The majority of the greyhounds rehomed by Friends of the Hound (FoTH) are ex-racing dogs. Their lives have consisted of little more than training and racing. As a result, many are carrying long standing injuries that need to be dealt with before being rehomed. Fixing these problems isn’t just about getting the right surgery but is also about pre and post-surgical physiotherapy and the correct aftercare to allow these dogs to fulfil long and happy lives with the minimum of discomfort. As a Physiotherapist I have the honour of working with these wonderful creatures and together with the FoTH team, vets, foster carers and new owners, I am able to make a difference to the quality of their lives, build strength, flexibility and confidence.
What is Physiotherapy and Does My Dog Need It?
Physiotherapy uses physical methods, such as joint and soft tissue mobilisation, massage, exercise, electrotherapy, acupuncture, and heat and cold therapies to promote healing and restore function. Post injury, it is essential to improve balance, co-ordination, proprioception (awareness of where one is in space) and muscle control. Research shows that by improving proprioception, the risk of repetitive injury significantly reduces.
Just like us, from time to time our dogs may experience pain and stiffness in their bodies as a result of wear and tear or from injuries acquired in every day life. It is essential that we deal with these issues at the earliest opportunity to ensure that the appropriate treatment commences. Very often such issues can be addressed within a session or two. For those dogs who entered the FoTH program with more substantial injuries, it is advised that contact with your Physiotherapist occurs for the long term. This may mean two or three visits each year to ensure everything is progressing well, or more frequently when the issue is more acute. Your Physiotherapist is skilled at picking up minor functional issues you may have not even noticed and addressing them early on. Whilst Physiotherapists do provide ‘hands on’ therapy, much of our role is to guide you through progressive exercises and potential changes in the home/ exercise habits in order to reduce the risk of further harm or discomfort to your dog.
Why Use a Physiotherapist?
Physiotherapists working in Animal Therapy are human-trained Physiotherapists who have undertaken additional animal physiotherapy post-graduate training and hold MSc or Post-Graduate Diplomas in Animal/Veterinary Physiotherapy. Check out your Physiotherapist’s credentials as some ‘animal/ canine physios’ are working without actually being qualified.
Physiotherapists adhere to strict codes of clinical practice as outlined by the Physiotherapy Board of Australia and the Australian Veterinary Association. Physiotherapists at Four Paws Physiotherapy are covered by Professional and Public Liability Insurance and are properly registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)
What Conditions Respond to Physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy is commonly used for dogs with a variety of musculoskeletal and neurological problems including spinal pathology, osteoarthritis, and muscle and ligament injuries. Greyhounds with orthopaedic conditions such as elbow dysplasia, ligament injuries, spinal injuries, limb amputation and fractures also significantly benefit from regular treatment in order to manage their condition. Elderly dogs also respond well to physiotherapy as the aim is to keep them strong and supple in their golden years. Over the coming weeks many of the common conditions, injuries, and surgical procedures commonly seen in Greyhounds will be explored in order to give you a better understanding of what your dog may have gone through or be living with.
If you have any questions or topics you would like me to cover, please don’t hesitate to email me at email@example.com or you can call me on 0423 493 130. There are several Physiotherapists working in canine Physiotherapy from Canberra to the Sunshine Coast. If you wish to find a Physiotherapist in your area, please feel free to contact me and I will do my best to help you out. I am based on the Sunshine Coast.
I look forward to exploring some of these issues our dogs face and how together we can improve their lives.
Lynne Harrison APAM MCSP ACPAT Cat.A