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Dog & Cat Rehabilitation

Expanding the physical potential of your pet and helping them recover more quickly.

Are you looking to improve your dog or cat's physical agility and quality of life? Rehabilitation services may be what you're looking for! This type of service involves a range of therapies and treatments designed to improve the mobility, function, and quality of life for pets that have undergone surgery or suffered an injury or illness. It can be beneficial for a range of conditions. If you ever have any concerns as to whether your pet would benefit from rehabilitation, then please call us at 204-728-0033.

How will my dog or cat benefit from animal rehabilitation?

Like human rehabilitation, there are many health benefits to this type of therapy. It is tailored to each pet's individual needs and health status to ensure your pet recovers to its full physical potential and stays healthy throughout their life. Some ways that your pet can benefit from rehabilitation include:

  • Improved mobility and function
  • Reduced pain and inflammation
  • Faster recovery
  • Increased strength and flexibility
  • Improved mental well-being

Is my dog or cat a candidate for rehabilitation?

Pets of all ages, sizes, and breeds can benefit from rehabilitation. However, whether your pet is a candidate depends on their individual health status, medical history, and current condition. In general, pets that have undergone surgery or suffered an injury or illness that has affected their mobility and function can benefit from rehabilitation services. This can include pets with orthopedic injuries, neurological disorders, and chronic pain.

What types of rehabilitation services are available for dogs and cats?

There are several types of rehabilitation services available for pets, and the specific services recommended will depend on your pet's specific condition and needs. Below are some treatment options offered at Grand Valley Animal Clinic.

  • Cryotherapy
  • Massage Therapy
  • Therapeutic Exercise
  • Therapeutic Laser
  • Thermotherapy
  • Underwater Treadmill



The application of a superficial cold source over an injury or area of the body that is in the stage of healing and recovery.

Commonly used in conjunction with other treatments.

Causes vasoconstriction, slowing down the metabolic rate of tissue reactions, reducing inflammation, swelling, muscle spasms, excess fluid build-up in the tissue and pain.

Most commonly used in the acute inflammatory phase after tissue trauma (for example orthopedic surgery) typically up to 72hrs after injury.

Can be used in later healing stages to minimise inflammation after therapeutic exercises. 

Massage Therapy

Massage Therapy

The therapeutic application of hands-on tissue techniques to the muscles. Helps to increase circulation, reduce muscle spasm, relieve tension, enhance muscle tone, promote healing and increase range of motion.

Can be used to:

  • Superficial massage can be used to increase local circulation and warm tissue to minimize pain and stiffness prior to exercise.
  • Realign damaged muscle fibres.
  • Relax the patient in preparation for other treatments. 

Therapeutic Exercise

Therapeutic Exercise

This is the cornerstone of physical rehabilitation with many benefits and uses in a variety of conditions.
Exercises are designed to improve strengthening, flexibility, range of motion and balance. Each program is designed individually for the pet and exercises are chosen based on your pet’s requirements and can be designed to target individual muscles or muscle groups.

Benefits of therapeutic exercise:

  • Improved cartilage/ligament healthy
  • Improved muscle mass/strength
  • Prevent or reverse osteoporosis, increase circulation
  • Decrease pain
  • Reduce obesity
  • Improved function and mobility

Therapeutic Laser

Therapeutic Laser

LASER stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. This is an infrared light that penetrates the skin and stimulates the tissues with low energy laser to achieve a therapeutic effect.

At the cellular level, the laser increases the energy of the cell, improve oxidation the cell, increase circulation, release growth factors and stimulate stem cells in the area. Overall, this decreases swelling, improving blood/lymph flow and stimulating wound healing as well as reducing pain by releasing endorphins which are the body’s own natural feel good hormones.

Therapeutic laser can be uses to treat many conditions including: post-surgical pain/inflammation, sprains, ligament/tendon injuries, joint pain such as osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia, acute/chronic ear issues, “slipped discs”, skin conditions such as Lick Granulomas, hot spots, anal gland rupture and wounds.

Therapeutic laser is NOT the same as surgical laser as it uses a specific wavelength for healing and pain relief. No skin is burned or cut and the pet does not feel any pain.




The use of a superficial heat source to apply heat to an affected area such as an injury or area that is in the stage of healing/recovery. Often used in conjunction with other veterinary treatments.

Enhances healing by increasing the circulation and metabolic rate of tissues at the area to increase the delivery of nutrients and removal of waste products from the affected area.

Effective at providing pain relief, reducing inflammation and promoting relaxation.

Often used to warm tissues prior to exercise/stretching as it increases the extensibility of the tissue to allow for greater flexibility and more effective stretching.

Underwater Treadmill

Underwater Treadmill

Aquatic therapy is now a very important part of rehabilitations for many pets. Originally used in racehorses, it was discovered that they recovered more quickly if they swam as part of their rehabilitation. Following this, underwater treadmills were designed first for horses and then humans and now pets, where it has become a very valuable tool in rehabilitation.

Hydrotherapy has been proven to be effective-the buoyancy of the water decreases the forces on the joints to reduce weight bearing on joints and surgical repairs, as well as providing resistance as the animal moves to improve conditioning.

Even after one session on the underwater treadmill, increased weight bearing on land can be observed and most patients are more likely to use an affected limb when using the underwater treadmill. 

Benefits include: 

  • Improved recovery time post surgery
  • Improved range of motion
  • Muscle strengthening
  • Weight loss
  • Conditioning
  • Endurance
  • Improved Cardiovascular Fitness

Our treadmill water is also warmed to assist in pain reduction, increasing blood flow and circulation and increase the elasticity of the soft tissues. The height of the water and the speed can be adjusted to accommodate different sizes of animals and their specific needs.

Hydrotherapy is usually enjoyable to most dogs and can be used to treat many conditions, including:

  • Post op recovery (cruciate surgeries, patella surgeries, fracture repair)
  • Neurologic conditions
  • Tendon/ligament injuries
  • Overweight/arthritic and senior dogs
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Spondylosis

Even dogs that don’t have a specific condition can benefit from the increased level of fitness provided by aquatic therapy.


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