At 4Paws Animal Rehabilitation & Wellness Clinic, the care we provide is an extension of the family veterinarian's care of their patient. Treatment plans and current therapies are always communicated to ensure continuity of care between the primary care provider and our practice.

The Benefits of Rehabilitation
  • Improve muscle strength
  • Act as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic, and improve blood flow
  • Improve or maintain range of motion
  • Improve load bearing on bone, tendons, and ligaments

Contraction of the muscles leads to decreased blood and oxygen flow, thus decreases waste removal from the area and increasing endorphin release. Massage involves stroking and/or kneading along the length of the muscle to increase blood flow, decrease tension, and prevent and/or break up adhesions. Massage can be used in post-surgical patients to diminish congestion and prevent adhesions, in neurological patients to improve muscle tone, and in sports medicine to prepare muscles for training and to accelerate muscle recovery.

Therapeutic Exercises
Passive Range of Motion (PROM) and stretching exercises are performed on an animal by our staff to help maintain or improve muscle, tendon and ligament flexibility. With guidance from our staff, animals also enjoy and benefit from individualized active exercise programs developed to meet specific goals. Examples of these include treadmill, balance boards, physioball exercises, circling, cavalettis, surface variation, changing incline/hills and stair climbing.

Goals of Therapeutic Exercises:
  • Improving active pain-free range of motion and flexibility
  • Improve use of limb and lameness
  • Improve muscle mass and muscle strength
  • Improve daily function
  • Help prevent further injury

Therapeutic Ultrasound
Ultrasound is commonly used on tendon and muscle injuries, and certain conditions resulting in decreased range of motion. Sound energy is used to warm deep tissues.

  • Aids in breaking down adhesions such as in post operative Femoral Head Ostectomy (FHO)
  • Aids in proper alignment of tendon fibers post trauma
  • Allows better stretch on  passive range of motion
  • Encourages bone healing
  • Improves blood perfusion
  • Improves lymphatic flow
  • Analgesia
Low Level Laser Therapy
Laser therapy has been shown to relieve pain from muscle and joint soreness, relieve symptoms of arthritis, relax muscle spasms and increase blood flow to an area, helping wounds to heal.
  • Increases the cell metabolism at the level of the mitochondria
  • Accelerates wound healing
  • Improves perfusion
  • Encourages neovascularization
  • Anti-inflammatory effects
  • Analgesic effects
  • Reduces edema
  • Encourages bone healing

Cryotherapy (cold) decreases cellular metabolism, constricts blood vessels, and reduces pain, and muscle spasms. Superficial heat therapy increases blood flow, reduces pain, increases extensibility of fibrous tissues, and aids in muscle relaxation.

Effects of Cryotherapy:

  • Vasoconstriction
  • Decreased cellular metabolism
  • Hunting Response-the occurrence of vasodilatation approximately 20-40 minutes after application of cold
  • Pain relief
  • Reduction of muscle spasms

Uses for Cryotherapy:

  • Arthritis and tendonitis
  • Trauma
  • Postoperative pain relief and reduction of inflammation
  • Acute arthritis
  • To prevent post exercise inflammation

Effects of Superficial Heat:

  • Increased blood flow
  • Increase impulse conduction velocity
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Pain relief
  • Increase extensibility of fibrous tissues
  • Effective if tissue temperature rises by at least 37.4 degrees Fahrenheit–but harmful  if tissues are heated above 113 degrees Fahrenheit

Uses for Superficial Heat:

  • Chronic arthritis
  • Spondylarthrosis
  • Muscle tightness and tension
  • To prepare tendons and ligaments for exercise
  • To warm muscles prior to massage and
  • Prior to local electrical stimulation

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT)
Shock waves are mechanical waves characterized by a very sharp and rapid pressure rise followed by a brief negative pressure period. They are delivered directly to body tissues via a coupling gel.

Uses for ESWT:

  • Joint disease
  • Hip arthritis
  • Stifle arthritis
  • Elbow arthritis

Aquatic Therapy
The physical properties of water can be utilized effectively for physical therapy and rehabilitation.

Uses for Aquatic Therapy:

  • Rehab after orthopedic surgery for:
    • Fractures
    • Osteochondrosis dissecans              
    • Cranial cruciate ligament ruptures
    • Hip joint replacement
  • Rehab after neurological injury such as:
    • IVDD-post operative
    • Degenerative myelopathy
    • Fibrocartilaginous embolic myelopathy
  • Muscle Strengthening and improve joint function
  • Arthritis
  • Spondylosis
  • Hip dysplasia

Athletic Conditioning Services
Our conditioning services are essential for competitive agility dogs, show dogs and working dogs. Aerobic exercise and cross training improve endurance, flexibility and strength, and help prevents injury. Dr. Tuttle’s own dog Abby competes in agility trials and knows firsthand the benefits of conditioning.

Veterinary Spinal Manipulative Therapy
Also known as veterinary chiropractic, spinal manipulation therapy offers our canine and feline patients a gentle way to encourage their own bodies' healing mechanisms by using manual therapy or chiropractic adjustments. We are able to increase healing without the use of invasive drugs or chemicals, increasing performance and improving quality of life.

The American Veterinary Medical Association guidelines recommend a licensed veterinarian examine and establish a preliminary diagnosis prior to any initiation of alternative medical treatment. During this initial exam, the gait, posture and the alignment of the vertebra and extremities are evaluated.

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106 Parr Drive :: Huntersville, NC 28078 :: Phone: 704-948-8917 :: Fax: 704-948-6361

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