Pet physio underutilized service, veterinarian says

A veterinarian in Rothesay is trying to raise awareness about pet physiotherapy so owners can get more mobility and years out of their four-legged friends.

Underwater treadmill, acupuncture offered at Rothesay clinic

This husky named Q gets acupuncture to help with pain and mobility after being hit by a car and suffering a fractured pelvis. (Matthew Bingley/CBC)

A veterinarian in Rothesay is trying to raise awareness about pet physiotherapy.

Dr. Cathy Adams says her Fairvale Animal Hospital is one of only two practices in the Maritimes offering an underwater treadmill for animals.

She says she got tired of having to put down old dogs because of mobility issues.

“Seeing the number of surgical cases that came through that were slow to recover or retain some element of lameness, that kind of thing. And so I undertook to become a certified rehabilitation therapist for dogs," said Adams.

Marilyn Brayley is grateful. Her four-year-old shihtzu, Charlie, is recovering from spinal surgery that left his hind legs lame. But after six weeks of aquatic therapy, she's noticing a big improvement, she said.

“Charlie would not have had a normal life without this physio. And my only regret, our only regret, is we didn't do it immediately," said Brayley.

Physical rehabilitation is an important part of the healing process after surgery or an injury, and can also help treat and prevent age-related dysfunction, said Adams.

She has gotten referrals from across New Brunswick and as far away as Prince Edward Island.

Getting animals into the water tank can sometimes require a little creativity, however, she said.

“We had one dog, in order to motivate him to go in the underwater treadmill, one of the hospital cats, we'd sit with it in our lap in the window and the dog would motor along figuring he was going to get that cat one day."

Acupuncture can also help animals with pain and mobility issues, said certified canine acupuncturist Bogdan Ciolanescu.

He has been treating a husky named Q that suffered a fractured pelvis after being hit by a car in January.

"He was unable to walk," said Ciolanescu.

But Q was rescued by the SPCA and now, after about 20 pro bono sessions at the clinic, "he is almost perfect," and ready for adoption, Ciolanescu said.