Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy

Canine Physical Rehabilitation Mt PleasantDr. Marian Shuler Holladay, a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner, can develop a rehabilitation plan, provide physical therapy, and design sports conditioning protocol for your pet. Whether it is for complete healing, lifelong management of a specific problem, or simply getting in condition to play hard, the methods will be specific to your pet’s needs.

Physical rehabilitation is a concept that human medicine has been incorporating into its healthcare for years. Over the past couple of decades medical and surgical advances in veterinary medicine have demanded better care and expertise. Physical therapy and rehabilitation have continued to evolve for veterinary patients to enhance surgical recovery and maintain a comfortable quality of life.

The goals of cat and dog physical rehabilitation are quite simple:

  • Increased function of the pet – being able to use all of its limbs to move around and function in daily life
  • Decreased pain – due to chronic osteoarthritis or due to a recent surgery or injury
  • Encourage healing – of a wound, a fracture, a sprain/strain

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Sports Conditioning. Fly ball, Frisbee, dock jumping, agility courses.. all pose threats of injury. An athletic dog should be trained and conditioned for the events it  participates in. Different sports will predispose to different types of injury, so care must be taken to condition and strengthen those area most prone to injury. Even if you don’t have a 4-legged pro-athlete, we can help you prevent “weekend warrior syndrome” – a dog who is a couch potato during the week, then over-exerts himself on the weekend when his human friends take him out. The weekend warriors are arguable the most prone to injury.

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Weight Loss. Appropriate nutrition the backbone of a weight loss program, however, physical activity is also important. We would never ask a morbidly obese person to begin their physical activity with a marathon. Likewise, with animals, we need to condition them to activity, slowly building strength, stamina and muscle. We guide you through the nutritional aspects of weight loss, as well as develop a physical regimen to keep your pet fit. See our Therapeutic Nutrition page.


My pet just had surgery. How can physical therapy help?
Postoperative Rehabilitation. Return to function following veterinary surgery is the paramount goal of veterinary surgeons. The perfect surgery, however, can be ruined in an instant if the pet does not receive good aftercare. This is where physical rehabilitation fits into the recovery. We can help you, as the owner, retrain your pet’s body to function as it should. Many people have personally experienced the benefits of physical therapy after surgery. It makes sense for pets as well.

My senior pet is slowing down. Is there anything I can or should do?
Geriatric Rehabilitation. Most geriatric patients have mild to severe osteoarthritis. This can make just getting around an uncomfortable or painful process. For these pets, physical rehabilitation can strengthen muscles, decrease pain, and  improve daily function. These patients benefit from a less intense, lifelong level of physical rehabilitation.

My veterinarian says this disease will progress. How can I slow it?
Neurological Disease Management/Rehabilitation. Pets with degenerative neurological diseases can benefit from physical rehabilitation by maintaining muscle mass, thereby slowing the effects of the disease progression. We can also rehabilitate pets with spinal cord injuries or conditions, such as intervertebral disc disease.

What about cats? My obese cat had surgery on a broken leg. Can you help her? 
Feline physical therapy. Feline physical rehabilitation IS possible.  Most cats are not as treat motivated as their canine counterparts, so it takes a little more creativity and dedication, but they can be coaxed into doing what is needed.  We can teach you how to “read” your cat for symptoms of pain or discomfort since cats are experts of disguise.  Together, we can maximize your cat’s recovery.

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