Some of our patients come to us to lose weight, increase fitness, speed recovery from surgery, or maintain and build conditioning and muscle. In addition, many animals we see are in pain, whether the result of an injury, surgery, or a degenerative condition such as arthritis. In some cases, we can provide alternatives to surgery, and in others, reduce or eliminate the need for prescription pain medication.
Generally speaking, the goals of our treatment plans are to:
- Increase your pet’s mobility
- Increase functionality
We accomplish these results by:
- Increasing range of motion throughout your pet’s joints,
- Decreasing pain wherever he is sore
- Increasing his overall flexibility
Just as in human medicine, adequate pain management in animals is necessary to speed healing. Studies have shown that physiologically, pain impedes healing—if the body is in a constant state of pain, the healing process becomes compromised. At GVR, managing your pet’s pain goes hand in hand with our rehab protocols, and often reducing your pet’s pain is the first step toward increasing mobility.
Traditionally, veterinary medicine has looked to prescription medications and strict cage rest to manage pain in animals. With advances in physical rehabilitation techniques in both human and veterinary medicine, additional tools and approaches such as acupuncture, chiropractic, laser, and structured, controlled exercise plans have become an accepted—and proven—means of helping pets more fully and quickly recover from injury or surgery. At GVR, our team is led by Dr. Evelyn Orenbuch, a certified rehab veterinarian who has advanced training, expertise and experience in the management of pain and loss of function caused by injury or illness. Our approach is to treat our patients using a wide range of treatment options. These include, but are not limited to:
Acupuncture (including electroacupuncture, aquapuncture, and moxibustion)
Acupuncture is the insertion of very fine needles into specific areas on your pet to treat a diagnosed condition. These specific points are called acupuncture points and are mapped and diagramed for each species’ body. In veterinary practice, acupuncture may be used alone to treat musculoskeletal pain, or in conjunction with other therapies. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has used acupuncture for over 4000 years. It became accepted officially by the American Veterinary Medical Association in 1998. GVR’s veterinarians who utilize acupuncture have received training in veterinary acupuncture, and have experience with its application in veterinary rehabilitation.
Chiropractic manipulation gently realigns the spine, corrects subluxations, relaxes the surrounding muscles and allows the gradual restoration of neurologic and biomechanical function. Veterinary chiropractic care also helps prevent compensatory injuries. GVR veterinarians who treat your pet using chiropractic techniques have received extensive training in veterinary chiropractic care and are certified in veterinary chiropractic by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association.
Therapeutic laser therapy
Laser therapy has been shown to relieve pain from muscle and joint soreness, relieve symptoms of arthritis, relax muscle spasms and increase blood flow to an area, helping wounds to heal. Laser therapy uses L.A.S.E.R (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) to repair tissues through photobiomodulation, which is the application of light to modify a biologic process. The cells in the injured areas use the energy of the laser to aid their healing. Read more about Therapeutic Laser Therapy here
Chinese herbal medicine
Dr. Orenbuch’s training includes additional education in Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM). Oftentimes Chinese herbs can be introduced into a treatment plan to help with a variety of conditions; sometimes, they can supplement or help to reduce or eliminate the need for prescription medications. TCVM is gaining more and more recognition by traditional veterinary professionals; a number of veterinary schools such as Colorado State University, Tufts University and the University of Florida, offer acupuncture courses, as well as other TCVM modality tracks. In some veterinary medical teaching hospitals such as the University of Florida, TCVM is a clinical service.
The underwater treadmill uses water to support your pet's weight while walking (or running). The higher the water level, the more your pet's weight is supported, reducing the amount of weight he has to bear. Underwater treadmills can decrease recovery time from surgery, improve arthritis through low impact exercise, and improve cardiovascular fitness.
Indoor SwimEx resistance pool
GVR is the only veterinary clinic in Georgia, and only one of a few in the U.S., to offer our patients the benefits of a SwimEx resistance pool. The gold standard in human physical therapy, the SwimEx pool offers a powerful and consistent “wall of water” for swimming, exercise, or therapy. We recommend hydrotherapy for reasons that include geriatrics and arthritis, paralysis and other mobility issues, pre and post surgical rehabilitation, injury prevention and rehabilitation, helping obesity, dysplasia, increasing body awareness, balance, and coordination and to just plain help fitness and muscle tone.
The buoyancy of water supports and lessons stress on the joints, encourages freer movement and provides a safe environment for exercise. Using aquatic therapy allows the injured body part to actively “rest” while the animal maintains—and builds— fitness. The warm temperature of the pool also makes it an effective environment for stretching and massage of physically compromised animals.
Massage increases circulation to improve healing, decrease pain and reduce swelling. Massage can be used for acute or chronic problems; it increases blood flow, which improves oxygen delivery to tissues, and breaks down scar tissue. Massage also promotes mental and physical relaxation.
- Passive exercise consists of passive range of motion (PROM) and stretching exercises. These exercises help maintain or improve flexion and extension of joints, help the body's awareness of neuromuscular structure and function, and improve flexibility of muscles, tendons and ligaments. PROM are very important if the patient is not using a body part or has limited movement of a body part.
- Active exercise involves your pet moving himself (with guidance from a human); we work with your pet in our gym, and also instruct you on how to perform these exercises on your pet at home. These exercises work on strengthening, balance, and improving core strength. Some examples include:
- Physioball exercises
- Balance board/BOSU exercises
- Weight shifting
- Sit-to-stand exerices
- Standing exercises
- Stair climbing
Assistive equipment (i.e., carts, orthotics, prosthetics)
We can evaluate your pet to help you determine whether he or she could benefit from custom fitted splints, braces, carts and even prosthetic limbs, and assist with the measurement, fitting, and use of any of this equipment. Assistive devices can be used to support an injured limb while it heals, to correct a deformity or to encourage correct limb use. Carts are fitted to patients that are paralyzed or unable to walk without support.
Some patients with advanced orthopedic or neurologic conditions, or those recovering from surgery, benefit most from multiple, short rehab sessions per day. For these patients, we offer the convenience of day boarding in our spacious, modern kennels.
Intensive Rehab & Board
For cases requiring intensive rehabilitation, contact us for information about our overnight boarding and rehab services.
We are proud of the comprehensive treatment plans that we offer for a diverse patient population. Our success with treating and rehabilitating pets comes from selecting the optimal combination of modalities targeted to address each animal’s specific needs.