What is physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy is the therapeutic use of physical methods for the treatment of injury, illness or deformity.
How is physiotherapy carried out with animals?
Animal physiotherapy can only be performed under veterinary referral. At Cromwell Vets, our physiotherapists work closely with the veterinary surgeon to ensure the best treatment for your pet. We use a range of treatments depending on the condition being managed.
- Manual therapies (such as massage & joint mobilisations)
- Electrotherapy (such as pulsed electromagnetic therapy, phototherapy & therapeutic ultrasound)
- Exercise therapy (for strengthening, balance & co-ordination)
- Myofascial release (a therapy that is particularly useful for soft tissue injury & restrictions)
- Education, advice & support
- Development of home physiotherapy plans – used by owners to continue their pet’s treatment in the comfort of their own homes
What can physiotherapy help with?
Physiotherapy can be beneficial for many pets. It is most commonly used in three areas;
Post-operative – to aid healing and rehabilitation
Long-term & degenerative conditions – to reduce pain, ease compensatory discomfort, slow degeneration and improve the quality of life of animals living with these conditions
Soft tissue injury – to aid healing and rehabilitation
These are some of the conditions helped by physiotherapy:
- Hip & elbow dysplasia
- Cruciate ligament rupture
- Fractures & dislocations
- Intervertebral disc disease
- Nerve damage
- Muscle & soft tissue injuries
- Sporting & working dog rehabilitation
Leanne Seymour RVN Dip An.Phys MIAAT MBVNA
Leanne qualified as a veterinary nurse in 2009 and became increasingly interested in the benefits physiotherapy could bring to the patients she was nursing. After studying for two years at The College of Animal Physiotherapy, she gained her Diploma in Animal Physiotherapy with distinction in 2012. She then went on to train as a myofascial release therapist; a therapy that is particularly useful for soft tissue injuries and restrictions and the management of scar tissue. Leanne has experience treating a wide range of conditions and injuries in dogs and cats and has a particular interest in physiotherapy and rehabilitation of canine sports and working dog injuries. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her two Jack Russell terriers.
Lyndsay Burrell BSc (Hons) Dip An.Phys MIAAT
In 2005 Lyndsay qualified as a human physiotherapist at Keele University in Staffordshire gaining experience with various departments in hospitals including accident and emergency, paediatrics and neurology. Having always had a profound interest in animals, Lyndsay had always been keen to work in the veterinary world and spent 2 years furthering her education to study animal physiotherapy at The College of Animal Physiotherapy, qualifying with merit in 2012. Having competed in agility for a number of years with one of her Labradors, Lyndsay has a particular interest in sporting dogs. Not only treating shorter term soft tissue injuries but also improving the quality of life for dogs retired from sport.
Case studies & testimonials
Winston was referred for physiotherapy after a cyst on his spinal cord left him with limited use of his back legs. His owner, Louise, explains how his weekly sessions have helped keep Winston on his feet.
“Winston was becoming very weak on his hind legs and I didn’t know how to help him. Leanne has turned his life around! She helps keep his over-worked front leg muscles comfy and through a variety of exercises has helped increase his core strength, his hind leg strength and ultimately has kept him walking far longer than I was told would ever be possible.
“She is extremely proactive and always coming up with ideas of new ways to help him. She gives us homework which means I can continue her good work between visits and her enthusiasm and positive attitude towards Winston helps me tremendously. I would never have been able to help Winston without Leanne and it’s always fun coming to see her!”
Alfie was referred for physiotherapy when he was diagnosed with hip dyplasia. His owner, Donna, explains their experience coming for physiotherapy at Cromwell Vets.
“Alfie was diagnosed with hip dysplasia in 2013 and as a result the orthopaedic surgeon suggested that Alfie would benefit from physiotherapy. The physiotherapist contacted me at home, we had a brief discussion about Alfie’s history and an appointment was booked for the following week. The initial consultation focused on educating me and informing me about his diagnosis and how this impacted on Alfie at the time and for the foreseeable future. Lyndsay was honest but also very reassuring that there was a lot I could do to support Alfie in having the best quality of life. She assessed Alfie by talking to me and working direct physio on him, she was able to skill me from the start in exercises, adaptions to the home environment and techniques that I could use to build his muscles. A plan was put together with an exercise routine – which took into account the family dynamics – work commitments, where we lived etc. I am not exaggerating when I say the impact of this plan/routine had an amazingly positive impact on Alfie’s life with immediate effect. By skilling me with some basic information and skills we quickly fell into a routine. Alfie’s general mood appeared more positive, he was sleeping less, was walking so much better and now regularly – his quality of life improved 100 fold. I met Lyndsay weekly for about 10 weeks with his routine being tweaked according to how he presented, each time Lyndsay taking into account my views. By this time Alfie was barking to get into the room to have his physio session! In between sessions if I needed to clarify anything Lyndsay would happily take a phone call from me and alleviate any concerns I had. Alfie doesn’t need to go to physio weekly anymore however there have been times especially in the winter months when Alfie has attended further physio sessions to help support him with the colder months.
“I can’t express enough the gratitude I feel towards Lyndsay she transformed Alfie’s quality of life and decreased my anxiety. At this point in time with continued exercise and adaptions he quite possibly may get away with not having a hip replacement.
“Lyndsay’s excellent communication skills, ability to make me (and my family) and Alfie feel at ease and the skilled knowledge disseminated and physio intervention has resulted in a dog with a bright, healthy and optimistic future.”