Julia examining a fore limb

A variety of techniques

Physiotherapy uses a variety of techniques to help the patient overcome injury and disease and so get back to normal levels of mobility and function. There is also a preventative aspect to the treatments, because when the body is working well, further damage or injury is less likely.

This programme of healing, pain relief and rehabilitation is aimed at various parts of the body including the muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves and joints.

Physiotherapy can be used to help the following:

  • Spinal conditions such as disc disease
  • Lameness problems – at all ages, including those in overweight dogs
  • Joint problems including degenerative joint disease and arthritis
  • Soft tissue injury, ie to ligaments, tendons and muscles
  • Bone fractures
  • Neurological conditions such as nerve trauma and spinal cord trauma or disease
  • Sports injuries and performance-related difficulties in athletic or working dogs
  • Difficulty coping with certain movements such as getting up and down from lying or sitting, going up and down stairs, and reluctance to play or exercise, which can lead to weight and fitness problems

Physiotherapy can also be used:

  • Before and after surgery to help the rehabilitation process
  • As a preventative measure to minimise the risk of a problem recurring

What does Physiotherapy involve?

The vital first step in a physiotherapy treatment plan is the referral from the patient’s own veterinary surgeon. This gives the physiotherapist full details of the condition or injury, and allows the physiotherapist to decide exactly what sort of treatment is necessary.

Physiotherapists who are ACPAT members offer a comprehensive range of skills and therapies. These include:

  • Soft tissue mobilisation and manipulation techniques
  • Skeletal mobilisation and manipulation techniques
  • Myofascial trigger point therapy
  • Neurological treatment techniques
  • Electrotherapy may include: ultrasound, laser, neuro-muscular stimulation, H-wave therapy,
    interferential therapy
  • Massage

As an ACPAT Chartered Physiotherapist, Julia’s treatment skills cover all these areas.

It’s important, too, for the physiotherapist to advise on after-care, because maintaining and building on the remedial work carried out during treatment is crucial. In all treatment sessions Julia includes advice on exercise, rehabilitation, home management and handling techniques.

The veterinary surgeon’s viewpoint

“The veterinary surgeons at Grove Lodge have worked with Julia Martin for 10 years. We have learned to appreciate the value of physiotherapy in treating pet animals for a number of conditions and have seen first-hand how animal physiotherapy can improve the outcome for many of our patients.

“We refer to Julia two distinct groups of cases. The first is the acute patient with an injury, or following surgery. These acute cases benefit from the treatments given and then Julia advises owners on the best and most appropriate exercise regimens to help their pet back to a more normal life. Julia is a regular visitor to our ward kennels to help advise the nursing team on appropriate strategies and techniques for dogs post surgery.

“The second group of patients that we refer to Julia are the older pets, mainly dogs with chronic advanced degenerative joint disease (DJD) or arthritis. As vets we can treat such cases with anti-inflammatories, neutraceuticals and other drugs, but often these animals are old and have multiple problems. I have referred many such cases to Julia over the years and without fail every owner has felt that Julia’s treatment contributed significantly to the quality of their pet’s life.

“Without doubt the dogs also enjoy the care and expertise which Julia gives to all her patients.”

Andrew Ash BVet Med, Cert SAM, MBA, MRCVS
Partner, Grove Lodge Veterinary Hospital