Principles and applications of therapeutic exercises for small animals

Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract. 2015 Jan;45(1):73-90. doi: 10.1016/j.cvsm.2014.09.005.


Therapeutic exercises are the cornerstone of the rehabilitation programs of companion animals. Therapeutic exercises are used to improve active joint range of motion, to improve weight bearing and limb use, to build strength and muscle mass, and to increase conditioning (eg, endurance, speed). Each case is unique as chronicity, type of injury, patient signalment and temperament, owner compliance, and level of required functional recovery vary widely. Therapeutic exercises are also essential for partial return to work or performance and to learn to perform activities of daily living after injury or surgery.

Keywords: Balance; Endurance; Proprioception; Strengthening; Therapeutic exercise; Underwater treadmill.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Pets*
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal / methods*
  • Physical Therapy Modalities / veterinary*
  • Veterinary Medicine / methods*