What is Physiotherapy?

Cainine Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy is an established and well recognized health care profession that promotes recovery following illness, surgery, injury and age related conditions.

ACPAT Chartered Physiotherapists are specialist experts in the rehabilitation of animals. They are highly skilled and have undergone extensive training. ACPAT Chartered Physiotherapists are able to fully assess your pet and formulate an individual treatment programme to help your pet recover. Physiotherapy is also important as a preventative treatment in working dogs to minimize sports related injury and maintain fitness to ensure your dog is able to perform at peak fitness.

ACPAT Chartered Physiotherapists use a variety of techniques and electrotherapy machines to promote healing, decrease pain and restore function. Exercise therapy is also an important aspect of any rehabilitation programme.

Occasionally aids such has splints are needed to support ligaments while they heal. For dogs which are unable to walk or are recovering from spinal trauma then the temporary use of support slings are sometimes required to allow your canine friend some freedom of movement which is important for mental well being.

Physiotherapy Treatments

There are many different treatment techniques available in the rehabilitation of sick
and injured animals. Many of these techniques are used in combination to achieve
maximum recovery for your pet.

  • Manual therapies
  • Electrotherapy machines
  • Exercise therapy - including sports specific rehabilitation
  • Advice and home programmes

Joint MobilisationJoint Mobilisation

Joint mobilisations can be applied to the spinal joints and also the peripheral joints. Mobilisations are used by physiotherapists to increase joint range of movement, increase proprioceptive awareness, decrease pain and reduce muscle spasm.

Soft Tissue Techniques

Soft Tissue TechniquesSoft tissue techniques involve the physiotherapists using techniques such has myofascial release, massage and trigger point release. These techniques help to reduce swelling, decrease pain, reduce muscle spasm, promote well being and can help your pet to feel more comfortable. Soft tissue techniques are often used in combination with joint mobilisations and passive stretches.

Passive Stretches

Physiotherapists use passive stretches on joints and muscles and are used to increase joint range of movement, lengthen the resting tension of muscles, reduce muscle spasm and decrease pain.


Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission Radiation (LASER)Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission Radiation

The main use of LASER in animal physiotherapy is to promote soft tissue healing and decrease pain. It is also useful for trigger point release and blue light LASER is very good in helping to heal open infected wounds


Ultrasound is the application of sound waves to the injured area. Its main use in animal physiotherapy is to promote tissue healing after injury and helps to reduce pain associated with inflammation and trauma. The application of ultrasound is normally well tolerated by pets.

Electromagnetic Energy (Biomag)

BiomagThis machine is very versatile and can be used to help in a number of conditions such as soft tisue healing, fracture repair, pain relief and control of inflamation. The Biomag is very well tolerated and pets appear to be soothed by the treatment and many relax and settle, some pets even go to sleep during treatment.

Transcutaneous Electrical Stimulation (TENs)Neuromuscular Stimulation (NMS)

Neuromuscular stimulation is used to produce or facilitate muscle contractions. This treatment is useful for strengthening and re-education of weak muscle following surgery or nerve related injury. The treatment is effective when combined with an appropriate exercise programme.

Transcutaneous Electrical Stimulation (TENs)

This machine stimulates sensory and motor nerves to reduce pain after surgery but can also be used for chronic or acute pain associated with injury.

Exercise Therapy

Exercise TherapyExercise rehabilitation is an important aspect of veterinary physiotherapy as all pets need to be able to move around comfortably and perform their daily functions to have a quality of life. Exercise rehabilitation means different things to different pets, it may be important for the elderly pet to be able to get out of their basket and go for short strolls or the advanced agility dog will need to be able to turn sharply and generate enough power to jump fences. Therefore the exercise programmes are tailor made to suit the needs of your pet. So whether you have a working dog, an elderly dog or cat or a best friend that shares your life your pet will be treated as an individual and their needs assessed and catered for.

Exercise TherapyAn exercise rehabilitation programme could include any of the following:-

  • Restoration of functional activities
  • Active range of movement exercises
  • Exercise therapy through play
  • Strengthening programmes
  • Core stability programmes
  • Sport specific rehabilitation
  • Re-education of natural balance/proprioception
  • Gait re-education

Home Education Programme

All owners are encouraged to take an active involvement in the rehabilitation of their pet.
It is important that physiotherapy is continued at home as this will ensure your pet achieves
maximum return to function.

Home programmes can include:-

  • Husbandry advice i.e appropriate bedding for arthritic pets
  • Home exercise programmes
  • Massage techniques / gentle stretches
  • Exercise limits and progression
  • Equipment loan