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Working with cavaletti poles helps
our patients  recover from orthopedic
and spinal surgery
If you have a major orthopedic surgery or sports injury yourself, the first thing your doctor does is recommend physical therapy.  Why do anything less for your pet?  Pet rehabilitation is now a mainstream treatment option.  Rehabilitation can mean pain relief, increased mobility, and an improved quality of life.  For our postoperative surgical patients, it can mean a faster and more complete recovery to normal function.

We recommend rehabilitation for:

  • Aiding recovery from orthopedic surgery or injury
  • Pain management
  • Return to sports
  • Improved geriatric therapy
  • Weight management.

Rehabilitation patients have a thorough assessment performed by Dr. Lawrence at their first appointment.  Dr. Lawrence has been a Board-Certified Veterinary Surgeon since 1993 and a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist since 2010.  Her experience as a specialist surgeon is invaluable in assessing patients for rehabilitation.  Each patient has a thorough orthopedic and neurologic examination performed by Dr. Lawrence at the pet’s first appointment, and during therapy as needed.  After the initial assessment, Dr. Lawrence and Carrie plan a custom made program for each pet, which is reassessed regularly as the patient progresses.  Carrie has been a certified veterinary technician since 2005 and has had a keen interest in rehabilitation for many years.  She received her qualification as a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Assistant in 2010, and is a vital part of the rehabilitation team.  Carrie performs all the modalities and exercises under Dr. Lawrence’s supervision.

Our rehabilitation center is well equipped with an underwater treadmill, cold laser therapy (Class 3B and Class 4), extracorporeal shock wave therapy, muscle stimulation units, balance balls, therabands, wobble-boards, magnetic field blankets and cavaletti poles.  Manual therapy, exercises, and owner participation are a vital part in the rehabilitation process.

The frequency of rehabilitation sessions depends on the problem being treated, but in most cases two to three times a week is ideal.  Sessions can either be by appointment, or for your convenience, you can drop your pet off for a half day.

Rehabilitation Modalities Available at VSC:


Underwater Treadmill (UWTM)

Underwater treadmill

It is frequently observed that animals that will not use a limb on land will use it in the water.  When the patient walks on the UWTM they tend to move their limbs using an exaggerated range of motion, providing additional therapeutic benefits.  Variables such as speed, resistance, and depth of water can be controlled which allows for a consistently progressive therapy plan. 

Benefits of UWTM  therapy include:

  • Strengthens the patient's muscles in an environment of little to no pressure on the joints, due to the buoyancy of the water.
  • When placed in a warm water environment, UWTM also increases flexibility, mobility, and contractility of the muscles, as well as circulation. 
  • Earlier return to normal function and exercise after surgery.
  • Strengthening of the muscles surrounding painful joints in arthritic patients
  • Weight loss
  • Conditioning


Laser therapy being performed on a
postoperative spinal patient


Laser Therapy


  • Arthritis treatment
  • Speeds the healing process (wounds, postoperative soft tissue, orthopedic and spinal surgery, sprains and strains)
  • Reduces pain and inflammation
  • Reduces trigger points and knots in the muscle
  • Helps break down scar tissue



Neuromuscular stimulation helps to
improve muscle mass
Neuromuscular Stimulation
  • Strengthens the muscles
  • Maintains and improves muscle mass
  • Helps decrease joint effusion, pain, and swelling


Magnetic Mat
  • Pain relief from injuries, joints and surgeries
  • Stimulates bone healing
  • Most of our modalities are performed with your pet on the magnetic mat


Manual Therapies and Therapeutic Exercises

Exercises are an important part of the rehabilitation services we provide.  An exercise may be as simple as doing passive-range-of-motion (PROM) to improve or maintain joint flexibility, to ambulation exercises to retrain an animal to walk.  Exercises are often devised specifically for each individual patient, so it is difficult to explain all the exercises we may prescribe for a patient.   Types of exercises include:

  • Passive range of motion (PROM) exercises increase nutrition availability to the joint cartilage, stimulate new cartilage production, and are used to increase range of motion at the joint.
  • Carrie works with Kylie on the stability ball
  • Stretching exercises increase circulation and muscle flexibility
  • Proprioceptive exercises are exercises used to help the animal know where their feet are in space.
  • Strengthening exercises (stairs, underwater treadmill, sit to stand exercises, etc.) are used to strengthen individual muscles or muscle groups.
  • Weight shifting exercises are exercises used to help the animal shift their weight to the affected limb or side to make the animal walk more balanced.
  • Ambulation exercises are exercises used to re-educate a paretic animal (weak from neurologic disease) how to walk

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT)

VSC is the only facility in the area providing ESWT.  This modality uses high-energy sound waves - called pulses or shock waves - to stimulate and speed the body's own healing process.  These sound waves release higher energy and result in deeper penetration than ultrasound or laser, for example.  The waves travel through soft tissue at different depth, to a specific treatment area and begin healing. 


These high-energy sound waves stimulate cells and release healing growth factors in the body that reduce inflammation and swelling, increase blood flow, help bones to form and heal and enhance wound healing.  At VSC we use EWST to treat the following:


  • Arthritis, hip dysplasia, and elbow dysplasia
  • Tendon and ligament injuries, tendonitis, shoulder instability
  • Back pain, Lumbosacral disease
  • Superficial wounds and lick granulomas
  • Non-union and delayed union fractures


Massage Therapy
  • Reduces pain and muscle tension
  • Increases blood flow and improves oxygen delivery
  • Accelerates muscle recovery
  • Relieves distress, anxiety and discomfort