Frequently Asked Questions

Q. My vet recommended I bring my dog/cat to you. How do we start?

A. We’re glad you called. The first step is a consultation exam with one of our rehab veterinarians. This functional exam takes about an hour. The doctor begins by doing a series of physical and neurological tests and range of motion and muscle mass measurements. We discuss lifestyle, mobility issues, nutrition, supplements, pain control, and your goals. From there, we develop a rehab program that works for you time-wise and financially. The doctor will create a customized strengthening plan of exercises we teach you to do at home. If specific therapies are recommended here at the clinic, we provide you of an estimate of costs so you can plan accordingly. From here on, our staff is there for you every step of the way, and we tailor our plans to your needs and your pet’s personality and specific situation.

Q. I’m worried about cost. Is rehab affordable?

A. Although we are a specialty clinic and our rehab veterinarians are leaders in their field, we, as pet owners ourselves, understand the financial strain of caring for a pet in need of rehabilitation. We accept Care Credit, offer discounted treatment packages, and work with you to the best of our ability to help you afford the care your pet needs.

Q. Do I need a referral from my regular veterinarian?

A. A referral from your regular veterinarian, while preferable, isn’t necessary. We will be in contact with your regular vet throughout the duration of your pet’s rehabilitation so they remain up to date on what we’re doing and your pet’s progress.

Q. How long do exams or treatments take, and how often do I have to come?

A. Consultation exams, depending on the condition, usually take 1-1 1⁄2 hours. Treatments typically range between 15-30 minutes.

Q. How does rehab prevent injury?

A. Prevention of injury is important. This is especially true when recovering from injury, as the healthy legs have to take increased strain and are at risk of further injury. Rehabilitation is important for strengthening and to increase flexibility.

Just like us, dogs can be predisposed to favor one side; they may always turn the same way and depend on the stronger side. This predisposes to injury on the weaker side and lack of flexibility. Correcting these imbalances is helpful in any individual, but it is critical in athletes.

Q. Why not swim my dog for rehab?

A. Rehabilitation with the underwater treadmill increases leg flexion (bending) with near normal extension (straightening) of the leg. Swimming only increases flexion. The underwater treadmill allows a dog to strengthen the correct muscles for movement on the ground. For example, if you were a gymnast, you would not use a bicycle to practice your routine.

Q. Do you treat cats?

A. Yes we do! We have several happy feline patients who have recovered or shown marked improvement with therapy. We try to avoid water therapy with cats but there are many other techniques and modalities that can be used to speed healing and to regain mobility.

Q. Can I drop my pet off for treatment and pick him/her up later?

A. Yes. The daycare fee is $15.

Q. What is cruciate disease (ACL or CCL tear)?

A. The dog’s knee is a joint that relies on stabilizing structures including the cranial (anterior) cruciate ligament. As the knee flexes and more importantly extends, the cruciate plays an essential role in limiting the movement of the bones in the joint. The dog, unlike us, stands with his knee at an angle, therefore the cruciate is always under tension to keep the bones together. When the ligament is diseased, it frays and eventually ruptures. This results in a very unstable joint. The cause of most cruciate tears is unknown, 95% are known to be from some sort of degenerative process and only 5% are due to trauma.

Joint instability causes inflammation and eventually arthritis. The hamstring muscles spasm in an attempt to hold things together, but they cannot replace the action of the ligament. There are three main procedures performed when surgery is determined necessary:

TPLO and TTA involve changing the angle of the lower bone (tibia) to alter the mechanical movement of the joint and so provide stability

The extracapsular suture technique uses a length of very strong fiber to anchor the joint.
All three techniques can have excellent results; talk to a surgeon about the right choice for your pet.

After surgery, the dog needs to “re-learn” how to use the joint in the new stable position. This involves conscious movement and also muscle memory, which is only established after repeated correct exercise. Rehabilitation has been shown to improve and speed recovery after these surgical procedures.

Q. My dog has a torn ACL and surgery is not an option. What can we do?

A. We can help. If your dog is not a surgical candidate, we have several options for building and maintaining strength, stabilization, and mobility, managing pain, and getting your dog back to the best possible quality of life.