\nDoes your pet have an injury, or did they undergo surgery? Subsequent animal physiotherapy could help. But what exactly does your animal have to do during these sessions?\nWhat is Physiotherapy?\nThe word physiotherapy is derived from:\n“Physis” - the real, the tangible, the nature\nNatural = physio\nTreatment - Therapy\nAnimal physiotherapy is already part of the standard care after surgeries in many countries such as England, France, the Netherlands and America. It represents an alternative as well as a useful addition to medical and surgical treatment of illnesses. The core of physiotherapy consists of exercise therapy and physiotherapy.\nPhysiotherapy goals\nPain inevitably leads to tension and a relieving posture, which can lead to further pain in other body parts. Once the vicious cycle has started, it is important to break it. Ther aim of physiotherapy is to achieve pain relief as quickly as possible. Joint stabilization, promotion of blood flow as well as muscle loosening and building up with an accompanying increase in mobility and performance in the form of improved endurance and fitness are the way to get there. Wellness treatments are also included.\nAll of this leads to an improvement in the quality of life and an increase in the joy of movement of your four-legged friend!\nWhen does your pet need physiotherapy?\nThere are some signs you can easily recognize. However, you see your animal every day and the changes in chronic pain patients are usually insidious and therefore often difficult to detect for the owner.\nYour powers of observation are required!\nPossible changes are:\n\nChanges in behaviour:\nInactivity, no longer likes to play, not even with other dogs (also aggressiveness)\nAvoids touching the owner (also when brushing \/ cleaning)\nFrequent “transferring” and restlessness \/ frequent switching from one leg to the other\nIncreased visits to warm and cold resting places\nSigns of possible pain \/ discomfort (yawning, licking, smacking)\nIntensive licking and gnawing of parts of the body\n\nIn motion:\n\nSluggish standing up or lying down\nGentle posture like curved back and tucked stomach\nHead and tail tilted\nKeeps the head low or nods head while moving\nClaws drag across the ground, limbs are not being lifted properly\nWalking at an angle (i.e. front and rear limbs are not "in the same lane")\nHorses and dogs can maintain one gait and keep getting faster\nVisible lameness\nHowling at certain movements\n\nAnimal physiotherapy is already being used successfully in the following areas:\n\nregeneration and rehabilitation after surgery\nto maintain and\/or improve movement in older or movement-restricted animals\nagainst congenital malformations of the musculoskeletal system and bad posture\ntreatment of diseases \/ a damaged nervous system\ndegenerative diseases of the joints and spine\nback problems such as spondylosis, calcifications and herniated discs\ndiseases of the muscles, ligaments and tendons\nmuscle atrophy \/ tension\ngait training \/ coordination\nbalance disorders\nedema (swelling \/ water retention)\nlameness\nchronic pain problems, pain reduction\nconditioning \/ strength training for sport animals\nfor overweight animals\nwith age-related problems (young animals and seniors)\nprevention and wellness\n\nThe role of nutrition in physiotherapy\nIn animal physiotherapy, the weight and nutrition of your animal play a similarly important role as in human training. For example, overweight dogs, cats or horses have significantly more problems with the musculoskeletal system than animals of normal weight. A first step in the prevention of impairment is to pay attention to the diet of your pet. If you are unsure whether you are feeding your little friend properly, take advantage of nutritional advice.\nWe also recommend natural food supplements that have a supportive effect on the joints. Green-lipped mussel capsules or powder have proven themselves very useful for joint problems and have a positive influence on the pet’s gait function.\nThe different techniques in animal physiotherapy\nEvery physical problem requires a different approach. As an animal physiotherapist, I discuss the possible treatment techniques with the animal owners beforehand. There are the following options to get your pet fit again:\n\nPhysiotherapy and manual therapies\n\nPhysiotherapy is used to mobilise, stretch, relax and to increase muscle strength, endurance and speed. In addition, there is gait and balance training as well as posture training and coordination. A distinction is made between passive and active movement. One speaks of passive movement when external forces such as the therapist, for example, carry out the movement of a limb. This is also called passive movement. If the patient performs a movement independently (= actively), then we are talking about active movement.\n\nMassages\n\nMassage is one of the oldest forms of therapy. The word "massage" is derived from the Greek word "massein" and means "to knead." Massages have a positive effect on:\n\nthe venous-lymphatic system\nthe blood circulation\nthe muscles\nthe psyche\n\nUnfortunately, there is currently a tendency towards self-help: over a few workshop days, pet owners should quickly learn a few moves to massage their pet themselves, which is not a problem with simple applications and can contribute to the animal's well-being. However, when it comes to advanced techniques, users cannot “feel their way” into the tissue, too much pressure is applied to the possibly painful problem areas and the desired effect is not achieved. In the worst case, this well-meaning self-help leads to severe discomfort in the animal and makes subsequent therapeutic measures more difficult.\n\nIndividual additional measures\n\nFurther therapeutic measures can be added depending on the individual medical history:\n\nThermotherapy (heat and cold)\nElectrotherapy (electricity)\nHydrotherapy (water)\nMuscle tapping\n\nAnimal physiotherapy does not end when leaving the therapist’s office\nIn order to achieve good therapy success, homework is particularly important. Pet owners do this at home after consultation with the therapist. In order to consolidate movement transitions in your dog, you practice with him e.g. sit-lie down, sit-stand and vice versa. It is important that the exercises are always carried out correctly, in a controlled manner and not too quickly. Discuss the specifics with your trusted therapist.\nControlled walks with the pet’s owner are also very important. The movement sequences learned can be trained and expanded on further. Possible challenges for your animal may be walking uphill or downhill, sand-walking etc.\nAnimal physiotherapy has become an indispensable part of veterinary medicine. With the right therapist, your pet has the chance to maintain its freedom of movement even after surgery, in old age or with certain restrictions.\nI wish you all the best for your therapy sessions!