Physiotherapy for the Post-operative Orthopaedic Patient
World Small Animal Veterinary Association Congress Proceedings, 2017
Donna Carver, BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy, DipAVN (Surgical), RVN, MCSP
Small Animal Hospital, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK

Physiotherapy and hydrotherapy are now becoming acceptable treatment adjuncts in veterinary practice. Surgical outcomes following orthopaedic surgery can be enhanced with physiotherapy and hydrotherapy to return the patient back to the highest level of function, to prevent secondary complications and to prevent the patient from developing chronic pain issues.

In the early phase, the focus will be to maintain joint ROM within the pain-free range for the patient. Stretches will maintain the correct muscle length for the patient, muscle imbalances can lead to altered biomechanics and function of the limb and could result in the development of compensatory posture and secondary complications with chronic pain.

The mid-phase of the rehabilitation programme will focus on active assisted exercises to encourage return of normal function to prevent secondary complications. The goals for the patient in this phase will be to partial weight bear through the affected limb to improve strength, muscle length and posture.

The late phase of the rehabilitation programme will focus on active exercises to improve muscle mass, stamina, balance and proprioception. This will be achieved by using hydrotherapy, incorporating the use of functional activities, and by using wobble cushions and wobble boards.

This lecture will explore musculoskeletal conditions commonly seen in veterinary practice which could benefit from physiotherapy and hydrotherapy and will explore:

  • Physiotherapy modalities
  • Physiotherapy assessment
  • Physiotherapy treatment techniques
  • Progression of treatment
  • Outcome measures
  • Physiotherapy orthopaedic case study


Speaker Information
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Donna Carver, BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy, Dip AVN (Surgical), RVN, MCSP
Small Animal Hospital
School of Veterinary Medicine
University of Glasgow
Glasgow, UK

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