Canine rehab is all about improving quality of life and decreasing pain by helping dogs enhance mobility of muscles and joints. Physical therapy may enhance recovery from injury, surgery, degenerative diseases, age-related diseases, obesity and other orthopedic or neurological conditions.
In recent years, canine rehabilitation has started to extend its scope from curative to preventative care. For instance, improving mobility may drive a reduction in weight which, in turn, may help moderate the impact of age-related issues such as osteoarthritis. Certain other techniques may help maximize physical potential and improve athletic performance in canine sports.
Here are some of the most modern techniques:
- Balance exercises
- Coordination exercises
- Electrical stimulation
- Passive range of motion
- Strengthening exercises
- Thermo and cryotherapy
Whether your dog is going through a rehabilitation program after ACL surgery or is taking advantage of new pain management techniques, here are a couple of ways to see how he’s doing.
1. Monitor quality of rest as a proxy for pain
Dogs in discomfort don’t get good rest. Like humans, dogs in pain often try to shift position to change angles and pressure points seeking relief. This is pretty easy to spot in the FitBark mobile app. As your dog heals or improves from a certain medical condition that gives him discomfort, you’ll typically notice a corresponding increase in his sleep score…
…as well as a point decrease in his hourly activity at rest.
2. Monitor daily activity before, during and after rehabilitation
Imagine a typical 13-week recovery from ACL surgery. Now you can work with your veterinarian to monitor how rehabilitation is progressing compared with two benchmarks. The first is your dog’s daily activity baseline before surgery, which you’ll be aware of if you have at least a week or two worth of FitBark data. The second is your dog’s ranking vs. dogs of similar age and weight, or similar breed, which we send you in your weekly report. You can visualize these rankings in greater detail on FitBark Explore (requires a desktop computer).