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Rehabilitation & Fitness

For more than 100 years, physical therapy has helped human patients recover from injury, illness and surgery by improving function and alleviating pain. At Gulf Coast Animal Rehabilitation & Fitness (GCARF), we strive to achieve these same results for your recovering pet.

Our foremost goal is to safely return your pet to an optimal level of function as quickly as possible, minimizing “down time” and psychological distress for you and your pet. Additional rehabilitation goals include increasing joint motion, improving muscle strength and coordination, decreasing pain and inflammation, restoring balance and endurance, and improving body composition (losing fat/gaining muscle).

Upon referral from your primary veterinarian or surgeon, your pet will be evaluated by the physical therapist to identify the limitations your pet faces and the goals you have to restore your pet’s quality of life. We will determine the most appropriate treatments and implement them in our state-of-the-art facility equipped with underwater treadmills, cold LASERs, therapeutic exercise equipment, electrical stimulation and therapeutic ultrasound. Additionally, you will be instructed in techniques to reinforce these treatments at home, further enhancing your pet’s recovery.

Rehabilitation Services

Our comprehensive care includes a the full spectrum of rehabilitation services:

  • Underwater treadmills
  • Land treadmills
  • Therapeutic Exercise (for strengthening, restoring function, and improving awareness of limbs, balance and coordination)
  • Gait and mobility retraining
  • Joint mobilizations and stretching (to restore range of motion)
  • Therapeutic ultrasound (for heating of deep tissues and management of contractures/flexibility restrictions)
  • Electrical stimulation (for muscle re-education)
  • Massage/myofascial release (to relieve painful trigger points and muscle spasms, improve relaxation, circulation, and awareness of limbs, and to lengthen tight tissues)
  • Cart consultations, fittings, and instructions in use
  • Braces (orthotics) and prosthetics
  • Cold and heat therapy
  • Weight management
  • Athletic conditioning

Sporting and Working Dogs

Services are also available for canine athletes participating in sporting events including agility, hunting, field trials, coursing and fly ball. Due to the special stresses placed upon these dogs’ bodies, fitness services can prevent a muscle imbalance or minor injury from progressing into a career-ending problem. If your dog’s performance has recently declined, we can assess his or her musculoskeletal status to determine if rehabilitative interventions may help. We work closely with the Sports Medicine team to coordinate additional diagnostics and surgery if needed. If you are preparing for the start of the next sporting season, we can help condition your dog to optimize his or her physical condition and avoid injury. This is especially beneficial when hot and humid conditions limit more conventional outdoor training and conditioning methods.

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