Rehabilitation and conditioning for pets – called physical therapy for people – is relatively new in veterinary medicine. Veterinarians who have been specially trained in this field have extensive knowledge and technology to help pets relieve pain, build muscle and maintain mobility.
Rehab is most often thought of as aiding a pet in recovery from post-surgery conditions; however, pets suffering from obesity and arthritis can benefit from rehab services as well. Obese pets need exercise. Like people, pets do not benefit from diet alone they need physical activity as well. You may have seen our recent warnings for keeping pets safe in summer heat and one of our recommendations is to limit outdoor activity. Did you know that veterinarians can provide a solution for getting your pet to lose those pounds and keep cool?
One of the main tools used in pet rehabilitation is an underwater treadmill. The buoyancy of the water helps take weight off the joints while the resistance creates a much more challenging workout versus walking on land. During the summer heat, pets can stay cool in an underwater treadmill and work their muscles while losing those pounds.
Pets with arthritis can benefit from rehab for many of the same reasons as obese pets. They need to be exercised regularly to help maintain mobility of their joints, build muscle mass and keep them active into their old age. If you think your pets are in pain and you don’t exercise them, they will lose muscle pass and eventually become more painful. It is important to keep your pets moving.
Dogs aren’t the only ones who might enjoy the underwater treadmill. As can see from this video, Merlin the cat is vocal with enthusiasm!
Veterinarians practicing rehabilitation medicine can work with you to create an at-home exercise program customized for your pet. These exercise could include indoor activities that allow you and your pet to escape the heat!
Exercise is one of the best ways to help people age gracefully and the same goes for our furry companions.