Rehabilitation Steps After Pet Injury – 3 Steps

Pepper, a medium-sized black dog doing rehabilitation walks after rupturing her calcanean or Achilles tendon
Pepper Ruptured Calcanean Tendon

Three Steps After Pet Injury:

Here are short instructions for rehabilitation steps after pet injury and, hopefully you have already sought a diagnosis from your pet’s veterinarian for that injury. Please have your pet evaluated by a veterinarian if you have not done so already. When you do that, we may all have a working diagnosis and then hopefully be on the right track for your pets recovery.

I do also work on lots of cats, as well as a variety of other animals. For this reason, I often use the word “pets” instead of only using “dogs”. If you want to know more about cat or horse specifics right now (because I haven’t finished developing those info pages), please search the word cat or horse in the search box.

Where Does This Rehab Fit In?

These recommendations also work if your pet isn’t moving as well as they used to because of arthritis or advanced age, for instance, and you would like to help them become stronger.

It is very possible that your veterinarian does not know about this style of rehabilitation, and that’s not unusual or due to any error on their part. People ask me about this, so here is one of many possible answers:

I developed my rehab protocol based primarily on human exercise physiology, sports injury recovery, and principles of neuroscience, in collaboration with veterinary clinical and medical protocol. I also designed it to be performed by anyone in a small animal clinic or home-based, which was a completely new idea when I began my rehabilitation service.

For more specific info on a particular injury or diagnosis, please see the menu on this site or use the search box on this site. For more info on what pet rehabilitation is and what some of my qualifications are, please read this page or this page.

1) Get the right book with a successful plan for you to use at home or in the veterinary clinic.

Foundations:

The information in this booklet about torn ligament recovery without surgery also serves as a GREAT foundation-building, functional recovery base for older pets that have lost muscle mass & strength. The information is also what I use to build a base for pets that have lost proprioceptive abilities. This means they have lost the ability to maintain balance and know where they are physically in relation to their environment.

The four-week foundational program in this booklet is often what I use to help older dogs that are slipping on the floor of the house. They might also be having trouble rising from their bed or the floor, and/or are tripping over the doggie door threshold. This foundational program has helped many to improve their function at home.

You have to start with a specific foundation though, at the beginning, to make sure your pet has a solid base to improve upon and to help offset additional injury.

Right now I have published one book containing information about helping your pet build a foundational base through four progressive weeks of your work with them after injury. This is the book, then, to get you started and the one to order if your pet has lost any degree of function, especially in their hind end. Back end. Rear drive train.

This book is specifically addressing torn knee ligaments, yet until I am able to publish the books I am working on that deal with hip issues, other knee issues, elbows, old age/arthritis, and spinal issues, this book will help you help your pet with those issues, too. This book contains the restrictions and advice I would give to get you started after almost any orthopedic injury or diminished functional condition.

…And, Before All Else:

Please pay attention to the discharge instructions your veterinarian has given you if your pet just had surgery or you have received instruction regarding your pet’s injury. 

Please pay special attention to the part about no running, jumping, or playing.

If you follow my booklet instructions, you and your pet will be doing appropriate work toward recovery and should/will not be causing any harm. And, again, no running or jumping or playing!

You may use the directions I give to you on this site for allowable activity. And you should restrict any activity beyond my or your vet’s instructions for your injured or recovering pet. I repeat this forty dozen times because most of my clients, as well as I, have paid the price of cutting corners or eliminating information that is new to us. Because, information bias.

Injury Evaluation:

Your pet’s veterinarian really needs to evaluate most injuries sooner than later, even if you think you know exactly what the problem is.

I also recommend you do this as early in the week as possible, in the happy event that your pet injured themselves on a Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday! It sure will be a lot easier on you and your pet if you don’t have to contend with a Saturday or Sunday emergency clinic visit!

Moving On:

If you are using my programs, please do not add on additional work you or your acquaintances come up with until you have at least passed the four-week foundation with gold stars!

Please follow all the instructions for the best outcome. And,  Please do not, don’t,add swimming (no swimming yet), stairs (no stairs yet), hill repeats (no hill repeats yet), poles (no poles yet), cavalettis (no cavalettis yet), or any other dynamic activity.

Your pet may seem to be doing great and may seem to you like she/he is healed, especially if they have good pain medication, but I can assure you that biologically the minimum amount of time for soft tissue recovery is on average 8-12 weeks.

Some injuries and conditions take up to, and even over, a year to heal well (nerve damage, torn muscles, etc…), so please don’t get ahead of your pet’s recovery by using programs that don’t relate to biological recovery science and that push dynamic exercises prior to laying a good foundation and seeing progressive healing. I’ve encountered complications from hundreds of cases where people skipped steps needed to lay a solid foundation of healing, stability, and strength.

After the base is built, then always there are additional strengthening and proprioceptive drills to be done in order to return your pet to a better quality of movement and lifestyle!

Conservative treatment after torn knee ligament, instead of surgery:

Booklet on Amazon, and you should be able to order from any bookseller by using the ISBN, 978-0615900476 .

Also, if the injury you are concerned about is a torn knee ligament in your dog, then please click here to read more info (then return to the instructions on this page!).

2) In addition to thoroughly reading any of the above info, please watch > this video twice, and begin to do this massage daily for a month.

Please watch the video to see my recommendations on method of use for massager unit AND so you will hopefully have success introducing the buzzy massager.

I recommend that you watch it 2x, mostly because there is a lot of dialogue and I give a lot of instructions. Often clients miss some important details because they are thinking about the information they just heard and are processing. Maybe watch it five times.

As of 2023 this massage video is not monetized. I recommend you watch it several times because I find that I often also miss important bits when I’m listening to or watching vids; at some point I realize I missed a big chunk of info while I was processing another chunk of info.

Most of my clients report doing the same thing. I find this out when I show up for a recheck at the house and see that they have a rando, willy-nilly massage technique. The technique I recommend is a beneficial process with specificity of method :-).

I also wrote instructions on in the info under the video, if you want to know more.

Here is what the massager looks like,

and if you click on the picture or this link, you may buy it on Amazon if you choose.

I put additional information in the written instructions under the video about other places you might purchase this particular massager . I am often asked if this massager or that massager will work, and the answer is, “no, not as well”. There are “we love science” reasons for my choices.

3) If your pet is still limping 5-7 days or more after surgery, please read this > pain post < all the way through!

There is more on the topic of pain within the books-

Check out other resources under the “Rehab Resources & Tools” link in the menu under the website title at the top or by clicking here.

Blessings-
Rehabdeb

I may receive a small amount of USD from purchases you make using the links to Amazon on this site that I have provided. My receiving this small percentage does not increase your purchase price, as you probably already know 🙂

 

(Updated November 16, 2023. First posted on this site April, 2015)

How Do I Find Help for My Pet on This Site?

There is a lot of information on this site!

I have posted a lot of information about rehabilitation for pets on this site. You should find directions that are very helpful to you and your pet’s situation, even if I don’t directly answer your specific question yet on this site.

  • In the menu section you should see a few question-based topics. If you see what you want, click on the topic.
  • There are detailed choices under each topic. You should see cascading menus with many choices.
  • If you don’t want to read all the available choices (I’ve tried to condense them), then just skip to the search box and try searching a couple of your ideas.
cat with neurological problems in a harness and cart I built to help teach her to walk again
Tiny the Cat in Her Mobility Mover

More Tools-

I have also made posts for you to see some of the products I use to work on healing and recovery with your pet. I will be adding to the helpful tools section as time allows and when I find products that truly work in the field.

A lot of tools and ideas marketed to people for pet rehabilitation are a waste of time and money. I want to help you to streamline your rehab work and use tools that really work to help your pet!

Check out the list of the top five posts people read on this site. This list is to the right of posts on a desktop/tv and at the very bottom of the page on phones or tablets.

I will be adding to the choices of conditions on my injury and surgery pages. I have explained more on those pages about how to use the rehab steps to help you with your pets orthopedic or neurological problem diagnosis.

Saint Bernard in a cart to help support her while she walks

The Website and My Work-

I write all of my own posts, design all rehab programs for clients, perform most of the IT work on this site, oversee IT messes & posts on all my other social media, manage client communications, and perform *all* the other work associated with running a business. It’s very time-consuming, as you may know, and I don’t have administrative help/support. I don’t update this site as much or fast as I’d like to. There are lots of IT errors and there are lots of topics I have yet to cover! Now I’m working on streamlining this site as fast as I am able while I play catch-up 🙂 Thanks for your patience! If you would like to contact me, please go to this page.

Rehabdeb

Updated June 28, 2018

Books for After Surgery: Functional Recovery and Rehabilitation

Has your pet had surgery? Do you need a rehabilitation plan to follow at home?

Then take a moment to look over this site, follow the instructions on the surgery page, and stay calm and thoughtful about your work with your pet.

This book is the program to follow to begin recovery after most orthopedic or neurological surgeries.

Rehabilitation after surgery for torn knee ligament:

Click on THIS LINK, and you should be directed to Amazon in your country, unless you live in these countries – Australia, Brasil, India, Mexico, Nederland , in which case you should click on the name of your country ^^ to be taken to the book.

(available on Kindle and in paperback, and you may order the paperback through any bookseller by using the ISBN 978-0615905358)

Some Reviews About the Books…

(click ^^)

 

Conservative Treatment Books: Instead of or Before Surgery (Pre-hab):

This book is the program to follow to begin recovery for most orthopedic or muscular injuries! This includes hip problems, ankle problems, and others.

Has your pet been injured, and it’s not “life or death”? A torn knee ligament, hip dysplasia, and luxating kneecaps are examples of “not life or death”.

Then take a moment to look over this site, follow the instructions on the “injured” page, and take a deep breath!

This book is the program to follow to begin recovery for most orthopedic or muscular injuries!

Conservative treatment after torn knee ligament, instead of or prior to surgery:

booklet with instructions for you to follow with your dog after injury, instead of surgery or prior to surgery

(click on the THIS LINK, and you should be directed to Amazon in your country, unless you live in these countries –  Australia, Brasil, India, Mexico, Nederland = you should click on the name of your country to be taken to the book).

(available on Kindle and in paperback, and you may order the paperback through any bookseller)

Some Reviews…

A Few Amazon reviews I took time to copy/paste here for you (additional testimonials are above, in the Feedback section):

“I’ve known Deborah Carroll for several years and she has worked with us rehabbing our 90lb Hound/Lab mix. I have always found her to be chock full of great scientific information in rehabbing your pet and the booklet simplifies all that into simple to understand protocol and reasons to follow the protocol to help your dog. Short read but well worth it. I love it!”
D.B., Amazon Review

“The book easily outlines a plan to rehabilitate your dog from a knee injury. I now feel like there is hope for his long term recovery. Thanks Deb!”
Amazon Review

“Using the methods described in this book, we were able to completely rehabilitate our Labrador retriever from a torn ACL without having surgery. Very thankful that this book was so easily accessible!”
H.P., Amazon Review

“I chose not to have my 9 year old Lab put through the stress of surgery on his torn CCL – knowing that he is already showing signs of the other leg being injured. After much research, I found Deborah’s website and read a lot of the blog posts where I learned of her book. I have been using the therapy in the book now for about a month and it is working well in conjunction with some holistic remedies and massage, Since the process of healing is really the same for both non-surgery and surgery dogs, this book will help either way! Easy to follow, but you do have to stick with it to see results.”
Amazon Review

“I have worked in a variety of animal care fields – as a veterinary technician, pet sitter, and behavior consultant – since 1997, and have several mutual clients with the author. As such, I have seen first-hand what she can do for both her clients and patients. Her knowledge, skill, and bedside manner are impeccable, to the point that she has become the only person that I refer people to for small animal rehabilitation in the Austin area. I am so glad that she has written this book, so that people who live outside the Austin area can benefit from her expertise. I highly recommend it!”
Emily S., Amazon Review, From Beaks to Barks

“This was an easy to read and understand guidebook. There were lots of practical tips offered. Her program is something I can follow on a day to day basis. The author has obviously had lots of experience with dog rehabilitation and wants the best for our dogs.”
Lori L., Amazon Review

“I love Deborah Carroll and her approaches to rehab/conditioning- we see her next week.”
Courtney K, Austin, TX Courtney’s Agility Page

FCE – Fibrocartilaginous Embolism – Rehab for Sammy

Hello,
I adopted Sammy from the Humane Society in 2006, we’ve had a great journey together! Two years ago, he had a very rare accident that they called FCE (fibrocartilaginous embolism), he recovered and was able to walk again…thank god!!!!!! Recently, he has shown significant signs of his back legs being very weak, my vet has him on Adequan….he just took his fourth shot, but I’m not seeing any improvement. I’m wondering if water therapy would help him…he still has so much life, but watching him try to get up is very heart breaking. Also, I’m assuming its very expensive, so I’m not even sure I can afford it.
Please let me know your thoughts, I would greatly appreciate your wisdom!
LH

Hi, L!

I apologize for the delay in my response 🙂 If you got onto my website, you likely saw my info about traveling, etc, and my not always being able to answer quickly!

Glad you & Sammy found each other!
I realized after a couple of years into my independent business that many veterinarians had not ever seen what they knew to be a FCE case, yet due to my particular focus in veterinary rehab, I’ve dealt with dozens of them. Just so you know that I do have a lot of experience with FCEs 🙂 I have created functional improvement programs that work on increasing neuro-muscular strength, based on neuroscience, principles of exercise physiology, and individual needs.

Also good news…
I recommend you go to my website and follow all the instructions on this page:

Pet Injury

If you read everything on that page, you will see why that’s the place to start with Sammy now, for FCE or for many other injuries or setbacks. I explain on that page that I intend in the future to make a more specific FCE rehab instruction booklet, but tempis fugit…

If you do follow all the instructions I have on that page, you’ll save over $500 in rehab costs, on average (or more if going to a rehab clinic), and you’ll be using an advanced, dynamic program. Also, if you do follow everything I recommend, you and Sammy should be in the proper condition to move to advanced strength-building and proprioception-improving work. You may contact me again at that point if you’d like to have an evaluation for the next steps!

I also have some supplements and helpful tools listed on my website. Adequan is sometimes helpful for some few pets with arthritis in my experience with 100’s of cases that have tried Adequan for joint pain, however it isn’t something that will automatically help with muscle and nerve strength, which is what it really sounds like Sammy needs. Nothing will help improve function to the best possible in the situation “automatically”, whether you’re wanting to improve neuro-muscular strength, or recover better from surgery or injury in general; we all need to add a functional activity program that suits our particular needs, both humans and other animals, in order to recover beyond “average biological existence”!

Regardless, prior to doing dynamic drills, a foundation always needs to be laid, so my site will help you toward that goal 🙂

Blessings-
Deborah

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