The Benefits of Manual Therapy for Pets

A picture of a pet receiving manual therapy with the caption "The Benefits of Manual Therapy for Pets"

Manual therapy is a collection of hands-on techniques used to assess, diagnose, and treat various musculoskeletal and soft tissue conditions in pets. It has become an increasingly popular component of veterinary rehabilitation, offering a holistic and non-invasive approach to improving the well-being of our furry friends. In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of manual therapy for pets and how these techniques can aid in recovery, pain management, and overall quality of life.

What is Manual Therapy?

Manual therapy encompasses a range of hands-on techniques that a qualified animal therapist uses to manipulate, mobilise, and massage your pet’s joints, muscles, and soft tissues. The primary goal of manual therapy is to restore normal joint and soft tissue function, alleviate pain, and promote healing. Some common techniques used in manual therapy include:

  • Joint mobilisations
  • Soft tissue mobilisations
  • Myofascial release
  • Trigger point therapy
  • Massage

The Benefits of Manual Therapy for Pets

  1. Pain Relief: One of the primary benefits of manual therapy is its ability to provide pain relief. The techniques used in manual therapy help to reduce inflammation, improve blood flow, and release tension in the muscles and soft tissues, ultimately reducing discomfort and pain levels in pets.
  2. Increased Mobility and Flexibility: Manual therapy can help to improve joint mobility and flexibility by gently stretching and mobilising the affected areas. This can be particularly beneficial for pets suffering from arthritis or recovering from surgery or injury.
  3. Muscle Relaxation: Through targeted massage and soft tissue mobilisation, manual therapy helps to release tension and tightness in the muscles. This relaxation not only alleviates pain but also improves your pet’s overall comfort and movement.
  4. Improved Circulation: The hands-on techniques used in manual therapy help to stimulate blood flow and promote better circulation throughout your pet’s body. Improved circulation aids in the delivery of essential nutrients and oxygen to injured or affected areas, supporting more efficient healing.
  5. Enhanced Recovery: Manual therapy can play a crucial role in your pet’s recovery from injury, surgery, or chronic conditions. By addressing underlying issues such as pain, inflammation, and mobility restrictions, manual therapy can help to improve the overall healing process and reduce the risk of re-injury.
  6. Reduced Anxiety and Stress: Many pets find manual therapy relaxing, which can contribute to reduced anxiety and stress levels. The calming touch of a trained therapist can provide emotional support and help your pet feel more at ease during their recovery process.
  7. Complementary to Other Treatments: Manual therapy is often used alongside other rehabilitation techniques such as hydrotherapy, laser therapy, and therapeutic exercises. By combining these different modalities, a more comprehensive and holistic treatment plan can be created to support your pet’s recovery.

Finding a Qualified Animal Therapist

To ensure the safety and effectiveness of manual therapy for your pet, it is essential to work with a qualified animal therapist. This can be a veterinarian with a special interest in rehabilitation or a certified animal physical therapist. These professionals have undergone specialised training in manual therapy techniques and understand the unique needs of your pet.


Manual therapy offers a variety of benefits for pets, ranging from pain relief to improved mobility and enhanced recovery. When performed by a qualified animal therapist, these hands-on techniques can be a valuable addition to your pet’s overall care plan. Always consult with your veterinarian or an animal rehabilitation specialist to determine if manual therapy is appropriate for your pet and to discuss the best course of action to support their health and well-being.


Dr. Sara Lam

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