Spinal Surgery Rehabilitation for K-9s

May 31, 2021 | ​​​​​​​

Canine spinal issues are more common than most pet owners realize. One of the most common causes is trauma or direct injury. Types of spinal injuries include disc rupture and vertebrae fracture, to name a few. Other causes of spinal problems are inflammatory and infectious diseases, tumors, and other health conditions. They usually take time to develop before signs and symptoms become noticeable. But the discomfort and impairment it causes can seriously impact your pet’s quality of life.


Treatment for spinal problems largely depends on the type of injury and how severe it is. For mild disc injuries, your veterinarian will likely only require plenty of rest and reduced activity. Limiting your pet’s mobility may also be prescribed for patients with degenerative disc disease. This will help avert paralysis. In some cases, a pet may require spinal surgery to prevent paralysis. In cases where the loss of movement or signs of disc disease are recurring, surgery is often the best treatment option. If paralysis occurs, don’t wait!  See your veterinarian or emergency veterinarian immediately.


The Role of Rehabilitation


Post-operative patients are the most obvious candidates for rehabilitation. In veterinary medicine, rehabilitation therapy is much like physical therapy in humans. There are significant differences, though, due to how animal’s anatomy varies from ours. Just like us, your dog will need more than just strict cage rest to completely recover from spinal surgery or other orthopedic procedures. Rehabilitation is the best treatment o help ease your pet back into their everyday life. The program is beneficial after surgery because of numerous reasons. They help with weight loss, reducing pain, and strengthening the muscles. Rehabilitation therapy sessions also provide mental stimulation and allow your dog to improve their balance and coordination.


What You Can Expect


During rehabilitation therapy, your dog will perform tasks and movements to help them recover from the surgery. Have your pet’s muscles begun to atrophy? Do they struggle with balance? If so, your rehabilitation practitioner will create a treatment plan specific to your dog’s needs. With the countless rehabilitation options available nowadays, there will be modalities that will be safe and effective at making your four-legged best friend feel better. Canine rehabilitation generally covers a wide range of services, such as stretching, therapeutic, proprioception, and range-of-motion exercises.

The rehabilitation plan may also include:


  • Cryotherapy

  • Acupuncture

  • Thermotherapy

  • Aquatic Therapy and swimming

  • Underwater treadmill therapy

  • Massage Therapy

  • Weight Management

  • Athletic Conditioning

  • Nutritional Counseling

  • Low-Level Laser Therapy

  • Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation


Is It Time to Start Rehabilitation for Your Dog?


The best time to start your pet’s rehabilitation therapy is immediately after the spinal surgery suture removal. The sooner you start your dog’s rehab, the better their chances of a successful recovery. Recovery times and the types of rehab therapies needed vary significantly, depending on many factors. Some canine patients come in daily. Others have to stay in the hospital for several days or weeks before they can be safely cared for at home.


Are you interested in learning more about spinal surgery and aftercare tips? Visit Tampa Bay K9 Rehabilitation Center today in St. Petersburg, Florida. Call us now at (727) 677-9500 to make an appointment.

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