Rehabilitation and Fitness

Wendy Davies and dog in pool

The UF Small Animal Hospital has a Small Animal Rehabilitation and Fitness Center (RFC)  We are located within the UF Small Animal Hospital, 2089 SW 16th Avenue, Gainesville, Florida 32608.  To make an appointment, please call the UF Small Animal Hospital at (352) 392-2235.

All veterinary patients benefit from rehabilitation.  However, substantial benefits may be gained with rehabilitation for animals with the following conditions:

  • Post orthopedic surgery
  • Post neurologic surgery
  • Obesity
  • Arthritis
  • Non-operable orthopedic conditions (conditions in which surgery may be avoided or delayed, such as grade I-II MPL, early partial CCL rupture, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia)
  • Non-operable neurologic conditions (FCE)
  • Post amputation
  • Chronic, non-healing wound
  • Muscle wasting (Cushings disease, chemotherapy, etc.)
  • Geriatric animals
  • Canine athletes

What will veterinary rehabilitation therapy entail?

The first and most important part of rehab is establishment of a complete diagnosis. Often, animals with an obvious (or not so obvious) injury in one limb will develop compensatory changes in the rest of the body. We perform a thorough orthopedic and neurologic examination that documents and addresses all musculoskeletal abnormalities. Serial examinations will be performed at regular intervals to assess the effects of therapy and changes in the body.

Based on the results of the examination and patient history, an individualized treatment plan will be developed for each veterinary patient. A home exercise plan will be a key component of each plan, and exercises will be demonstrated to owners during the initial consult.

dog in underwater treadmill

If therapeutic modalities, hydrotherapy, or additional exercise therapy are recommended, patients will be scheduled for sessions throughout the week. Each patient will be given a ½ or full hour time slot (depending on the therapy) that will be dedicated toward his or her treatment. Sessions may be recommended up to 3 times/ week.

Therapeutic modalities offered include:             

  • Low level laser therapy
  • Underwater treadmill
  • Swimming
  • Land treadmill
  • Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (E-stim)
  • Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy
  • Exercise equipment including proprioception training
  • Manual therapy (range of motion, joint mobilization, massage)
  • Extracorporeal shockwave therapy*
  • Stem cell therapy **
  • Acupuncture
  • Therapeutic ultrasound
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
  • Cold compression therapy

*Shockwave therapy requires heavy sedation.

**Stem cell therapy requires general anesthesia for cell collection and heavy sedation 2 days later for cell injection.

See our FAQ page for more information.


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