Animal Physical Therapy

Injured animals are often treated with physical therapy to improve their overall well-being. It helps rehabilitate the animal after an injury.
People suffering from various injuries are often advised to visit a physical therapist. For years it has been a common knowledge, that physical therapy is helpful in decreasing the discomfort associated with injuries. The same is applicable to animals, especially to dogs, horses and cats. Injured animals require a number of treatment plans to recover, one of which is animal physical therapy.

Animal physical therapy is a developing field and an integral part of animal health care. It helps improve the lives of animals. Physical therapy has been extremely beneficial for humans. Recently, veterinarians found that physical therapy can also help animals recover from injuries. This was a major breakthrough in health care for animals. Even conditions like arthritis, chronic pain and neurological symptoms observed in animals, can be effectively treated using physical therapy. Obese and overweight animals are often treated with physical therapy to assist in weight loss.

The main advantage of this therapy, is that it speeds up the healing process. No wonder, performing a surgery on an injured animal and discharging the patient without any physical therapy has now become an outdated approach.


A physical therapy program for animals can increase the success rate of any surgery. Post surgical management with physical therapy can expedite a successful recovery of the injured animal. The most important benefit is that it helps to decrease pain in the injured parts. If the joints are affected, then physical therapy will help restore the normal movement of the injured tissue. In some cases, limbs become paralyzed due to a severe injury.

Physical therapy done on paralyzed or weak limbs, effectively prevents soft tissue contracture. It also plays a crucial role in strengthening and improving the function of weak or injured limbs. A neurologic or an orthopedic injury, often limits the mobility of the animal. This can be treated effectively by using animal physical therapy that is carried out by a licensed physical therapist who is specialized in the treatment of animals. You must verify the credentials and experience of the therapist, before hiring him for the job.

Animal Physical Therapy School

This is the place where veterinarians and even pet owners can learn various procedures and modalities involved in this therapy. Some of the physical therapeutic modalities that are taught in these schools are as follows:

  • Massage therapy
  • Acupressure
  • Acupuncture
  • Ultrasound therapy
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Hot or cold therapy
  • Strengthening exercises

Some of these techniques are taught in various veterinary colleges. Others are performed only by trained therapists. On the whole, animals suffering from chronic pain respond quite well to this form of physical therapy and one can expect their quality of life to improve.