Physical rehabilitation for pets applies 100 years of human evidence-based therapy techniques to animal patients to restore optimal function after injury or disease. These techniques have pioneered the use of physical therapy methods to help minimize disability and prevent further deteriorations by providing client education and individual home-care programs, intense neurological rehabilitation, orthopedic injury treatment, pain management, sports medicine for the animal athlete, wound care, weight loss, wellness and prevention programs, and non-surgical options.
In human medicine, physical therapists must be educated and licensed. “This is not the case in veterinary medicine,” notes Tammy Wolfe, PT, CFP, CCRP, a physical therapist at VCA Alameda East Veterinary Hospital in Denver, Colorado. According to Wolfe, several other countries require animal PTs to be educated, credentialed, and licensed before they can practice. However, because of the newness of the field in the U.S., credentialing and licensing of animal PTs is lagging behind. Wolfe hopes this important step toward professionalism is coming soon.¹
¹American Animal Hospital Associations, Pets Matter, October/November 2008