This is determined by the location of the trauma, occurring in the brain, spine, nerves or muscles.

Some breeds are more prone than others. Dogs that are close to the ground with elongated backs, such as dachshunds and bassets, are commonly affected by ruptured vertebral discs by putting pressure on the spinal cord, a condition known as intervertebral disc disease. Some breeds are genetically predisposed to a condition called degenerative myelopathy (MD), a disease that attacks nerves on the backs of older dogs (more than seven years old). It is a slow action, a progressive disorder that eventually leads to paralysis of the hind legs. Breeds affected by this disease are the Welsh corgi, boxer, German shepherd, Chesapeake Bay retriever, and Irish setter.


  • Not able to move all four legs (quadriplegia)
  • Not able to move the hind legs (paraplegia)
  • Walks with front legs while dragging hind legs
  • There may be pain in the neck, spine, or legs
  • Can’t urinate
  • Not able to control urination, urine dripping
  • Not able to control defecation
  • Constipation


  • Canine degenerative myelopathy (MD) – related to the gene of German shepherd, boxer, Welsh corgi, Chesapeake Bay retriever, ages 7-14 years; the cause is unknown
  • Slippage of the discs in the back – intervertebral disc disease
  • Spondylodiscitis – bacterial or viral infection in the bones of the spine (vertebrae)
  • Infection or inflammation of the spine
  • Distemper
  • Meningomyelitis – viral or bacterial infection of the brain, leading to poor communication of nerve impulses
  • Polymyositis – infection or inflammation in the muscles
  • Polyneuritis – inflammation of the nerves
  • Embolism – obstruction of blood flow to the spine
  • Aortic embolism – obstruction of blood flow to the back legs
  • Tumors or cancer in the spine or brain
  • Tick paralysis as a result of tick bites
  • Rocky Mountain Fever
  • Botulism – bacterial toxins
  • Myasthenia Gravis – severe muscle weakness
  • Fibrocartilaginous embolism the fluid inside an injured disc enters the arterial system and settles in the spinal cord, creating a permanent embolism, or blockage, is irreversible, but not progressive.
  • Hypothyroidism – Low thyroid level
  • Spinal injury
  • Malformation of the spine or vertebrae


You will need to give a complete history of your dog’s health, the onset of symptoms and possible incidences that may have led to this condition, such as tick bites, or recent injuries from jumping or falling. During the physical exam, your veterinarian will pay close attention to how well your dog is able to move his legs, and how well he is able to respond to reflex tests. The veterinarian will also test your dog’s ability to feel pain on all four legs, control of the head, spine, and legs for signs of pain and alertness to the touch.Perro atropellado y rescatado por perrera de barcelona

All of these things will help your veterinarian locate the place in your dog’s spine, where nerves or muscles are having problems. Basic laboratory tests include a complete blood count, a biochemical profile and a urinalysis, which can determine if your dog has a bacterial infection, a virus or a toxin reaction, which is interfering with nerve pathways. X-ray images of the spine can show evidence of an infection, a malformation of the vertebrae, or a herniated disc that is pressing against the spinal cord. Other conditions that can lead to disruption of nerve pathways may be evident on an X-ray, such as tumors, obstructions, or inflamed nerves.

In some cases, your veterinarian may order a special X-ray called a myelogram. This process uses an injection with a contrast agent (dye) into the spine, followed by X-ray images that will allow the doctor to see the spinal cord and vertebrae in more detail. If these imaging techniques aren’t helpful, your veterinarian may order a computed tomography (CT) scan, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of your dog’s brain and spine, both of which provide a very detailed picture. In some cases, your veterinarian may take a sample of the fluid around the spine, for analysis, or sample of the muscles or nerve fibers for a biopsy. These tests can determine the presence of an infection in the brain or spine.


The course of treatment will depend on the cause of the paralysis. If your dog is unable to walk, urinate, or defecate on his own, he will most likely be admitted to the hospital while his veterinarian will work to deliver a diagnosis. From there your veterinarian will track your dog’s recovery and progress. If your dog is in pain, he will be given medication to help control the pain, the bladder is emptied several times a day by catheter, and your dog will be physically moved to make sure he doesn’t get ulcers from staying in one place for too long. There are several products that will help you spend time still without getting damaged, such as mattresses. If the cause of the paralysis is an infection or a herniated disc, the condition will be treated with either medication, surgery, or therapy. Anti-inflammatory drugs that may be natural and specific such as imflamex will be used to reduce inflammation of the nerves. Tumors or blockages of blood flow can be repaired surgically, depending on the vulnerability of the location. Some paralyzed dogs recover very quickly. Depending on the severity of the illness, your dog may stay in the hospital until he is able to walk, or your veterinarian will decide to send your dog home with a guide to provide care and recovery at home. Your veterinarian will establish a plan to review the progress of your dog’s treatment and adjust it accordingly.

life and a lot!

perro-rodilla-en-la-calleYour veterinarian will help you make a plan for your dog’s care at home. Occasionally, the dog may resist care due to pain, but assertive and gentle care will help decrease fear reactions.

It is important that you take care of your dog properly so that he can fully recover. Carefully follow all instructions from your veterinarian. If your veterinarian has prescribed medication, be sure to administer all treatment, even after your dog appears to have fully recovered. In most cases, a canine wheelchair can be of great help, either for the rehabilitation process or as a simple means of transporting the immobile part of the animal. Most wheelchair dogs adapt very well and continue to enjoy their life.


Ayudas para perros con artrosis


At Ortocanis we work to improve the lives of dogs with mobility problems, that includes dogs with some permanent physical disability as well as dogs that need rehabilitation. Marta Subirats, our collaborator, tells you about the rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament.

Of the four ligaments that make up the dog’s knee, rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament is one of the most common pathologies and the most frequent cause of secondary degenerative osteoarthritis in the knee joint. The functions of the cranial cruciate ligament are to limit internal rotation of the tibia and cranial displacement of the tibia relative to the femur and to prevent hyperextension of the knee.

protector-rodilla-perro (1)If your dog appears with an acute limp, does not want to put his paw on the ground, or seems to take a few steps and shrinks it, and his knee swells, it is possible that his anterior cruciate ligament is affected.

There is a predisposition in certain dogs to suffer this injury. On the one hand we find small-medium sized dogs (breed or not) with short legs and generally overweight and, on the other hand, large and giant breeds that, due to their morphology, have a tendency to suffer injuries to their ligaments. Among the latter we find the Labrador, Rottweiler, Neapolitan Mastiff, Boxer, etc. In any case, this is not a rule and any dog can have a ligament injury throughout his life.

Apart from the breeds mentioned, there are other factors such as being overweight, sedentary lifestyle, endocrine disorders, sports dogs that do not warm up properly, stairs, sudden climbs to the sofa or the car, or activities that subject the ligaments to micro-trauma and that finally end up damaging them with partial damage or total breakage.

There are two types of treatment, conservative and surgical, whether one or the other is chosen, the animal must carry out a correct recovery of that knee so that it becomes functional again and thus avoid recurrences.

The goals of recovery are to decrease pain, swelling, and lameness, to regain full mobility, muscle mass and strength, and control over the joint.

Physiotherapy varies depending on the animal and the type of treatment, conservative or surgical and, in the case of surgery, the type of intervention. There are surgeries that require more rest and stabilization than others. The recovery process is considered complete when the animal is able to perform daily activities and its knee is able to receive loads and movement without risk of re-injury.

It is important that your pet receives rehabilitation treatment by trained professionals who will choose the best techniques for a quick and effective recovery. Among the most used therapies to treat a crusader problem we find: massages, mobilizations, therapy with currents, ultrasounds, laser, aquatic therapy, balance and coordination training therapy.

During the recovery period it is important that:

– Take your pet on a leash during walks and avoid sudden departures towards other dogs and changes of pace, especially at the beginning of recovery. Your veterinarian or therapist will modify the intensity of the activity as the recovery period progresses.

– Keep the dog off slippery floors. A common cause is recurrence of the ligament tear accompanied by medial meniscus injury.

– Avoid ramps and stairs at the beginning of treatment in operated animals and in animals undergoing conservative treatment. Once rehabilitated, ramps can be used to help get on the sofa and in the car, since it is recommended that they do not do it alone, there could be a recurrence.

– It is recommended that they rest on soft and clean surfaces, but that they are firm enough to help the incorporation of the animal special mattress for dogs

– Keep the skin clean and dry.

– Correct diet and weight control. Being overweight harms the joints and generates moreprotector-rodilla-canina-perro articulada pain for the animal

During recovery or in those animals in which knee instability may arise, the use of a hinged knee orthosis can benefit you and prevent recurrence or possible complications.

Knee orthoses can be used in cases where surgery is not possible or there is some impediment to perform it. These splints, designed exclusively for knee problems, allow progressively increasing degrees of flexion-extension while limiting unwanted movements, providing stability throughout the recovery.

Marta Subirats

Ortocanis physiotherapy technique