Frequently Asked Questions
What is physical rehabilitation?
In humans, physical therapy has long been included as part of recovery for patients with orthopedic or neurologic disorders. Veterinary physical rehabilitation is quickly becoming the standard of care with small animal clinicians and specialists as it employs the same medical foundations and therapy techniques used in people. It is becoming an integral part of the overall health plan for our pets to assure they function at their best and are able to participate in their owners' active lives.
What is a veterinary referral center?
Our center's sole focus is physical rehabilitation and/or acupuncture. It is co-operated by a veterinarian with a special interest and certification in these fields and a physical therapist certified in canine rehabilitation. If any other conditions arise in your pet during the course of treatment, or if additional diagnostic tests are necessary, you will be referred back to your regular veterinarian. As a referral center it is our goal to work as a team with you and your primary veterinarian or veterinary specialist to provide the best health program possible. The evaluation, treatment plan and periodic re-assessments will be forwarded to your referring veterinarian to keep them up-to-date on your pet's progress.
What are the benefits of physical rehabilitation?
Faster healing and recovery from injury or surgery, decreased pain, improved mobility and flexibility, reduction and prevention of muscle atrophy and weakness, prevention of further injury, improved circulation and cardiovascular health, improved strength, performance, speed and endurance for athletes or pets, weight reduction and conditioning, and an enhanced quality of life.
What can I expect from an acupuncture treatment?
Some pets will be prescribed an acupuncture-only program and others will have acupuncture incorporated into the rehabilitation plan. Patients usually start with 1-2 treatments per week for 4-6 weeks. Once a maximum response is achieved, treatments are tapered off with the goal of only seeing patients for acupuncture as needed. Many pets relax and tolerate acupuncture very well and often falling asleep during treatment! The acupuncture needles are very thin and sterile and most of the time the pet does not even notice their use. Acupuncture is used for musculoskeletal and neurological problems, as well as many systemic diseases. For more information please see our Veterinary Acupuncture section.
How do I know if my pet needs physical rehabilitation?
Any pet recovering from surgery or injury can benefit from a physical rehabilitation program. Patients will become more mobile and recover faster when they can safely exercise in a controlled environment. Physical Therapy is also beneficial for pets with neurological problems, as muscle loss and a decrease in strength can happen rapidly with neurological diseases. Pets that have debilitating metabolic diseases, such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, Cushing's disease, etc., can also benefit from a rehabilitation strengthening and conditioning program. In addition, senior pets suffering from any painful problems, like arthritis, will see great increases in their quality of life when they are able to exercise in a way that allows them to have a normal gait and to bear less weight on their achy limbs, such as is possible in the underwater treadmill.
How do I know if my pet is in pain?
Pets are often very good at hiding their pain. They will continue to exercise and do the things they love well past the point that is normal for a human. Common signs of pain in pets include: a decrease in activity, reluctance to go up/down stairs or jump on bed or in car, difficulty getting up, an abnormal gait, sensitive to touch, panting excessively, restless at night, or a decrease in appetite.
What do I need to bring to the initial evaluation?
Prior to your first appointment, we will request your pets medical records from your primary veterinarian. We ask that you fill out the New Patient forms and complete them prior to your scheduled evaluation, and either email them or bring them with you to your appointment.
Do I participate in my pets therapy?
Yes. We highly encourage owners to have an active role in their pet's rehabilitation program. You are integral part of your pet's success. At this time, with COVID-19, we are operating on a drop-off only basis for appointments at our clinic. While you may not participate in therapies done at our clinic, you will play an important role in your pet's progress through the home treatment plan that will be prescribed.
What can I expect on my first visit?
During your initial visit, you and your pet will be meeting with a veterinarian and a physical therapist certified in canine rehabilitation. This is a comprehensive evaluation that includes a detailed medical history and review of records, a thorough physical examination, and a rehabilitation evaluation which includes observation of the pet at a stance and during different gaits, measurements of joint range-of-motion and muscle mass, and an overall evaluation of pain and mobility. They will then customize an individual treatment plan best suited for your pet and its situation. You will be sent home with a treatment plan detailing our findings and recommended treatments/exercises/stretches for you to perform at home or at our clinic.
How long will my pet be in therapy?
This is dependent on the individual situation and condition of the pet. Patients usually begin treatments 1 to 2 times a week. Average programs are 6 to 8 weeks but we have many pets on maintenance programs that may see us monthly or once every week. We will periodically re-evaluate your pet and discuss time frame of treatment plans with the owner.
Can you guarantee my dog will improve?
The goals of physical rehabilitation are dependent on the goals of the owner, the condition being treated, and the initial assessment of the animal. We strive to return all pets back to the best possible function and quality of life. Some patients may return to agility competitions, while others may be happy being able to walk around the block again. Expectations and possible outcomes will be discussed with you at the initial evaluation appointment.
Is my pet too old to receive treatment?
Never! We see many senior pets at our center. Senior animals can benefit greatly from increasing their mobility in a safe environment. Most enjoy standing in the warm water of the underwater treadmill and walking a few minutes without having to bear their full body weight. Even this small amount of activity can increase their ability levels at home. Their activity and fitness levels are closely monitored as well as heart and respiratory rates. With any pet we begin a program slowly and tailor it to their current ability level with the goal of making them more mobile and comfortable at home.
Do you treat cats too?
Yes! Although most of our patients are dogs, we do see cats, often for acupuncture or laser. If the cat has the right temperament they may do the underwater treadmill as well!
Do I need a referral from my veterinarian?
Obtaining a referral is not required for most services as Utah Pet Rehab and Acupuncture Center is co-operated by a veterinarian. We work in close contact with your primary veterinarian to integrate rehabilitation and/or acupuncture into your pet's medical treatment plan and we keep your medical team up-to-date on your pet's progress throughout the rehabilitation program.
How do I schedule an appointment?
Please Contact Us to set up your initial evaluation. After your treatment plan is established staff will assist you in scheduling appointments that fit your schedule.
What is your cancellation policy?
We have a 24 hour cancellation notice policy - if you are unable to attend your appointment we require notification by phone or email 24 hours prior to the appointment time, so that we can fill the time slot for pets on our wait list! For therapy appointments, if you do not attend your scheduled appointment or give proper cancellation notice you will be charged the regular appointment fee. For evaluation appointments, if you do not attend your scheduled appointment or give proper cancellation notice you will be charged 50% of the evaluation cost. If you are more than 10 minutes late for an appointment the treatment time for your pet will be shortened to end at the regular time to allow the next scheduled client to begin their appointment on time.