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Common Conditions Treated With Animal Physiotherapy

Image of a veterinarian treating a dog with physiotherapy equipment. Alt text: "Veterinarian treating a dog with physiotherapy equipment to help with common conditions."

Introduction to Animal Physiotherapy

Animal physiotherapy is a vital aspect of veterinary care that focuses on the prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of various conditions in animals. By employing different techniques and modalities, animal physiotherapists aim to restore movement, reduce pain, and enhance the overall quality of life for pets. This article explores some of the most common conditions treated with animal physiotherapy.

Orthopaedic Conditions

  1. Arthritis: Arthritis is a common degenerative joint disease that affects many pets, especially as they age. Physiotherapy helps manage arthritis by reducing inflammation, improving joint mobility, and alleviating pain through a combination of exercises, manual therapy, and complementary treatments such as hydrotherapy and laser therapy.
  2. Hip Dysplasia: This hereditary condition affects the hip joints in dogs and can lead to chronic pain and mobility issues. Animal physiotherapy can play a significant role in managing hip dysplasia, focusing on strengthening the surrounding muscles, improving range of motion, and promoting pain relief.
  3. Cruciate Ligament Injuries: A tear in the cruciate ligament is a common injury in dogs, often requiring surgical intervention. Post-operative physiotherapy is essential in the recovery process, helping to restore joint function, minimise muscle atrophy, and prevent future injuries.

Neurological Conditions

  1. Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD): IVDD is a painful condition that affects the spinal discs in pets, causing nerve compression and potentially leading to paralysis. Animal physiotherapy plays a crucial role in the management of IVDD by improving nerve function, strengthening supporting muscles, and promoting overall mobility.
  2. Stroke: A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is disrupted, leading to various neurological issues. Animal physiotherapy can assist in stroke recovery by helping to retrain the nervous system, improve muscle function, and restore balance and coordination.

Muscle and Soft Tissue Injuries

  1. Tendon Injuries: Injuries to tendons, such as strains or ruptures, can significantly impact a pet’s mobility. Physiotherapy treatments, including therapeutic ultrasound and manual therapy, can aid in tendon healing, reduce inflammation, and restore joint function.
  2. Muscle Strains: Overexertion or trauma can lead to muscle strains in pets. Animal physiotherapists utilise massage techniques, stretching, and strengthening exercises to alleviate pain, improve muscle flexibility, and speed up recovery.

Post-operative Rehabilitation

  1. Orthopaedic Surgeries: Following surgeries such as joint replacements or fracture repair, pets benefit from tailored physiotherapy programmes. These programmes help restore joint mobility, regain muscle strength, and prevent complications associated with immobility.
  2. Neurological Surgeries: Pets recovering from neurological surgeries, such as spinal decompression, also benefit from physiotherapy. The focus lies in improving nerve function, muscle strength, and balance to promote a successful recovery.

Weight Management and Geriatric Care

  1. Obesity: Overweight pets are at higher risk for numerous health problems, including joint pain and cardiovascular issues. Animal physiotherapists can create personalised exercise programmes to help pets shed excess weight and improve their overall wellbeing.
  2. Geriatric Care: As pets age, they often face challenges such as reduced mobility and pain from chronic conditions. Physiotherapy plays an essential role in geriatric care by providing gentle exercises and treatments that maintain joint health, alleviate pain, and enhance overall quality of life.


Animal physiotherapy offers a multitude of benefits for pets suffering from various conditions, including orthopaedic, neurological, and muscular issues. By working closely with veterinary professionals and animal physiotherapists, pet owners can ensure their beloved companions receive the best possible care, tailored to their individual needs. Through targeted exercises, manual therapy, and complementary treatments, physiotherapy can significantly improve the quality of life and overall wellbeing of animals, from young pets to seniors. Stay proactive and consult with a qualified animal physiotherapist if you suspect your pet might benefit from this valuable form of veterinary care.


Dr. Sara Lam

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