Evidence for canine rehabilitation and physical therapy

Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract. 2015 Jan;45(1):1-27. doi: 10.1016/j.cvsm.2014.09.001.


This article reviews some important studies regarding canine physical rehabilitation. Bones, cartilage, muscles, ligaments, and tendons undergo atrophy if loading is decreased. Knowledge of the changes that occur with immobilization and the time course of events helps in the development of a rehabilitation program to improve tissue integrity. Outcome assessment instruments are clinically useful indicators of patient progress and the success of rehabilitation programs. A number of physical modalities are used in canine rehabilitation, although there are relatively few canine-specific studies. Rehabilitation has specific benefits in the treatment of various orthopedic and neurologic conditions.

Keywords: Canine rehabilitation; Evidence-based medicine; Musculoskeletal tissue disuse; Neurologic rehabilitation; Orthopedic rehabilitation; Outcome assessment; Physical Therapy; Physical modalities; Therapeutic and aquatic exercises.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dog Diseases / therapy*
  • Dogs
  • Physical Therapy Modalities / veterinary*
  • Veterinary Medicine / methods*