What are proprioception exercises
Conditions and symptoms benefiting from proprioception exercises
Proprioception exercises offer numerous benefits for dogs and cats experiencing a range of symptoms and conditions. At RehabVet Clinic, our team uses these exercises to address the following issues:
- Post-surgical recovery: Proprioception exercises aid in the healing process after surgery, helping pets regain mobility and strength.
- Arthritis management: These exercises improve joint function, reduce pain, and enhance the quality of life for pets with arthritis.
- Neurological conditions: Pets with conditions such as intervertebral disc disease or degenerative myelopathy can benefit from proprioception exercises to regain coordination and balance.
- Muscle weakness or atrophy: Targeted exercises help to strengthen weakened muscles and prevent muscle loss due to disuse or injury.
- Sports conditioning: Active pets participating in agility, flyball, or other sports can benefit from proprioception exercises to improve performance and prevent injuries.
- Geriatric pets: Older pets experiencing age-related mobility issues can benefit from proprioception exercises to maintain strength, balance, and coordination.
The Science of Proprioception Exercises
Therapeutic exercise is perhaps one of the most valuable modalities used in canine physical rehabilitation. Some of the common goals of therapeutic exercise are to improve active pain-free range of motion, muscle mass and muscle strength, balance, performance with daily function, aerobic capacity, help prevent further injury, and to reduce weight, and lameness.
Common activities include standing exercises, controlled leash activities, stair climbing, treadmill activity, “wheel barrowing” (for forelimb activity), and “dancing” (for rear limb activity). Other activities include jogging, sit-to-stand exercises, pulling or carrying weights, walking and trotting across cavaletti rails, playing ball, taping a bottle or syringe cap to the bottom of an unaffected foot to encourage weight bearing, slinging the contralateral good limb, and using balance balls or rolls. In addition to being an important method to assist an animal’s return to the best function possible, the equipment needed for therapeutic exercise is relatively inexpensive and similar principles apply to a variety of individuals and conditions. Therapeutic exercise programs designed for the home environment also provide an opportunity for owners to become actively involved in their pet’s rehabilitation.
The Benefits of Proprioception Exercises
Exercises that develop core muscle strength and proprioception are vital to maintain optimal fitness for all dogs, but especially for canine amputees. The best exercises to do with pets going through rehabilitation are using inflatables of different shapes and sizes, including unstable surface work and weight bearing activities. These fitness games help with core strengthening, increased range of motion and flexibility, sensory and perceptual stimulation, joint alignment, and balance control.
Remember, walking is great for endurance, but it does not build strength.
- Non weight bearing exercise
- Relief from pain, swelling and stiffness
- Promotion of relaxation
- Joint mobilization
- Cardiovascular fitness (heart and lungs)
- Muscle strengthening, maintenance & restoration
- Increase in range of motion of affected joints
- Improved circulation