Amputated dogs have a long road to recovery. But canine physical therapy is one way to speed up the process. It works the same for dogs as it works for humans. With the correct techniques, guidance, and carefully curated rehabilitation process, you will soon see positive results. This article explores physical therapy exercises that help your dog through this transition.
How Physical Therapy Helps Amputated Dogs
Before we get into how canine physical therapy helps amputated dogs, we want to address a concern that bothers many pet parents and get it out of the way – “Will my amputated dog ever be the jovial self again?”
The good news is, yes, they can live a normal, happy life like any four-legged dog! Although the rate of recovery depends on how much you are willing to invest in your dog’s recovery, mentally and physically. Now that you are a bit more relaxed about the situation, we can go back to how animal physical therapy is ideal for three-legged dogs and how you can achieve that seamlessly.
Canine physical therapy is a tried and tested practice that uses therapeutic techniques, mobility exercises, equipment, and professional care to get your doggo hopping again.
Not only does physical therapy provide the joints with the right amount of movement, but promotes healthy blood flow essential to the recovery process. A good blood flow significantly amplifies the muscular capacity to heal. Any neurological issues your dog may be experiencing after their surgery could also be resolved or at least reduced substantially.
Here’s a quick summary of all the info you’ll need if you are pressed for time to read through the article.
1. Seek a certified animal therapist
Always enquire about personalized therapy programs unique to your dog – all dogs have different pain thresholds requiring different intensity of care and therapy.
2. Invest in the right support equipment
There are some good, affordable equipment in the market today that you can even order online.
3. Ensure a good diet
Make sure your dog loses weight and gets enough calcium, nutrients, and dietary fiber. Seek a dietician’s advice if need be.
4. Get your friend some company
Socializing strengthens the most important aspect which is mental health. For amputated dogs, this can work like magic. You will soon see how quickly your dog overcomes the trauma.
Advantages of physical therapy:
• Quick recovery from surgery/injury
• Prevents post-surgery neurological complications
• Eases pain and discomfort
• Better, more flexible range of motion
• Regulates body weight
• Boosts confidence
Physical therapy exercises and therapies
Getting animal physical therapy post-amputation is integral to your dog’s wellness and rehabilitation program. So you must understand the exercises involved.
- PROM: Passive range of motion or PROM exercises are one of the most commonly performed therapy exercises. The therapist manually moves your dog’s joints in a series of back and forth motions to mimic the natural movement of joints. This ensures your dog maintains their regular range of motion and flexibility.
- Cold and heat therapy: Hot and cold compression helps significantly with post-amputation rehab. As humans find heat and cold therapy effective, so do canines. A warm compress helps warm up the muscles before PROM exercises and increases blood flow. A cold compress calms any inflammation at the site of surgery.
- Obstacle courses: Helpful for building balance, obstacle courses are designed using bard, hills, steps, and ramps. These courses also help with paw placement and agility. You can even set them up at your home with expert help.
- Manual Therapy: A certified canine physical therapist may perform manual techniques to increase joint function and health. These may include joint mobilizations, muscle activations techniques, etc.
- Cold laser therapy:This is a new treatment gaining popularity of late. Cold laser works at the cellular level to ease blood circulation and lower inflammation.
- Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation: This technique uses electrical stimulation pads set at a certain frequency to get your dog’s muscles activating properly again.
- Every case is different but your Vet should send you home with a list of post surgery care.
- Assistance from a certified canine rehab therapist can help with this process as well.
Things you can do to help speed up the recovery process
To promote recovery, prepare an exercise program with your pet’s physical therapist to boost balance and strength. Dogs tend to adapt quickly to hind leg amputation compared to their front legs so don’t be alarmed if your dog takes a while to adjust their gait – some dogs need more time than others. But make sure you help your struggling buddy feel as comfortable as possible at all times.
An experienced animal physical therapist speeds up the recovery by re-adjusting their natural mobility pattern while minimizing pain. They also help your dog overcome post-surgery anxiety.
Further, invest time in learning gentle massages to relieve your pet’s returning pain. Prosthetics are not required or even recommended for most tripawd dogs. If your pet has more than one amputation, they can use wheelchairs or carts too.
The time, energy, and care you put into your pet’s recovery decides how fast or seamless the process is. There is no way around it. Stay calm and committed as this may also be a chance for you to fortify your bond and make memories to cherish a few years from now. Keep a positive attitude and soon you will see promising results for your furry friend. Good luck!