Using physical therapy to help pets

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) – Animals deal with a lot of the same injuries we do. And in a lot of cases, they get the same kinds of treatment. A local vet clinic offers multiple options under one roof.

You’ve no doubt heard about physical therapy for people, but what about pets? It is a growing part of the vet industry. It includes everything from laser therapy to acupuncture and walking on underwater treadmills.

Calamity Jane or CJ is one of the pets helped by the therapy programs here at West Toledo Animal Hospital. She was found by the side of a road, unable to use her back legs.

Jean Keating is the Executive Director of the Lucas County Pit Crew. “She’s super sweet. She wants to see everybody, and if she hears a voice she wants to go check it out. She is a great dog.”

CJ was taken in by the Pit Crew earlier this year. After extensive medical testing, Keating says it was discovered that she had a bullet lodged in her spine. “She’s a very nice dog, I cannot imagine why anyone would want to hurt her.”

Surgery is not an option. CJ gets around with the help of a custom cart, and she’s been coming to West Toledo for therapy. “She hasn’t gone to hydrotherapy yet, but that is the goal to get her in the water and get her legs moving. Right now, they are working on her core, so they’re working on balancing and things like that.”

In a matter of a few short weeks, CJ has made progress. “She’s very adaptable. She gets around quite well in her cart. She seems to be just fine with her new routine.”

The therapy team at West Toledo on Secor Road works with 10-15 pets every day. And the list of options is extensive.

Dr. Sam Amodeo is with West Toledo Animal Hospital. “Land exercises, acupuncture, laser therapy, chiropractic, underwater treadmill, ultrasound therapy, TENS unit, PEMF mats.”

And when it comes to the results for animals that have lost the use of a leg. “Sometimes within 2-3 weeks they are walking on their own again. Sometimes it can take up to six months, it just depends on the case.”

What about pets that have undergone a surgical procedure? “Therapies help cut recovery time. They can also help prevent other surgeries and decreases the risk of arthritis among other things.”

The programs are customized for each pet. “Because they can’t tell you what’s wrong, they only want to be helped. So there is no placebo effect. The animals truly want to get better, all I have to do is give them the guidelines and their bodies do it.”

It’s not just dogs, cats also take part in the therapy programs. Some cats even use the underwater treadmills. The treatments are available at both the West Toledo Animal Hospital on Secor Road, as well as the new clinic in Rossford.

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