Animal physiotherapy aims at rehabilitating animals that cannot function properly due to an injury or illness. Animal physiotherapists give treatment, advice and counselling in treatment, exercises and nutritional questions. Often animal physiotherapists start their work after an operation.
Animal physiotherapy is always based on a physiotherapeutic inspection, which will help discover factors that affect the animal’s ability to function.
Animal physiotherapists work together with vets. The vet’s diagnosis is important to the physiotherapist because it helps plan the treatment. Treating an ill animal always requires a vet’s inspection. It ensures the right treatment and gives the best results.
An animal physiotherapist is a physiotherapist, who has graduated as a physiotherapist from a university of applied sciences or an institute, and then specialized as an animal physiotherapist in a university of applied science.
Today, rehabilitation of animals is a part of modern veterinary medicine. Often physiotherapy is given after a surgery to regain the ability to function.
Animals are also rehabilitated when surgical treatment is not an option. Animals with nervous diseases and dystrophies are rehabilitated to maintain good quality of life for years in spite of the illness.
Manual treatment means the treatment of muscles, connective tissues, joints and vertebrae. It affects the mobility and elasticity of muscles and joints. It is often used for correcting malpositions of joints and vertebrae.
Nervous tissue can also be treated. Treating a non-sliding nerve is one of the most common treatments.
Electrotherapy is used to relieve pain in animals. TENS-electrotherapy is the most common pain relieve therapy, and it gives good results especially when treating spinal pains. NMES-electrotherapy is used to treat paralysis caused by a nerve damage by making the muscle contract. These treatments are completely painless.
Stemming from Chinese medicine, acupuncture has been embraced by Western medicine. Acupuncture can be used to treat many different illnesses, but mostly it is used for pain relieve caused by musculoskeletal system and for relaxing the muscles.
Movement therapy is often used in treating paralysis and also after operations. Animal physiotherapist makes a movement analysis, and exercises are based on the analysis to achieve the right movements. Common exercises include balance and obstacle exercises and water therapy. The animal physiotherapist gives the owner written instructions for exercising at home, which is an important part of physiotherapy.
I graduated as a physiotherapist from Rovaniemi University of Applied Sciences in 2004. Since 2004, I have worked at The Finnish Association of People with Physical Disabilities rehabilitation centre as a physiotherapist, rehabilitating patent with musculoskeletal and neurological illnesses. I have participated in several shorter training courses on physiotherapy of patients with musculoskeletal and neurological illnesses. As an animal lover, I have completed the specialized training to become an animal physiotherapist at Satakunta University of Applied Sciences in 2008-2010.
Today, animal patients are a large part of my clientele. Dogs are the most typical clients from the smaller animals, and horses are the most typical larger clients. At some places of the world, even snakes are rehabilitated.
If the animal physiotherapist has any spare time, it will be spent coaching kickboxing, spending time with the herd or riding horses. I may find myself from the slopes or a cross-country skiing track from time to time.
Welcome to professional rehabilitation!