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What is veterinary physiotherapy?

Veterinary physiotherapy is a discipline aiming at improving mobility, function and quality of life of pets. It can only be practiced by vets and qualified veterinary physiotherapists. To treat, physiotherapists mostly use their hands, but some other techniques can be used in combination, such as Laser therapy or Ultrasound therapy. It is beneficial in many situations : post operative care, recovery from a trauma, weight loss, mobility issues in the elderly dog or cat, pain management, neurological disorders...

 

Can all animals benefit from physiotherapy?

Yes, most of them do, but I specialise in treating dogs and cats, although I am willing to help smaller pets like rabbits as well!

My pet does not like being touched, does this mean that physiotherapy is not for them?

No, not necessarily. I approach each animal differently depending on their demeanour and I always give them the time they need to get accustomed to the therapy. It is very different to a veterinary consultation. Most animals will realize with time that the treatment helps them. Besides, some treatments involve very little contact. So in any case, unless you animal is very aggressive, it is worth trying for a couple of sessions.

My dog does agility/flyball... I would like him/her checked over, is it something you do?

Yes, absolutely! I am happy to examine your dog and check that they are fit for training. Quite commonly, they can have minor injuries/ imbalance issues that go unnoticed and can lead to further damage during intense training. If you are worried that your dog may not be performing to the best of their abilities, I would be more than happy to have a look at them.

My dog/cat is old and stiff. Can you help?

Yes, absolutely! Older animals often benefit from extra care and attention. Many owners are amazed with the improvement in mobility and general well being that a few treatments can make. Equally,  some simple home/lifestyle adaptations can lead to tremendous improvements in their quality of life as well. 

What is Laser therapy?

Laser therapy uses a specific type of light, usually invisible infra-red light, which has been selected for its effects on the body. Some cells in the body are able to absorb and use this light, a little bit like a plant uses the sunlight to grow. It is mostly used to treat painful swollen joints like in osteoarthritis, or tendon and muscle injuries. It also gives pain relief by releasing endorphines, the body's natural opioids (like morphine). Recently, it has also been reported that Laser treatment may help with neuropathic pain (pain due to a nerve injury).

What is Ultrasound therapy?

Ultrasound therapy uses sound waves to create a "micro massage" within the treated area. This allows to relax painful muscles but also helps to improve the quality of the scar tissue, particularly within tendons and muscles.

I have heard about stem cell therapy for osteoarthritis, is it something you offer?

Yes. I have a special interest in the so-called "regenerative medicines". These include all the treatments that will promote natural repair from the body. In particular, in case of osteoarthritis, the joints are in a state of chronic inflammation, which does not spontaneously resolve and gradually leads to the destruction of the joint. Injecting specific treatments directly into the joint is our best hope, at the moment, to stop this vicious circle of inflammation and destruction. For this, we can use stem cells but also platelet concentrates for example. These treatments have to be done in a clinical setting, under anesthesia or sedation, at your referring vet.

I am not sure if I will have time for the exercises, does this mean that the treatment(s) will not be effective?

Do not worry, the treatments are beneficial on their own, even if you do not have much extra time to dedicate to your pet. However, it is true that continuing with some exercises at home, in between the sessions, will improve your pet's recovery. We can design a plan together to try and incorporate the exercises in your lifestyle, so that it is not a burden for you.

Do I need to be referred by my usual vet?

Yes. Being a vet, I am allowed to examine and treat your pet even without referral. However, it is good practice to ask your vet, and it is in the best interest of your pet, to make sure that I am fully aware of your pet's medical history and current condition(s). If it is easier, you may contact me first, and I will organise to ask your vet's permission prior to the initial consultation.

Will this be covered by my insurance?

Generally yes. Most insurance companies will pay for a certain amount of physiotherapy or complementary treatments. Because I am a vet, some of the treatments are labelled as veterinary fees anyway. If in doubt, it is always worth calling your insurance prior to the consultation; they should be able to tell you over the phone what your level of cover is and how much you are insured for.