When would my Dog need Rehab?
I would love to give this question to some of my loyal clients and I could promise their answer would be – “All the time” or “As much as possible”. I mean this in the most modest way possible because it isn’t necessarily my work that is “so amazing” but rather the techniques I have learnt and studied that have proven time and time again to be most effective.
Post-operative care that includes Rehab has better outcomes. Osteoarthritic management that has a holistic, all round approach, weight management included, has better outcomes.
Take for example, Mr Whiskey who is an overweight, brown (absolutely magnificent) Labrador. The typical style of dog that once he crosses the line of “young crazy Labbie” becomes excessively overweight and spends most of his day lounging on the patio or never gets further than the first step of the swimming pool for a cool down. He has been diagnosed with generalised Osteoarthritis and quite severe front limb lameness - Referred by his Vet. He has been “Ramsay Rehab-ing” for only a few months and with small amounts of hydrotherapy, a new weight loss diet, and some ultrasound and massage therapy Whiskey is a totally new dog. Lameness – Excluded.
Why does my Pet need Rehab?
Rehabilitation can be used for so many reasons and every one of them is centred on the ultimate goal of providing quality of life.
Increased speed of recovery: the less time that a paralysed patient is recumbent, the less disuse atrophy that occurs as well as pressure sore formation and secondary infections. Paralysis is traumatic enough, for owner and patient. This doesn’t only apply for paralysed patients but any post-surgery case; any type of disuse can be avoided with rehab.
Improved performance and quality of movement: this is for the “go – getters” of the canine world. But who says that your geriatric amputee can’t have a good quality of movement? Well, no-one!
Try some hydrotherapy and see your old man climb those stairs with confidence again. One of the best things a client has ever said to me is “Candice, he is just so much better within himself.”
Which leads me to the positive psychological effects that rehab has for both the patient and owner. Massage, EMS, Light Therapy, Active Exercise, Hydrotherapy… all of these therapies cause endorphin release, blood flow, muscle stimulation, relaxation and (without sounding like an advert) promote the well-being of your pet.
Isn’t Rehab for Pets Expensive? Seems a little over the Top
Always a great question to answer. The way people view their household pets has changed dramatically over the last few years. I am inclined to say “what is the difference between your pet and yourself?” well, not much. It is our true responsibility in life to care for all creatures big and small. The professional response here is that in many cases Rehab has saved many clients lots of money. Rehab used post operatively can decrease the recovery time.
Did you know that dogs may lose one third of their muscle mass in the hind limb following surgery for a cranial cruciate ligament rupture and it can take over a year to regain the lost muscle tissue? Wouldn’t it make sense to reduce this time by doing a couple of daily exercises and Rehab sessions for a happy, comfortable, pain free pup?
Other Benefits of Rehab?
What is the most important thing to a pet owner? I will give you a clue: “happy dog, happy owner.” Quality of Life. All people want for their animals is to be happy and healthy.
As a veterinary professional, there are so many times I’ll observe that the patient still has an abnormal gait or his hip extension is slightly short, but owners don’t care about the nitty gritty of it - they just want their pup to be happy.
For me, rehab has proven to be the ‘cherry on top’ so many times. This is just to say that there still has to be the cake and ice-cream underneath the cherry. Let’s remember that without veterinary medical or surgical treatment, rehab is not as successful.
It’s the combination that makes the great outcome for a patient, and a vital part of that is owner compliance.
What I, Candice Ramsay, love about Rehab
My personal journey with rehabilitation in animals began as a pet owner and not as a veterinary professional. I believe that this is why I feel so strongly about the topic of animal rehabilitation. Rehabilitation, done in the correct manner, is the most rewarding job anyone could ever ask for.
‘Return to function’ is almost always the outcome and the bond that develops between therapist and patient is absolutely irreplaceable. Owner’s complaints that were “my dog is not walking properly” become “my dog loves you more than me.”
My cat was diagnosed with hip dysplasia and laxating patellas in both legs. Before Ramsay rehab she was limping and wasn't kitten again. Went to surgical specialists and was told you looking at about 20k. Aura has been with Rambsy rehab since March, I have my little cat back. Without Candice this would have never been possible. I am truly grateful to her she is amazing and would recommend her to anyone.