Veterinary physiotherapy helps dogs to recover from injury, illness or surgery with the aim of reducing pain and discomfort, stimulating the body’s natural healing processes and restoring mobility. Regular physiotherapy is also beneficial for enhancing performance and reducing risk of injury of working and competing dogs.

Vilhelmiina uses her extensive knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathology to devise an effective physiotherapy treatment plan for your pet. All plans are individually designed, clinically reasoned and based on current scientific research taking into account your pet’s specific needs.

Working closely with you vet is important for achieving the best possible outcome. Vilhelmiina only works on veterinary referral and aims to obtain a clinical history of your pet to ensure safe practice and effective treatment. You can download a referral form HERE.

Birmingham Vet Physio may be able to help your dog with the following:

Arthritis and slowing down

It is estimated that 1 in 5 adult dogs and up to 65% of dogs aged 7 and over have arthritis (OA). Arthritis is a progressive condition that cannot be cured. Several things, such as injuries, repetitive high-impact activity and excess weight, can contribute to the development of OA. It doesn’t only affect joints and the immediate surrounding tissues but also causes compensatory issues including muscle spasm, spinal pain and overuse injury on the compensating body parts. Signs of OA can be difficult to identify until the disease has progressed significantly.

The signs of OA can include:

  • stiffness, especially in the morning, that tends to ease with gentle exercise
  • reluctance to go up or down stairs / the sofa / bed / car
  • slowing down or unwillingness on walks, sitting or lying down during a walk
  • lameness / limping / weakness
  • change in behaviour / temperament
  • chewing or licking joints / avoiding touch of certain joint

Regular physiotherapy can help improve the quality of life for an arthritic dog by preventing and treating compensatory issues, reducing pain and increasing or maintaining joint mobility. With suitable manual and electrotherapies, individual exercise prescription and home management it is possible to manage the condition, slow its progress, and reduce the severity of the symptoms.

Hip and elbow dysplasia

Hip and elbow dysplasia are common genetic conditions that are caused by abnormal development of the hip or elbow joints. As a result, normal movement causes irregular forces on the joint surface and soft bones of developing puppies. This will cause damage to the joints over time and will eventually lead to arthritis.

Often mild elbow or hip dysplasia go undiagnosed until they have progressed to arthritis and caused a limp or noticeable muscle loss. X-rays are required for diagnosis. Mild cases can be treated conservatively but more severe cases could require surgery.

Signs of hip dysplasia can include:

  • limping or ‘head nod’ during walking
  • ‘bunny hopping’ with both back legs together
  • reluctance to jump (on the sofa or in the car) or use the stairs
  • stiffness or difficulty getting up
  • discomfort/pain in the hips, especially during hip extension
  • muscle loss around the hips

Signs of elbow dysplasia can include:

  • limping one or both front legs
  • elbows ‘tucked in’ with toes pointing outwards
  • reluctance to play or exercise
  • discomfort/pain and swelling in the elbows
  • stiffness after rest or holding elbows straight in front

Physiotherapy can alleviate pain associated with joint dysplasia and help gently build muscle to support the joints. Dogs of all ages with hip and/or elbow dysplasia benefit from regular physiotherapy but early intervention can delay or slow down the progression of arthritis and other secondary issues. The right home management and exercise plan together with suitable physiotherapeutic techniques will help preserve the joints as well as improve mobility and quality of life.

Pre and postoperative rehabilitation

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Cranial cruciate ligament injury

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Luxating patella

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Soft tissue injuries

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Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD)

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Other neurological problems

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Injury prevention & performance enhancement

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Service dogs

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Weight loss

Approximately 40% of dogs (over 3.5 million individuals) in the UK are overweight or obese according to the PSDA 2018 report. Excess weight can cause multiple medical problems, worsen musculoskeletal issues, decrease the quality of life and shorten lifespan by as much as two years. Overweight dogs are also more likely to develop arthritis.

Check your dog’s body score here

Physiotherapy plan will support your dog’s weight loss journey. By providing the right exercise, management and therapy plan for each dog’s individual needs, physiotherapy can help restore mobility, strength and quality of life. Physiotherapy intervention can also prevent injuries and slow down the development of osteoarthritis commonly seen in overweight dogs.