Physiotherapy options for Osteoarthritis
Physiotherapy for Osteoarthritis in dogs and cats
Physiotherapy is very important as an adjunct to veterinary management of Osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is managed in a multi-model approach and that includes: pain control, weight management, exercise management and management of the home environment.
Osteoarthritis and exercise
Research in both humans and animals highlights the importance of exercise, muscle strengthening and proprioception in the management of OA. On the initial assessment it is important to identify any areas of weakness and/or compensations all over the body and work on these, as this helps balance the loading through the affected joints and reduce secondary compensations.
Home exercise programmes can include the following:
Balance and proprioception exercises.
Joint range of movement exercises.
Soft tissue massage.
Assessment of the animals home environment is essential in helping to improve quality of life for the animal living with arthritis.
Points to assess include:
Flooring surfaces in different areas of the home.
Steps and stairs.
Type and size of bed options.
Food and water provision height.
Suggestions are then provided to the owner for any relevant improvements.
A study by Marshall et al, (2010), highlights that overweight dogs had a significant improvement in lameness after losing 6-8% bodyweight.