…is not necessary in over 90% of cases in small animal veterinary medicine in my experience and estimation. The 10% I allow for usually applies to large paralyzed animals. Large pets that have had multiple orthopedic surgeries all at once and that are in pain are difficult for many people to manage at home. I have seen many of those cases, and that’s a topic for another post. See my Q & A section for some answers I’ve given people about this topic. I also have a longer post on water treadmill if you want to read that.
What do I and you use instead of water treadmill?
The majority of cases may be recovered well with very good pain medications and solid, gravity-and-land-based exercise programs that are progressive. See my pain post and use the search box on this site for more info on pain.
These programs ^ should be written by a strength and conditioning professional or a specialist with a lot of experience in functional recovery. The rehabilitation specialist programs in veterinary medicine do not teach those foundations.
Changing Veterinary Rehabilitation
I hope to change the structure of veterinary rehabilitation by pushing for rehab professionals to train in sports medicine and exercise physiology. I believe recovery medicine works best with a foundation and experience in the sciences that study and produce physiological improvements. More foundational science and less tricks and toys might be one way to look at it.
Early in my independent practice a veterinarian friend asked me about hip problem recovery without surgery for dogs. When I explained my basic and also advanced protocol, including a certain method for doing hill repeats after building a proper foundation of stability and strength, she quizzically said, “But it’s a dog…?”.
I looked at her, perplexed, and stated, “But it has muscle, connective tissue, nerve, and bone that all respond to exercise physiology”. She agreed that my approach made good sense. She wasn’t taught information like my background in veterinary medicine studies, and she graduated at the top of her class. That’s ok…I’m a specialist in the things I have been doing for many decades, and she is a specialist in her strengths.
People have expectations that one practitioner should know *everything*, but logically we know this is impossible. That’s a topic for a post I hope to write sometime soon. Keep calm and carry on…and look for solid source information.
Originally posted January 25, 2016. Updated February 20, 2018.