Physical Therapy Proving Beneficial in Treating Pets

Physical Therapy Proving Beneficial in Treating Pets

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Physical therapy has long proved beneficial for people who are injured, recovering from surgery, or dealing with chronic pain like arthritis. Now the same techniques are being used to treat pets.

The Animal Care center in Bountiful treats all the usual pet health problems, but it recently added physical therapy for animals like 11-year-old Sam, who suffers with severe arthritis.

He used to take lots of daily medication just to reduce the pain and swelling. Now his owner brings him in for hydrotherapy. Sam’s therapy includes a special tub with warm bubbly water that relaxes muscles. It also has electronic stimulation that increases circulation and decreases inflammation.

Pam Epperson DVM, Veterinarian: "Sam doesn’t have nearly as much pain as when he started. His hips feel better. His mom thinks he has less muscle atrophy and he’s getting around better."

Dr. Epperson says hydrotherapy can also reduce recovery time after surgery and benefit animals with all kinds of injuries and paralysis.

Another form of therapy is a treadmill built especially for dogs. It is also used for weight loss. Sometimes, therapists use a combination of exercise and hydrotherapy, as well as massage and relaxation.

For example, a one and a half-year-old golden retriever came in because he hurt his elbow, but the doctor found he has hip displasia -- a common ailment that causes tense muscles and pain.

Pam Epperson DVM, Veterinarian: "Massage and muscle stretching, and passive range of motion can help relieve their muscle soreness and can improve their mobility. We’ll put him in the tub afterwards and he'll feel lots lots better."

A therapy session costs about $40.

Physical therapy for pets is a growing trend, but so far, The Animal Care Center is the only clinic in the area with an electronic stimulation hydrotherapy tub.

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