A therapeutic exercise prescription is a valuable part of animal rehabilitation. Some of the goals of therapeutic exercise are:
- Improve pain free range of motion
- Improve muscle mass, strength and endurance
- Reduction of lameness
- Increase function
- Improve balance
- Increase cariovascular strength
- Help prevent further injury
- Aid in weight loss
- Gain confidence
Each therapeutic exercise program is designed specifically for your pet. The type of program depends on the pet’s condition, whether they are recovering from an injury, in need of weight reduction, or a canine athlete needing conditioning. Home exercise programs may also be designed.
Common activities include:
- Range of motion and stretching: These exercises improve joint motion after surgery or chronic conditions such as arthritis by increasing synovial fluid circulation to feed and cleanse cartilage, minimizing contractures, increasing muscle flexibility and decreasing pain
- Standing exercises for patients with severe injuries or conditions. These exercises improve the patient’s psychological well being, improve proprioception, strength and circulation, and help the animal to eliminate. The patient may be provided assistance with towels, slings or carts
- Proprioception training improves the patients balance. Proprioception is the patient’s sensory awareness of a part of the body. These include weight shifting, slow leash walks, manual unloading of a limb, balance boards and theraballs.
- In addition to proprioceptive training, the following exercises also provide strength and endurance training: inclines and declines, land treadmills, walking on foam or air mattresses, walking in sand or snow, stair climbing, dancing and wheelbarrowing, sit to stand and down to stand exercises, cavaletti rails, weave poles, tunnels, pulling or carrying weights and the use of therabands.