Assessment and Treatment

Physiotherapy assessment

The physiotherapist will firstly gather information regarding your animal’s present condition and past medical history. They may also ask questions relating to your animal’s environment, exercise regime and husbandry. This will assist in establishing an overview of the current health and welfare of your animal. For equine clients additional questions regarding saddle fitting, dentistry and farriery are also commonplace.
Physiotherapy assessment Following this the physiotherapist will assess the animal both statically (at stance) to observe conformation, muscle balance and general condition and dynamically (whilst moving). For the canine patient this may involve looking at them in a walk, trot and canter on different surfaces, up and down hill and looking how they sit, stand and lie down. For the equine patients the physiotherapist will usually watch the horse on both hard ground in walk and trot and performing tight circles and rein back. Wherever possible the horse will then be lunged on a softer surface on both reins in walk, trot and canter.A ridden assessment is not usually necessary although on occasion it may be beneficial to see the horse under saddle. The dynamic assessment allows the physiotherapist to determine any movement dysfunction, irregularity within a gait or problems on a particular rein.

Modern equipment The physiotherapist will then use their hands to feel over the animal to thoroughly palpate the soft tissues. This enables the physiotherapist to locate any changes in temperature, swelling and tenderness, as well as assessing the muscles for spasm or discomfort. The limbs may be picked up and stretched to compare left and right and check the integrity of the joints and the surrounding ligaments and tendons.

The assessment should then provide adequate information for the physiotherapist to gather a list of symptoms or overriding problems presented by the animal, which will then be discussed with you. A treatment plan will be developed to rehabilitate and treat your animal in the most effective manner.

Physiotherapy treatments and interventions available include:Physiotherapy treatments

  • Joint mobilisation
  • Soft tissue manipulation
  • Manual therapy techniques
  • H-wave therapy
  • LASER therapy
  • Ultrasound therapy
  • Pulsed Electromagnetic therapy
  • Individualised exercise prescription (specific to clinical requirements)
  • Gait re-education
  • Liaison with your vet, farrier, dentist or trainer.
Please note – to allow a full and comprehensive clinical examination it is important that your animal is presented clean and dry. Additionally in the case of the equine patient it may be necessary to check the saddle and numnahs being used, it is therefore advisable to have your tack readily available at your appointment.