Advances in small animal healthcare have led to the development of physical rehabilitation as an integral of a pets total health care.

Many protocols in human physical therapy have been developed using animal models. Likewise, techniques used in human physical therapy are being adapted for small animals. Physical rehabilitation with Dr. Lee GregoryDr. Heather York, and Katie Marles is incorporated into our comprehensive services for excellence in the medical standard of care. MVMC pet rehabilitation is individually designed for each patient's recovery goals.

Individualized Pet Rehabilitation

Upon recommendation by an MVMC doctor and following owner consent, patients will be evaluated to identify their limitations and set treatment goals for optimal recovery and quality of life. The MVMC wing is specially designed for small animal rehabilitation and includes an underwater treadmill, ground treadmill, stationary and ceiling mounted track lift, cavaletti rails, therapy balls, and physical spaces designed with rehabilitation aids to create therapeutic conditions.


Therapeutic Modalities Used at the MVMC

Thermal modalities: Cryotherapy (Cold Therapy) effects include inflammation and pain control. Heat therapy effects includes improved circulation to tissues, increased in the rate of enzymatic and biochemical reactions to facilitate healing, and prior to stretching, allows greater extensibility of tissues during range of motion therapies.

Aquatic Therapy in an Underwater Treadmill: Buoyancy, hydrostatic pressure, viscosity, resistance and surface tension are physical properties of water that can produce specific therapeutic benefits. The many benefits of aqautic therapy include assisted weight bearing, improved strength and endurance, cardiovascular fitness, range of motion, agility, balance, proprioception, decrease joint effusion and peripheral edema.

Low Level Laser Treatment: Increasing cellular ATP production by using laser energy increases the quality and speed of tissue repair and wound healing, stimulates nerve function, decreases inflammation and reduces pain.

Manual Therapies: Range of motion and stretching exercises help to improve joint motion and flexibility, prevent adhesions between soft tissue and bone and improve extensibility. Neuromuscular therapy (Trigger point therapy) is used to normalize soft tissue circulation and reduce muscle spasms and pain.

Therapeutic Exercises: 

Assisted standing and walking exercise with therapy balls, controlled leash walks, treadmill, wheel barrowing, sit to stand activities, stair climbing, stepping over rails pulling or carrying weight, playing ball, decline and incline walking are examples of therapeutic exercises. These exercises provide opportunity to develop endurance, balance and coordination, increase muscle tone and enhance a patient's psychological well being.

Benefits of Rehabilitation

  • Increased mobility

  • Pain relief

  • Decrease inflammation and swelling

  • Increased tissue extensibility and flexibility

  • Strengthening

  • Improved limb and joint mechanics

  • Weight loss

  • Cardiovascular and respiratory fitness

  • Relaxation of muscle spasm

  • Minimization of muscle atrophy and joint stiffness.

  • Improved quality of life ( psychological benefits)

Conditions Benefiting from Physical Rehabilitation

  • Post-operative recovery

  • Orthopedic conditions ( cruciate ligament injuries, luxating patellas, hip dysplasia, muscle tears, tendonitis)

  • Neurological conditions ( intervertebral disc diseae, spondylosis, degenerative mylopathy, disospondylosis neuropathy, Wobblers syndrome)

  • Chronic pain

  • Pain Management

  • Arthritic Conditions (Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoarthritis)

  • Obesity

  • Wound management

  • Soft tissue injuries

  • Geriatric conditions

  • Trauma recovery


If you have an emergency

Call (207) 885-1290

Maine Veterinary Medical Center