Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation for Your Pet
Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center proudly offers physiotherapy and rehabilitation therapy to our patients after surgery and for those with chronic conditions or injury that physical rehabilitation therapy may improve. Our veterinarians can and do make the recommendations for physiotherapy which is provided on-site by our licensed veterinary technician, Denise Testa, LVT CCRP who is specially certified in canine rehabilitation therapy.
Physical rehabilitation therapy in animals uses many of the same principles and methods that human physical therapists use for their human patients. Physical rehabilitation therapy for humans or pets includes; the evaluation of the patient's condition, development of a treatment plan, and administering the treatment of the therapy. Physical rehabilitation therapists seek to relieve pain, improve the body's movement and function, and limit disability resulting from injury or disease. This is accomplished by use of the physical therapist's observation of posture, movement and use of the hands to feel and evaluate problem areas. Treatment may include the therapeutic use of hands, exercise, application of therapeutic techniques such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation, and education and training of the client to perform exercises at home, when needed. Both human and veterinary rehabilitation therapists have the same goal in mind. The goal is to return the patient back to "normal" musculoskeletal function and/or to a pain free state. Different modalities such as heat, cold, water, sound, electricity, massage, light and exercise can be used to promote healing of tissues, stimulate movement of muscles and joints.
Your veterinarian or ours may recommend physio therapy sessions and treatments after an orthopedic surgery, or to treat medical conditions that cannot be surgically treated. These may include muscle swellings or tissue damage due to trauma or injury, non-surgical neurologic conditions, muscle loss (atrophy) and osteoarthritis in aging patients. The rehabilitation therapist will design a program that is specific to the patient's condition based on the recommendation of the veterinarian. Together the therapist and the veterinarian will work with you, the pet owner, and the patient, your pet, to provide a regimen of exercises and recommended therapies. Your veterinarian may also prescribe medications and recommend nutritional support (often weight loss counseling) to help achieve the goals of therapy. The therapist will provide client education as well as teach you the exercises that can be used at home to provide continual care and improvement for the condition, and to provide comfort for the pet.
Denise Testa, LVT, CCRP
Denise is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati in Ohio and Medaille College in Buffalo. She became a licensed professional in New York State when she became a licensed veterinary technician in 1998. Her strong interest in animal physiotherapy led her to become a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner (CCPR) through the program at the University of Tennessee. Before joining the Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center, Denise practiced at the Animal Rehabilitation Center in Rochester, NY.
Denise is also certified in canine massage and has provided lectures and presentations on animal physiotherapy at Nazareth College, the American Federation of Aviculture and Association of Avian Veterinarians conferences as well as other local organizations.
In addition, Denise has been a New York State wildlife rehabilitator for eight years. Besides her day job of helping pets learn to walk again, Denise has supplied her services to a variety of wild feathered and furred creatures up and moving, using her expertise in physiotherapy.