Animal Rehabilitation Clinic (ARC)

UCDVH Animal Rehabilitation Images

Like people, animals recovering from surgery or illness, along with those suffering from chronic conditions such as arthritis, benefit from rehabilitation.  At the UCDVH Animal Rehabilitation Clinic (ARC), patients suffering from a wide variety of musculo-skeletal and neurological conditions are treated.  Each patient undergoes a thorough assessment, and an individual rehabilitation programme is designed specifically to meet their needs and to facilitate a faster and safer return to health and mobility.

Physical Therapy

Animals respond extremely well to the gentle, non invasive approach of physical therapy.  Some of the benefits include:

  • Increased muscle strength and joint flexibility
  • Reduction of pain and promotion of healing
  • Improved mobility, balance and co-ordination

A rehabilitation programme will incorporate a combination of therapies including:

Show/hide contentOpenClose All

Massage therapy is an integral part of human physical therapy and is equally beneficial for our veterinary patients.  It helps to relieve muscle pain and tension, to improve circulation, to reduce swelling and to promote mental and physical relaxation.

Trigger points are focal areas of intense tenderness which can occur in tight bands of muscle or fascia. They occur for many reasons such as overuse, disuse or misuse of a muscle.  When compressed, they produce pain locally and can also refer pain away from themselves to other areas of the body.  They can cause muscle pain, weakness, lameness and can restrict movement.

Myofascial disorders are those concerning the soft tissue structures of the body specifically muscles, tendons, fascia and nerves.  They can manifest as restricted flexibility, pain on movement, reduced muscle power and pain on palpation.  Using specific myofascial techniques, these symptoms can be successfully treated.

This is the application of specific exercises and movements for diagnostic and/or therapeutic purposes.  Passive exercises are performed as the patient relaxes.  They are used to assess joint mobility, to maintain joint flexibility and to stretch contracted joint capsules, ligaments and tendons.  Active exercises are used to assess joint mobility and muscle strength, to maintain joint range of movement and to stretch or strengthen muscles.  Resisted exercises are used to lengthen and strengthen muscles, improve joint range of movement and to relieve muscle tension.

The therapeutic use of hot or cold agents can be extremely beneficial during rehabilitation.  Superficial heat therapy is used to increase blood flow to a targeted area, to relax tense muscles, to reduce muscle spasm and to reduce pain.  Cryotherapy (superficial cold therapy) can be used to reduce swelling, inflammation, muscle spasm and to relieve pain.

A home exercise plan is tailored to meet the ongoing needs of each patient.  The owner will be instructed on how to perform specific exercises and manual therapies on their pet.  The patient will be closely monitored and the plan adapted as their needs change.

Some of the Clinical Conditions treated at the ARC include:

Post Orthopaedic Surgery

  • Cruciate ligament repair
  • Total hip replacement
  • Femoral head ostectomy
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Osteochondrosis
  • Fracture repair

Rehabilitation after neurological injury (with appropriate clinical signs)

  • Post spinal surgery
  • Fibrocartilaginous embolism
  • Degenerative myelopathy

Muscle strengthening and improved joint function

  • Arthritis
  • Spondylosis
  • Hip / elbow dysplasia
  • Muscular strains / sprains
  • Tendon contracture

Weight loss

  • Nutritional advice

Making an Appointment

Appointments are strictly on a referral basis only. If your vet decides your animal is a suitable candidate for physical therapy, ask him/her to refer you to the ARC at the UCDVH. You can then telephone the ARC to schedule an appointment (you must have a referral letter from your veterinary practice).  ARC staff will contact your vet after the first series of treatment sessions and will provide your vet with regular progress updates.

Email: / Telephone: (01) 716 6031