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Pet Rehabilitation Services

Animals, just like humans, need rehabilitative services for a variety of reasons. Windcrest Animal Hospital offers the premiere pet rehabilitation services in our area, with highly trained and experienced specialists on staff.  Whether suffering from arthritis, decreased mobility, or recovering from an injury or surgery, our specialists work closely with your veterinarian to design a personalized treatment program to optimize your pet’s path to recovery.

We welcome your call or email with any questions or to set up a consultation.  Email:   kchristian@windcrestanimal.com  or Call :  302-998-2995

Our Veterinary Rehabilitation Referral Process

All rehabilitation patients must be referred by a veterinarian who approves of the plan of care, maintains responsibility for the patient’s care throughout the process, and assumes ongoing responsibility of the patient’s care upon completion.

We will provide the referring veterinarian with a copy of the initial evaluation and all necessary documentaiton to communicate your pet’s needs.

rehab -150Our Veterinary Rehabilitation Team

The team of dedicated rehabilitation professionals at Windcrest works as a referral service to the veterinary community.

Kate Christian, DPT, CCRP: Director of Rehabilitation Services:

Dr. Kate received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from University of Delaware in 2005, where she also received her BA in Neuroscience in 2001.  In 2007, she received her certification in canine rehabilitation from University of Tennessee, College of Veterinary Medicine.  Dr. Kate has worked at Windcrest Animal Hospital as a rehab specialist since 2005.  A notable achievement is her status as the first therapist in the state of Delaware to receive the title of Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner.  Dr. Kate’s dedication to her patients is evident as she closely monitors their progress and modifies the pet’s individual rehab plans accordingly.  Her dedication to the field is also evident, as she hosts interns from both the University of Tennessee’s and the Canine Rehabilitation Institute’s certification programs.  Dr. Kate continues to work with human patients as well as our four-legged friends.  She is currently a physical therapist for children with special needs in schools in New Castle County.  She has also worked with the elderly, providing rehab at long-term care facilities.  At home, Dr. Kate spends time with her rescued pitbull, Bodie and her rescued chiweenie, Max.

Breanna Ladd, LVT: Rehabilitation Assistant:

Breanna attended the University of Delaware immediately out of high school, majoring in History Education. After three years she decided it was not the career choice for her and took a year off of school to decide what she truly wanted to do. Breanna then attended Delaware Technical & Community College where she majored in Veterinary Technology, receiving her Associate Degree in Applied Science in August 2015. That December, Breanna passed her state board exam to become a licensed veterinary technician. She plans to continue her education in the near future with an interest in animal behavior.

Advantages of Pet Rehabilitation

  • Provides maximized recovery from surgery
  • Facilitates faster wound healing with our laser therapy
  • Reduces pain and inflammation
  • Provides accelerated healing of injured tissue
  • Reduces need for anti-inflammatory drug usage
  • Maintains and restores range of motion and muscle mass
  • Builds strength and endurance
  • Reduces gait abnormalities
  • Improves overall function and quality of life

Pet Rehabilitation Treatments

Hydrotherapy
Our underwater treadmill allows animals to exercise without stressing their joints. Similar to a human treadmill, speed can be increased and decreased and the level of incline can be adjusted according to your pet’s needs. We also offer rehabilitative swimming, a beneficial cardiovascular exercise that offers a no-impact way to increase strength and endurance. All breeds of dogs can benefit from swimming, and most love it! Our hydrotherapy is not limited to just dogs; other pets, including cats and even a rabbit, have reaped the benefits of this therapy.

Therapeutic Laser
Deep-penetrating photons from the laser affect the chemistry of a cell in a variety of helpful ways. Pets receiving laser therapy after surgery have less pain and fewer complications, and they typically recover faster. Laser therapy can reduce your pet’s healing time for wounds and speed up regeneration. It also helps decrease inflammation and pain resulting from chronic conditions such as arthritis or chronic tendon/muscle strains.

Electrical Stimulation
Electric stimulation helps relieve pain, prevent muscle atrophy, and increase strength of muscles that are underutilized. An electrical current is delivered through electrodes placed on the skin over a muscle or a muscle group. Electric stimulation is ideal for post-surgical patients who are non-weight bearing or have restricted use of certain muscles.

Therapeutic Ultrasound
Therapeutic ultrasound is a heating agent for deep tissue. We use it to aid in the recovery of musculoskeletal injuries. It increases blood flow to the affected area and accelerates your pet’s healing process. Ultrasound is very effective in treating joint motion limiting conditions and soft tissue injuries.

Manual Therapy
Our therapists use their hands in every treatment, whether for a relaxing massage to help warm up the muscles for a workout or intense joint mobilizations. Deep tissue massage, stretching, and cross friction massage are some of the other forms of manual therapy used to help pets in their recovery.

Therapeutic Exercise
Therapeutic exercise offers an array of benefits for pets in rehabilitation:

  • Increases weight bearing
  • Helps correct gait abnormalities
  • Strengthens
  • Improves proprioception
  • Improves balance
  • Improves quality of movement

Rehabilitation FAQs

  • Why canine rehabilitation?
    • The benefits of human physical therapy have been proven for many years. We have adapted the principles of human physical therapy to meet the needs of your pet.
    • The goals of physical rehabilitation are to maximize the recovery of your pet as well as increase function and improve overall quality of life.
  • Some benefits include:
    • Promotion of tissue repair
    • Decreased inflammation and muscle spasms
    • Increased mobility, strength and endurance
    • Cardiovascular benefits without stress on joints
    • Reduced pain and discomfort
  • How long after surgery should my pet begin rehab?
    • Depending on the surgery and your veterinarian’s recommendations, your pet could begin rehab right away. The immediate plan of treatment will mostly consist of passive exercises, management of pain and inflammation, which can be started by you at home or in the rehab clinic.  After the surgical incision is healed and/or your pet is cleared by the surgeon, they can begin more intensive rehab including hydrotherapy and therapeutic exercises.  Typically, rehab in the clinic is started by 2 weeks post-op.
  • Is rehab only for pets that have had surgery?
    • Rehabilitation is for any pet with any of the symptoms or diagnoses mentioned previously. In fact, arthritis is one of the foremost indications for rehab.
  • Can I watch my pet’s rehab?
    • We encourage owners to watch and even participate in the rehab sessions with their pet. We know that some animals are scared or nervous without their owners with them and we want your pet to be as comfortable as possible for their rehabilitation. You will also learn how to perform home exercises and how and when to advance these exercises.
  • Do I have to be present for the rehab session?
    • No, you can either wait in the lobby, or you can drop off for the treatment. We have a full kennel that your dog can stay in if you’re dropping off and/or picking up outside of the rehab appointment.  There is no extra charge for kenneling your dog on the day of their rehab treatment.
  • How long do the treatments last?
    • The initial consultation is one hour and each subsequent treatment is either 30 or 45 minutes, depending upon the needs of your pet.
  • Can I do anything to help at home?
    • Included in each consultation is an individualized home exercise program for the owner to perform with their pet at home. This is one of the most important parts of the rehab process. This may change every few visits, so we re-educate the owners with each update.
  • My dog does not like water. Can he still participate in therapy?
    • Many patients will get their exercise using the underwater treadmill as it provides a controlled exercise environment, although the pool offers many other benefits.
    • However, if your pet does not tolerate the water, there are plenty of other forms of exercise and therapeutic modalities to help your pet.
  • How often and how long will my pet need to come to therapy?
    • This depends upon the condition and individual progress of the animal as well as the diagnosis and prognosis. In general, a typical orthopedic patient will be in therapy once or twice a week for four to eight weeks. Many clients choose to continue rehab for longer periods of time for maintenance, especially for those pets with degenerative or progressive conditions, such as arthritis or neuropathy.
  • I have a senior pet. Can he still benefit from rehab?
    • There is no age limit for rehabilitation. Sometimes older pets can benefit the most from rehab. Since our rehab therapist individualizes each treatment, the program for your elderly pet will be tailored for his or her specific condition and function. For example, if necessary, your pet can take more breaks while in the pool or walk slower in the underwater treadmill.
  • What is the temperature in the pool and underwater treadmill?
    • The temperature is kept between 82 and 87 degrees. The warm water increases circulation to the muscles and joints, increases joint flexibility and decreases joint pain.

For more information about our rehabilitation services or to schedule an appointment to discuss your pet’s rehabilitation, wellness, or sick care needs, contact us today.

Windcrest Animal Hospital

3705 Lancaster Pike

Wilmington, DE 19805 - Directions

Lobby Hours:

Mon-Fri: 7:30am - 8:30pm

Sat: 8am - 6pm

Sunday: 9am-6pm

Emergency: Open 24/7
(302) 998-2995 Contact Us

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