Canine rehabilitation therapists are animal health professionals that work to improve a dog’s range of movement and provide pain management.
Canine rehabilitation therapists are responsible for creating and implementing therapy plans to increase an animal’s mobility and minimize any pain they may be experiencing as a result of an injury or a chronic condition. The therapist works through the treatment plan with the dog, making adjustments as necessary to ensure that progress is being made in each session.
Therapists may be assisted by veterinary technicians that have achieved a related certification, such as the Certified Canine Rehabilitation Assistant (CCRA) designation, or assistants that have extensive practical experience in therapy work.
Therapists may make use of a variety of treatment options such as applying heat or cold to an affected area, electrode stimulation, massage, hydrotherapy (swimming), treadmill work, bandaging, splinting, drug therapy, or exercise programs. They must also keep careful records to track the dog’s progress and document the specific therapies that are utilized.
As is the case with most careers requiring direct contact with animals, canine rehabilitation therapists must be sure to take proper safety measures to minimize the chance of injury from a bite or scratch. It is particularly important when working with dogs that could be in pain or under stress from being in unfamiliar surroundings.
Most canine rehabilitation therapists are licensed professionals, with careers in veterinary medicine or human physical therapy. Canine therapy may be either a full- or part-time pursuit for these individuals.
Some vets and physical therapists may choose to become involved in therapy for other species in addition to dogs. Equine rehabilitation therapy is one popular option.