Dog Rehabilitation in Portland, Oregon

Dog-AcupuncturePost operative orthopedics for Dogs

Most orthopedic surgery dog patients recover best with 6 to 10 weeks of rehabilitation. Dogs that are returning to athletic work will need more intensive work, but usually within the same amount of time can start to return to training.

Surgical “back dogs”

 Post operative disc or neck surgeries are quite variable in recovery time depending on the level of dysfunction present to start. Dogs that are able to walk after surgery usually need 6-10 weeks of therapies (when “homework” is done daily). Dogs that are unable to walk after surgery can require significantly longer and daily intensive homework. With proper supports, many of these dogs can return to full function.

Non-surgical “back dogs”

These dogs are more variable because often due to financial constraints, we don’t have a full diagnosis of how deeply affected the spinal cord is. However, with a combination of multiple modalities including work at home, many of these dogs return not only to function, but to better core strength and spinal support to help prevent another disk extrusion. In general, 6-12 weeks is needed.

Dog Arthritis 

Arthritis patients need strengthening — the muscles take the pressure off the joints. Depending on the need for weight loss, these dogs should be treated at least weekly for 6 weeks and then put on a home program with regular rechecks to keep it fun and interesting for the pet and to monitor medical progress and pain levels.

Neurological dogs to maintain function (Wobbler’s, Degenerative Myelopathy)

Unfortunately, these conditions are not ones that any amount of medication or surgery can cure. Goals for these dogs is to maintain as much function for as long as possible by maintaining good muscle strength and “reminding” the nerves of their job as they deteriorate. In addition, I can help with comfort equipment for maintaining quality of life for your dog like carts, booties, toe grips and splits. I recommend weekly rehabilitation sessions, but can set up home programs too with monthly “check in” appointments where we establish new exercises to keep everyone (you and your pet) from getting bored or overworking the same muscles for too long.


Rehabilitation therapy for conditioning is entirely dependent upon the dog’s age and competition level. We will work out a regular program for home and for in-clinic work to continue long term for optimal conditioning of your dog. (See athletic dogs).

Conditions treated with animal physical therapy & rehabilitation

(As stated by the American Association of Rehabilitation Veterinarians)

Many of these conditions may require surgical treatment for optimal outcome. Animal physical therapy will hasten recovery as well as insure a greater chance of full return to function than surgery alone. In cases where surgery is not an option, physical therapy for pets helps keep the muscles in optimum condition to best support the pet with ongoing condition.


Canine Osteoarthritis – increases range of motion, decreases inflammation and need for medications

Dog obesity – weight loss programs can be designed for each individual

Hip dysplasia – builds supporting muscle mass, increases mobility and comfort

Muscle injuries in pets – speeds healing, decreases inflammation, prevents scarring, restores normal functional length

Back injuries in pets – increases muscle support to prevent reinjury, manage pain

Spinal injury / IVDD – decreases spasticity, pain management, earlier ambulation for dogs

Spondylosis – manages pain, maintain flexibility and strength

Arthrodesis – faster adaptation, support of surrounding joints

Joint replacements for pets – faster adaptation, improves coordination & strength

Fractures – faster recovery, prevents muscle contracture

Dog cruciate injury – speeds and improves recovery, restores extension, decreases inflammation

Amputation – adaptation, builds supporting muscles, manages pain for pets

Shoulder OCD – increases mobility, strengthens muscles

Elbow dysplasia – increases mobility, decreases inflammation, strengthens

Joint dislocation – strengthens supporting muscles & ligaments, prevents reinjury

Patellar luxation – strengthens of quadriceps, prevents reinjury

Tendon injury – increases range of motion and strength, decreases inflammation and scar tissue

Peripheral nerve injury – speeds recovery, functional adaptation, manages pain

Neuromuscular disease – strengthens, adaptation, pain management

Fibrocartilagenous embolism (FCE) – can hasten recovery, improve coordination

Degenerative myelopathy (DM) – helps to maintain muscle function and prolong life

Cauda Equina Syndrome – manages pain, maintains strength and function

Vestibular disorders – improves balance and coordination, decreases injury

What happens at a rehabilitation appointment?

Prior to your appointment:

  •  Fill out your new client information form, client rehabilitation form and consent for rehabilitation
  • Make sure your pet has urinated and defecated so he’s comfortable
  •  Please have your primary vet and surgeon (if applicable) fax or email recent rabies certificate and medical history relating to this injury/condition to (503) 914 0343 or
  • Bring any discharge instructions from your surgeon
  • Bring your pet’s favorite snack or toy (whatever motivates her) for rewards
  • Be on time — rehab appointments are jam packed with activity!

Your first appointment:

  • Dr. Mandi will review your pet’s lifestyle, injury, surgery or athletic event with you
  • Dr. Mandi will review the records and examine your pet
  •  Dr. Mandi (with your valuable input) will set short and long term goals
  •  Dr. Mandi will start with simple exercises and appropriate equipment with your pet to see how she likes to work, what motivates him to work, and what exercises he can do
  • Dr. Mandi will send home “homework” based on your client information sheet and the goals for the pet.  Every pet and owner have to work out how they best work together, so homework exercises are always a work in progress.  Your feedback is essential to finding the best exercises and outcomes for your pet.
  • A full report of exercises and goals will be emailed to your veterinarian
  • A full list of exercises, how to do them, how many and how often will be sent by email

Follow up appointments:

  • Discuss progress and adjust goals as appropriate
  • Evaluate how “homework” is going so we can make adjustments
  • Continue modalities that are working well
  • Add exercises as your pet progresses
  • Change up exercises so your buddy isn’t getting bored
  • A full report of exercises and goals will go to your veterinarian
  • A full list of exercises, how to do them, how many and how often will be sent by email

About Healing Arts Animal Care

Healing Arts Animal Care in Beaverton, Oregon provides veterinary acupuncture, pet rehabilitation therapy, physical therapy and athletic conditioning to the dogs and cats of the Portland, Oregon Metro Area including Hillsboro, Lake Oswego, and Tualatin. We strive to create a team among you, your pet, your veterinarian and ourselves to create a whole package of care for your pet. Pets come through our door knowing that we’re going to have fun here and this isn’t “another trip to the vet.” Through manual therapies, acupuncture, laser, ultrasound, underwater treadmill and creating a tailored individual home exercises, we strive to bring your injured pet back to speed, keep your elderly pet as an active member of the family, return your obese pet back to a functional friend and keep your athletic pet at the peak of his performance.

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