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It can happen in a blink of an eye or it can creeps up slowly leaving your beloved pet struggling to deal with their day to day activities that we take for granted.
Injury, illness and necessary surgery can leave your pet battling pain, stiffness and the inability to move without causing further damage to themselves.
Physical rehabilitation is something TAH Bellville has now made a part of their patients' healing process. Our goal is to assist patients and their owners by providing rehabilitation and therapy following surgery, illness or injury, and thus improving mobility, relieving pain and return to function more rapidly.
Physical rehabilitation is something that can begin immediately post operatively. For patients suffering from a neurological condition, the first 6 weeks is crucial for performing physical rehab and exercises to aid a faster and better recovery.Benefits:
There are various types of rehab therapies that are employed and they all have a specific purpose. The decision on what modalities are used from session to session is largely determined by the findings of the rehab therapist at the initial evaluation session. Modifications are made as the patient progresses and as the therapist sees fit.
Physical exercises are done to actively help increase joint range of motion, strengthen muscles, assist with gait training, improve balance and promote proprioceptive awareness. Generally we put them through some active assisted exercises and active exercises by using the following equipment: Cavaletti rails can be placed on various heights depending on the size and condition of the patient. They are rails the patient walks over to help increase joint ROM and bring about proprioceptive awareness Stairs are used when patients are ready for active muscle strengthening. Cones are used for weaving & figure of 8s; it stretches and strengthens the spine. It also assists bringing about proprioceptive awareness and gait training. The land treadmill is great for safe, controlled gait training and strengthening. The treadmill can also be set at a specific incline to increase the intensity of the exercise.
Peanut ball is a peanut shaped therapeutic ball. It is a wonderful way of strengthening a patients core and stabiliser muscles. Core strength is essential for an optimally functioning body, it helps support the rest of the muscular skeletal system.
The Balance board~ challenges the patients balance and strengthens the core and stabiliser muscles. It targets all the small muscles and ligaments in all the joints bringing about more awareness in the dogs body without impacting the joints.
The Class IV therapeutic laser emits up to 12 Watts of power with a wavelength of 980nm, it currently is the strongest therapeutic laser on the market. This enables the operator to heal with the power of light in the shortest possible time. The laser light penetrates deeply into the tissue and is absorbed on a cellular level into the mitochondria (cells energy centre). This elevation of energy within the cell holds the following benefits:
The body will heal itself to the best of its ability naturally, laser therapy just enhances and improves the healing process.
ESTIM is used for pain control and neuromuscular electrical stimulation. Pain control is done with TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) which sends out a tingling like sensation working on the sensory nerves, it decreases pain perception, improves circulation & tissue repair and reduces oedema. NMES (Neuromuscular electrical stimulation) is used for muscle stimulation &education, conditioning & strengthening to help limit muscular atrophy and aid in rebuilding of muscle mass.
Thermal therapy is the use of a heat pack or cold pack for therapeutic purposes. Hot packs are wonderful to use on muscles and joints that are painful and stiff often due to arthritis. Cold packs are ideal on hot, painful, inflamed areas to draw out the heat, numb the pain and cause vasoconstriction to reduce bleeding and help bring down swelling. Both hot and cold packing can be used in conjunction with laser therapy.
The underwater treadmill is a highly advanced piece of equipment that allows the rehab patient to walk on a treadmill belt while submersed in warm water to a level that suits their specific needs. Water therapy as discussed above hold many amazing benefits. The buoyancy of the water takes most of the weight off their painful joints, thus enabling them to engage in active movement with more comfort. This is especially beneficial to the older more arthritic dogs that battle to carry their full weight while exercising. It is also incredibly beneficial to dogs that are overweight and battle to exercise sufficiently without harming their already overloaded joints. Walking against the water also provides resistance which helps to target specific muscles and joints depending on the water level. Another great benefit of walking on a treadmill belt compared to just walking on a normal surface is that the belt actively pulls the joints into greater extension. After orthopaedic surgeries our patients are often battling with a decreased range of motion in those specific joints and extension is especially decreased. The underwater treadmill is the perfect and most comfortable way to help these patients return to an optimally functioning gait. Our underwater treadmill should be up and running by September 2014.
We are also able supply clients and patients with the necessary equipment and products from Holistic Vet to better assist their healing process or lifestyle management. We have a wide variety of joint supports, walking and body harnesses, boots for protection and traction. We are also able to supply a paralysed patient with a wheelchair if needed. Wheelchairs can be bought or rented on a monthly basis.
Referrals must book an initial assessment appointment with one of our therapists. Ideally first time patients need to be accompanied by their owners so we can take down a detailed history. Owners must please bring along radiographs if possible and a referral letter if applicable. We work on an appointment basis only and we offer our clients a variety of rehab packages to suit their needs.
Initial assessment can be 1hr- 1hr30min depending on the size and temperament of your dog. Follow up visits are generally between 30-60min depending on what treatments are done. Generally our patients are dogs but not limited to, so the feline patient is more than welcome too!
Our rehab therapists are Sr Antoinette Smit and Sr Joanne Merry. We see patients from Monday to Friday, 10am-18:30.