Web Extra

by Lynne Haley, senior director of development and Marcia Gossard, senior writer

When most people think of veterinary care, balance balls and underwater treadmills don’t often come to mind. But physical rehabilitation is one of the key services we offer to our patients to help them feel better faster.

We are able to provide quality physical rehabilitation services in large part because of generous donations to our physical rehabilitation unit. Our underwater treadmill, for example, was donated to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital in 2007 by two friends of the college. That same year, Chocolate, a stray Chesapeake Bay retriever, was brought to WSU to receive surgery on his injured front legs. He began physical rehabilitation in the underwater treadmill, allowing him to use his front limbs without bearing his full weight. Because of this gift, Chocolate was able to start rehabilitation sooner. It helped speed his recovery by strengthening his muscles with less pain. Since then, the underwater treadmill has helped many animals feel better.

In 2008 a friend of the college gave a therapeutic ultrasound machine that uses high-frequency sound waves, or ultrasound, to heat deep tissue and promote healing. The ultrasound unit also has electrical stimulation capabilities: neuromuscular stimulation, a passive exercise that strengthens weakened muscles due to injury and reduces muscle atrophy; and transcutaneous electrical stimulation, or TENS, that helps relieve acute and chronic pain in canine patients. Although active exercises are best, if it is too painful, adding passive exercises and TENS to the treatment plan helps the animal feel more comfortable by strengthening weakened muscles and relieving pain.

Gifts like these help us to provide the latest treatments to our patients and continue to offer the highest quality of care. Even smaller gifts such as physio balls, balance boards, or bands given by generous friends makes a big difference to our physical rehab patients. Thanks for helping us help the animals you love!

Learn more about our Integrative Veterinary Medicine and Rehabilitation Services and the other care options.