What happens at the initial evaluation – my pet’s first visit to GVR?
One of our rehab certified veterinarians will perform a nose to tail exam of your pet to check for any structural abnormalities and imbalances. An initial evaluation appointment may last up to an hour. When appropriate, certain measurements will be taken of your pet (for example, thigh circumference or hind leg extension). Depending on our exam findings, a veterinary chiropractic adjustment, acupuncture, massage or laser therapy may be indicated at this first visit. You’ll receive an explanation of the treatment protocol we recommend for your pet and an understanding of the diagnosis. You may go home with a list of instructions for stretching and strengthening exercises you can perform at home, if indicated for your pet’s condition.
How much does an initial appointment cost?*
The fee for an in-depth initial evaluation by one of our rehab-certified veterinarians is $127. Depending on your pet’s diagnosis, a program of at-home stretching and strengthening exercises may be provided to you, and is included in the initial evaluation fee. Other modalities, such as acupuncture, chiropractic, massage or laser therapy may be indicated for your pet and may be performed, with your consent, at this visit. Given that these services may be provided in conjunction with the initial evaluation, an average cost for a pet’s first visit typically ranges from $150 to $200. Please keep in mind that this is just an estimate and every patient’s treatment plan is different, and depends on his or her diagnosis.
When are appointments available?
For your convenience, we are open Monday through Thursday from 8am to 8pm, and Fridays from 8am to 4pm. We are also open every other Saturday from 9am to 2pm.
There are relatively few options in the Atlanta area for veterinary physical rehabilitation services. As such, our caseload can be heavy and we ask for your patience and cooperation when booking appointments. We encourage you to make subsequent appointments as soon as possible to avoid difficulty in obtaining a suitable time slot; in turn, we will do all that we can to schedule your pet in a timely manner.
Initial evaluation appointments require a nominal credit card deposit which is collected when we call to schedule your pet’s appointment. This deposit will be applied as a credit to the invoice at your pet’s first appointment.
If you cancel your pet’s initial evaluation appointment with less than 24 hours’ notice, or fail to show up for the appointment, the deposit will not be refunded. If you cancel with more than 24 hours' notice, the charge will be refunded.
What is the cost for other treatment modalities such as hydrotherapy or a land session?*
Single hydrotherapy session (SwimEx pool or underwater treadmill):
Single land session (physical rehab in our gym):
Packages that provide a discount are available for hydrotherapy, rehab sessions and laser therapy. In addition, modalities performed at the time of a re-check appointment are also bundled. We can provide you with more accurate information about the cost of your pet’s treatment plan when you bring in your pet for his or her initial appointment. Treatment plans, and therefore the cost, vary greatly depending on the animal’s diagnosis and health.
How much should I budget for my pet’s treatment plan? How long will I have to bring my pet to GVR for rehab?
Due to the nature of our specialty, it is difficult for us to tell you when you schedule your pet’s initial evaluation what type of follow up care he or she will require. Depending on his or her condition and diagnosis, we will tailor a treatment plan to meet his or her needs. Some cases requiring intensive care are best served with 2-3 appointments per week, while other cases may require weekly or monthly visits. Each pet we treat is an individual, with an individualized treatment plan. The veterinarian will review your pet’s proposed treatment plan with you at his or her initial appointment. Our goal is to create a plan that meets your pet’s needs and your expectations. We also strive to create a program that will work for you, your budget, and your schedule.
My pet is having orthopedic or neurologic surgery. When can I schedule her for rehab at GVR?
Ideally, we will see your pet within 3-4 days of being discharged from the hospital (if not sooner, in some cases). We recommend that you go ahead and set a date with us for the initial evaluation appointment even before your pet goes to surgery. This way, you’ll be assured of having an appointment in place and not have to wait. If the surgery date changes, just call us at least 24 hours before the scheduled appointment to reschedule without penalty.
What methods of payment do you accept?
MasterCard, Visa, Discover, cash, and personal checks. CareCredit is also accepted for expenses greater than $200. In addition, many pet insurance companies now cover physical rehabilitation with the condition that it is performed in a veterinary clinical setting with a veterinarian prescribing the treatment; GVR meets this criterion. Full payment is required at the time of treatment.
Can I swim my dog at GVR for exercise?
At this time, all sessions in our SwimEx pool are under the guidance of a trained GVR staff member, including exercise sessions. It is possible that in the future we will have a program for owner-directed swim sessions.
Do you give vaccines? Perform bloodwork? X-rays? Surgery?
No, we do not. We see ourselves as part of a team partnering with you and your pet’s primary care veterinarian. It is our expectation that you will continue to utilize your pet’s veterinarian for these types of services. If you are in need of a specialist, we are happy to help you find a resource for one.
Will you tell my pet’s primary care veterinarian about our visit?
Yes. After your pet’s visit, we’ll update your pet’s veterinarian on our findings and our recommended treatment plan.
Does pet insurance cover veterinary rehab?
Check with your pet’s insurer to be sure, but, yes, many pet insurance companies do cover physical rehabilitation treatments, particularly when performed in a veterinary clinic and prescribed and overseen by a veterinarian as is the case at GVR.
Is what you do physical therapy for pets?
Yes! But the term “physical therapy” is, in most places within the U.S., a protected term that can only be used by a person who is a licensed physical therapist. So we use the term veterinary rehabilitation or physical rehabilitation to describe what we do.
My dog doesn’t seem to have any problems; why would I bring him to see you?
The old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” holds true in veterinary physical rehabilitation. An evaluation can help us pinpoint, early on, any structural problems or imbalances and address them before they become an issue. Preventive care such as regular chiropractic adjustments can also help your pet to weather the daily demands of play, exercise, minor accidents, and aging with greater success. Just like a car, keeping your dog’s body finely tuned will pay dividends in the long run: you’ll get more mileage out of him!
What is rehabilitation?
Rest alone after injury usually does not relieve the problems caused by inflammation and spasm. The body adapts and protects the injured area long after healing has started. These protective mechanisms alter movement of the whole musculoskeletal system and increase strain on other areas. Rehabilitation should start as soon as possible after injury.
Why choose a rehabilitation veterinarian?
A rehab veterinarian is a doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) who is highly trained to diagnose and provide therapy for animals with disease and injury. In addition, rehab veterinarians have advanced training, expertise, and most importantly, experience in the management of pain and loss of function through injury and illness.
Many rehab veterinarians have post-doctorate training in the areas of orthopedic surgery, pain management, acupuncture, chiropractic and/or rehabilitation that has led to specialization and/or certification in these fields. People who are not veterinarians can also perform some forms of physical rehabilitation on animals; these people include physical therapists trained in animal rehab, human chiropractors who have trained in animal chiropractic, animal massage therapists and physical therapy assistants. However, only a veterinarian can provide whole body care, prescribe needed medicines, and perform a veterinary diagnostic evaluation prior to designing a treatment plan.
*Pricing information is as of July 2014, and is subject to change without notice.