Clinical Activities and Procedures

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Your initial visit to the Integrative Medicine Service will include a functional evaluation of your animal and its needs, as well as the design of a plan of care to restore, maintain, or enhance its physical fitness and optimize function after injury, surgery, or disability. During the initial visit, an evaluation will be completed and goals for the patient will be addressed and identified. Based on these goals, a treatment plan will be established for the patient. Time permitting, some treatment may be started with the initial evaluation.

This dynamic process is modified with progress, subsequent injury, or other factors that may arise. Clients are an important part of the rehabilitation process and recovery. Treatment frequency and duration varies depending on the individual patient, the cause of disability, and limitations of the caretaker. Physical fitness and activity are important for animals throughout their life spans.

Many different types of patients benefit from treatment with the Service, including a dog recovering from a cranial cruciate ligament tear, an overweight pet, or an older animal that is becoming weak and having trouble rising. Other examples include rehabilitation after an animal has been in a trauma, such as hit by a car or animals that are born with deformities. Physical rehabilitation therapy can also benefit animals as a preconditioning for surgery, as a preventive to help protect and minimize laxity in joints, or for conditioning for athletic events or work.

Acupuncture is offered to dogs, cats and exotic animal patients. It is provided as an adjunctive procedure to both hospitalized patients and outpatients. Acupuncture is part of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine and can be readily integrated into conventional treatment modalities to optimize clinical outcomes. To learn more about acupuncture, please see the Frequently Asked Questions section.

Pain Management
Beyond acupuncture offerings, the pain management program incorporates both traditional medications and complementary modalities, such as cold laser, to find the best pain therapy for an individual patient. Pain control is essential for a patient’s ability to heal and overall quality of life. Therapy is aimed at not only acute pain during hospitalization, but also focusing on chronic pain management at home.

Palliative Care
The palliative care program focuses on patients with serious illness ranging from internal medicine, neurologic, and surgical disease to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation. Modalities are used to help support the body and treat the symptoms of the diseases or treatments, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue and insomnia. The main goal is to help owners during this difficult time and incorporate complementary ways to help the patient’s quality of life.  

Physical Rehabilitation
Physical rehabilitation procedures aims to improve healing, minimize pain, build muscle, increase athleticism, and improve overall well-being. Modalities used include low-level laser therapy, therapeutic ultrasound, transcutaneous electronic neuromuscular stimulation, neuromuscular electronic stimulation, shockwave therapy, underwater treadmill, manual therapies and directed exercises. In addition, physical medicine and rehabilitation can assist patients with weight loss, stamina, and increased strength and vitality.

Indications for rehabilitation

  • Pain from injury, surgery or disability
  • Soft tissue injuries such as strains, sprains, tendonitis
  • Joint injuries, including contractures, arthritis
  • Gait abnormalities, lameness, and compensatory movement strategies after injury
  • Surgical recovery: orthopedic, soft tissue or neurosurgery
  • Geriatric conditions: arthritis, decreased flexibility, decreased strength, muscle spasms, decreased mobility
  • Obesity and loss of conditioning
  • Strength and conditioning needs of canine athletes and working dogs
  • Critical care recovery

Conditions commonly referred for rehabilitation

  • Severe muscle atrophy
  • Injuries of the muscles and tendons
  • Cruciate ligament surgeries
  • Femoral head ostectomy
  • Fractures
  • Degenerative joint disease
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Peripheral nerve injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Intervertebral disc disease
  • Fibrocartilagenous emboli

Treatment techniques include

  • Manual therapy
  • Manual techniques to facilitate or inhibit muscle contractions
  • Soft tissue mobilization
  • Therapeutic massage
  • Modalities for pain, inflammation and swelling
  • Therapeutic exercise
  • Balance training
  • Gait training
  • Proprioceptive training
  • Strength and conditioning
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Home environment recommendations
  • Videotape analysis of movement
  • Custom orthotic fabrication