Rehabilitation Exercises

We believe that well-performed physiotherapy and rehabilitation support the best outcomes for patients. Our excellent team of physiotherapists will support your pet through recovery and rehabilitation, right through to sign-off. At Hamilton Specialist Referrals, when we rehabilitate animals our main aim is to return them to their optimal function quickly, with the least amount of pain and fewest adaptive changes possible.

We aim to give our animal patients better mobility and gait patterns with improved strength, flexibility and balance. This means that their bodies cope with their daily activities, whether they are companion, working or competing animals. We work and liaise closely with our team of surgeons as well as external veterinarians on a referral basis to ensure continuity of care.

Exercises used in rehabilitation

Functional strengthening exercises

Functional strengthening exercises are routines that mimic the demands of the structures that are repairing which strengthen the affected part of the body whilst re-educating motor patterns of movement. Such exercises will develop the muscles and connective tissues weakened by trauma, surgery and non-use, allowing pets to perform at their best and decreasing the risk of further injury or compensatory movements.

Coordination exercises

Coordination exercises help improve an animal’s awareness of its surroundings. Such exercises include Cavalettis (stepping poles), weaves and figure eights. Cavaletti is an exercise that gives an animal various obstacles to walk over. This exercise makes the animal focus on where each foot is being placed and builds coordination. Weaves and figure eights help to build coordination and strength by forcing the animal to shift its weight quickly from one side to the other as it turns. These exercises are very useful in dogs suffering from neurological conditions and spinal-cord injuries.

Strengthening exercises

These exercises include uphill and downhill walking, stairs, standing on two or three legs, ramps and sit-to-stands. Uphill and downhill walking are effective physiotherapy techniques for increasing the range of movement at joints. This is also helpful in dogs with hip dysplasia or degenerative joint disease. Getting your pet walking up and down stairs under control will force an animal’s weight to shift fully onto its front or hind limbs and build muscle in the shoulders and thighs, respectively.

Balance exercises

These exercises make use of equipment designed to strengthen weak muscles and build up limbs affected by atrophy (muscle wastage). These exercises include balancing on physio balls, wobble boards and balance boards. For animals recovering from surgery, these exercises encourage weight-bearing on the surgical repair, building muscle around the affected area. They can also be helpful for animals with neurological conditions, including strokes.