Recommended Physical Therapy for Pets with Suspected Degenerative Myelopathy

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Filed Under: Neurology

ACTIVE EXERCISE (5-10 minutes at least 5 times/day):

  • Slow walking
  • If needed, knuckling is prevented by a sling around the paw and pulling the dogs limb by each step with it
  • Frequent exercises are preferred to long exercises
  • Exercise has to be adapted to the Pet's condition
  • Pet sits and gets up several times
  • Assistance with a sling, if needed
  • Weight shifting while standing:  making the Pet bear his/her weight once on the left, then on the right side by pushing him gently at the level of the hip
  • Changing of ground (grass, asphalt, sand)
  • Stair climbing, walking up hill


PASSIVE EXERCISE (3 times/day, 10 times in each joint):

  • Gentle, slow extension and flexing of each joing of both limbs (starting at the paw, manipulating of each joint performed seperately)
  • Maintaining the range of normal motion of each joint
  • The limb is always held above the joint and the lower part of the limb is moved


MASSAGE (3 times/day):

  • Massage is started and finished with stroking
  • Gentle massage (kneading) of the entire back muscles and the limbs, starting from the paws and moving upward


HYDROTHERAPY (at lease once a week, 5-20 minutes):

  • If available, walking on underwater treadmill; otherwise, swimming or walking in water depending on dogs ability
  • Adaptation to Pet's condition is important
  • Assistance with a sling is needed
  • Weight shifting while standing in water:  making the Pet bear its weight once on the left, than on the right by pushing him gently at the level of the hip


PAW PROTECTION (while walking):

  • With a bandage, bootie, or socks as needed