Q. As the pet population ages, what breeds (dogs and cats) are most susceptible to orthopedic conditions?
A. Large and giant breeds all have problems as they age, including cruciate rupture, hip dysplasia, etc. We're seeing a whole
new realm of injuries that probably existed to some degree before. However, with better diagnostic techniques, such as MRIs,
we can identify more soft-tissue disease in agility dogs for example. The possibilities for medical treatment are increasing.
Q. What are some of the most significant benefits of physical therapy?
A. Some immediate benefits are reduced pain, earlier and better use of the limb and fewer deleterious changes, such as bone
atrophy or weakening of ligaments and tendons. All of these issues are prominent without rehabilitation and can be devastating.
Prevention is key with recovery. You want to improve limb use and improve function, and the amount of activity is key to these
More practitioners are beginning to realize the benefits of such therapy. Also, from a consumer standpoint, the popular press
and magazines are realizing that more of this therapy is being done on behalf of animals. As a result, more consumers are
asking the practitioner, "What about rehabilitation?" Many have had rehab themselves, and it makes sense to them.
Q. Any other comments?
A. In terms of education, I'd like to mention that the University of Tennessee has a certificate program in canine rehabilitation
that veterinarians, veterinary technicians and physical therapists can go through to gain more education on the modality.