Physical rehabilitation of the canine neurologic patient

Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract. 2010 Jan;40(1):181-93. doi: 10.1016/j.cvsm.2009.09.009.


Rehabilitation therapy is a key component of recovery from neurologic disease. Each patient requires a rehabilitation protocol designed specifically for the patient's neurologic condition, owner expectations and level of participation, and expertise of the veterinary team. Initial therapy for nonambualtory patients may include standing exercises, range of motion, pain control, toe pinch exercise, aquatic exercise, and basic nursing care. Sling assisted walking with foot protection, cavaletti rails, and physioroll balancing are used commonly for ambulatory patients. As recovery progresses, stair climbing, carrying or pulling weights, resistance band walking, swimming against resistance, and exercises specific to the home environment are added. Modalities such as electrical stimulation, ultrasound, cryotherapy, and heat therapy are useful adjuncts but do not take the place of active exercise.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dog Diseases / therapy*
  • Dogs
  • Nervous System Diseases / therapy
  • Nervous System Diseases / veterinary*
  • Patient Selection
  • Physical Therapy Modalities / veterinary*
  • Recovery of Function
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Veterinary Medicine / methods*