Rehabilitation & Fitness

rehabFor over 80 years, physical therapy has helped human patients recover from injury and surgery by improving 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. 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 return your pet to a meaningful life. We will determine the most appropriate treatments and implement them in our state-of-the-art facility equipped with underwater treadmills, therapeutic ultrasound, electrical stimulation, therapeutic exercise equipment, and lasers. 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 treadmill
  • Land treadmill
  • Ultrasound (for heating of deep tissues and inflammation management)
  • Electrical stimulation (for muscle re-education; as well as pain and inflammation management)
  •  Iontophoresis (to carry medication to underlying tissues with the use of an electrical current for the management of tendonitis and other inflammatory processes)
  •  Massage/myofascial release (to relieve painful trigger points and muscle spasms, improve relaxation, circulation, and awareness of limbs, and to lengthen tight tissues)
  • Joint mobilizations and stretching (to restore range of motion)
  • Therapeutic Exercise (for strengthening, improving awareness of limbs, improving coordination, and to improve function)
  • Gait retraining
  • Cart consultations
  • Prosthetics
  • Balance retraining
  • Cold and heat therapy
  • Weight management
  • Athletic conditioning

Sporting and Working Dogs

Services are also available for canine athletes participating in hunting, field trial, agility, 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.  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 beneficial especially when hot and humid conditions limit more conventional training and conditioning methods.