William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital

Physical Rehabilitation

Physical Rehabilitation - Frequently Asked Questions

What are the indications for physical rehabilitation?
If a pet has lost mobility or physical function due to injury, disease, disability or other conditions, your veterinarian may recommend physical rehabilitation to support veterinary medical treatment. The veterinarian addresses the medical issues, and the physical therapist addresses functional concerns.

What are the benefits of rehabilitation?

Do clients observe or participate in treatment?
Yes, and yes! Clients are always welcome at rehab. We emphasize client education, and a home exercise plan is an important part of each patient's treatment.

Is rehab painful for my pet?
On the contrary. Our goal is to decrease pain in our patients. The calm environment of the rehab area with access to a courtyard provides a welcome change for hospital patients. No invasive procedures are performed in this service, and patients are not restrained.

How many treatments are needed, and how long is each session?
The length of the treatment program depends on the complexity of the case and the animal's short- and long-term conditioning needs. Treatment may take a matter of weeks or become part of an ongoing health management program. Client involvement in home exercise also plays an essential role in determining the overall length and ultimate success of the rehabilitation. On average, patients spend about one hour per session, though treatments range from 30 minutes to two hours. The length of each session depends on the diagnosis, complexity of condition and techniques used.

Who performs the rehabilitation treatment?
A credentialed physical therapist with extensive human and animal experience.

Do I need a veterinarian's referral?
Yes, please. Your veterinarian will inform us first about the medical needs of your pet so that we can address the functional side of your pet's health. A veterinarian from the teaching hospital or your own veterinarian may refer you.

What kinds of animals come to rehab?
The majority of patients referred are dogs. However, we also see cats, horses, including foals, sheep, goats, llamas, tortoises, rabbits, ferrets, parrots and raptors.