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What is Animal Physical Rehabilitation?

The human equivalent is physical therapy.  People typically go to physical therapy following injury, illness, disease or surgery to help promote the healing process and to return to optimum function.  Dogs can benefit from rehabilitation in much the same way. Animal physical rehabilitation can make a difference in the lives of all animals. Physical rehabilitation treats animals with dysfunction, injury, pain or physical abnormalities through the application of physics, biomechanics, anatomy, physiology, and psychology. Treatment techniques include modalities (ice, heat, electrical stimulation, and ultrasound), joint mobilization, soft tissue mobilization and massage, therapeutic exercise, aquatic therapy, acupressure, and much more.

How can I determine if my pet needs physical rehabilitation?

Many animals can benefit from the services of physical rehabilitation. In the human world of health care, we receive physical rehabilitation after an injury or surgery, for any type of pain or dysfunction. We also receive treatment after neurological injuries (such as a stroke), for fractures, sprains or strains, for the treatment of wounds, athletic injuries, arthritic conditions (Lyme Disease) and the effects of aging (osteoarthritis).

Animals can receive physical rehabilitation for all of the above. Too often, our pets do not receive physical rehabilitation and this may prevent them from returning to a full recovery.

What is the cost?

We only have three packages available. Single sessions are charged at SGD$ 120.00, for package of 5 sessions, each session is charged at SGD$ 100.00 and for package of 10 sessions, each session is only SGD$ 80.00

How do I get started?

Speak with your veterinarian about physical rehabilitation for your pet. A veterinarian’s referral is needed for the evaluation and treatment of your pet. If you are having difficulty speaking with your veterinarian about a referral, please contact us and we can contact your veterinarian for you.

How long will it take before I notice any improvement after rehabilitation begins?

Depending upon the diagnosis and condition of your pet, improvements may be seen with one session or it may take 3 or 4 sessions. Dogs with arthritis usually demonstrate small improvements immediately and larger improvements in a few weeks. Younger dogs may also demonstrate immediate improvements.

Can all animals benefit from physical rehabilitation?

Most animals (dogs, cats, horses to name a few) can benefit from physical rehabilitation. Realistically, there are many conditions that physical rehabilitation cannot cure. For example, physical rehabilitation treatments will not cure cancer, arthritis, or progressive neurological diseases. However, it can help improve the quality of life for many animals and it will help them lead longer and more functional lives.

Can physical rehabilitation help my healthy pet to prevent future injuries?

Physical rehabilitation can certainly play a role in the prevention of injuries. It is critical that owners maintain the musculoskeletal health of their pets and recognize any injuries or problems. Early detection may prevent further problems from occurring.

Can healthy dogs benefit from rehabilitation?

Absolutely!  We offer our services for the healthy dog to come in and get regular exercise.  This is especially popular where busy pet owners often has little time to exercise their pets.

The underwater treadmill is a wonderful cross training tool and is a benefit to any dog’s program.  For example, we have performance dogs come in once to twice a week to exercise in the underwater treadmill for thirty to forty-five minute sessions.  We also have dogs that have undergone rehabilitation come back in once or twice a week for underwater treadmill sessions.

Performance dogs, dogs with weight issues, arthritic pets and dogs that have recovered from conditions are perfect candidates for this program!

Will rehabilitation hurt my pet?

The therapies and approaches we use are safe and approved for animals. They also are administered by certified rehab veterinarians or practitioners and trained staff. Our practitioners will assess your pet and develop a custom plan based on his/her needs and your goals. Certain modalities and exercises may leave your pet sore after his/her appointment, but it is the equivalent of what you may feel after a hard work out. If your pet has been prescribed pain medications, please make sure to give these medications as directed/prior to your session.

How do you measure my pet’s progress in rehabilitation?

Rehabilitation is a multi-faceted process that requires constant contact and assessment – that’s why it’s important that we see your pet regularly (we recommend at least once per week). Our practitioners develop a customized program that is tailored to your pet’s specific needs and condition. We assess pain, weight bearing on individual limbs, muscle mass measurements, and more.

How often do you recommend rehabilitation?

In most cases, we recommend rehabilitation one to two times a week. However, this can be adjusted to fit your pet’s needs as well as your schedule and budget. But for some serious cases, it can be up to 3 times a week.

Can I stay with my pet during his/her appointment?

Absolutely! We request that you be present during the initial consult, and encourage you to stay for all subsequent treatments. Knowledge and awareness is key to your dog’s successful rehabilitation.

During your pet’s appointment, the practitioner and/or trained assistants will hold your pet and perform all of the recommended exercises and treatments. You may observe your pet or wait for him or her. However, if your pet is extremely clinging, we might request you to observe from a distance so it does not interfere with our rehabilitation sessions.

Can I be in the pool with my dog?

Absolutely! We even have a set of scuba equipment for you to use if you choose to. And for those wanting to take photos, please check with our therapists. We do have cameras on site that you can use. For those wanting to be in the pool, please bring a change of clothes and towels. We do have towels on hand, but it is only reserve for your pets.

What if a more serious medical condition is suspected during evaluation or therapy?

You will be contacted and the results of the assessment will be discussed with you. If emergency treatment is indicated, it will be performed by your preferred vet or we can give recommendation on vets as well for further image diagnostics.

What if the animal is non-cooperative?

One of the central philosophies of canine rehabilitation is to provide a comforting environment for our patients that is conducive to healing. We will make every attempt to make the rehabilitation experience enjoyable for the veterinary patient. Treatment modalities will be modified according to the animal’s temperament. However, if the animal is not able to relax or cooperate with our treatment, or threatens our safety, we will have to work with the trust level (at no additional cost) between our practitioners and your pet first before any further treatment or evaluation is done.

Who performs the physical therapy evaluation and treatment?

A licensed physical therapist will perform your dog’s evaluation. Follow-up treatments may be administered by other members of our highly trained staff, which includes veterinary technicians and physical therapist assistants. Our staff are trained practitioners from University of Tennessee.

Can’t my pet just swim in a pool or lake for exercise?

Yes, but often times the condition affecting the animal can become worse from improper exercise routines. The underwater treadmill is a controlled exercise environment where walking speed, water temperature and water depth can all be controlled. The patient may also be given adequate rest periods if they are tired, facilitating optimal conditioning or appropriate rehabilitation from an injury. The therapist also helps to adjust therapy sessions based on how the patient is doing.

Most patients participating in aquatic therapy are already out of shape and swimming in a pool or lake requires more cardiovascular strength and endurance than is available.

Swimming in a hydrotherapy pool may be effective for some conditions, but again several factors are unable to be controlled during a free swim.

Who performs the hydrotherapy rehabilitation programs?

Our physical therapist trained by the biggest hydro training facilities in UK and all of them posses the Level 3 Certificate in Hydrotheraphy for Small Animals UK. Many “therapists” in Singapore who are not trained and promoting hydrotherapy rehabilitation, can cause more injuries in dogs.

How soon after surgery can we start physical therapy?

The post-operative waiting period is determined by your dog’s surgeon, based on factors such as the type of surgery. In most cases, physical therapy can begin 2-6 weeks after surgery. The sooner physical therapy begins once your surgeon has determined it to be safe, the faster and more effective physical rehabilitation will be.

In some cases, physical therapy can be an alternative to surgery. Conditions that can often be managed non-surgically with proper rehabilitation include cruciate ligament tears, patellar luxations, hip dislocations and disc issues.

How long will it take for my dog to recover from surgery with rehabilitation?

This is dependent on the type of surgery and concurrent conditions your pet may have. Generally, the recovery process spans eight to 12 weeks for most procedures for a healthy pet. When you meet with your practitioner for your initial visit, he/she will assess your pet and propose a plan and timeline for recovery.

I have a very big dog. Can you provide him with therapy?

Our facilities (including our in-pool treadmill) are big enough to fit even the largest of canines.

Are there any supplements that can help my dog’s rehabilitation?

It will depend upon your dog’s condition.  There are supplements and vitamins that we recommend for arthritis, discospondylosis, and degenerative myelopathy.  There may also be Chinese herbs that may help your pet in various situations. For TCM herbs, we will have to refer you to one of the TCVM in Singapore.

My dog has neurological problems and cannot move his rear legs, will physical therapy help him?

Without evaluating your dog it is difficult to tell for certain. We have worked with a number of dogs that had severely impaired rear limbs and have helped them achieve greatly improved function.

My dog needs surgery, when should I bring him in for therapy?

We have developed a protocol to educate owners on immediate post-op care. This program includes one pre-surgery visit to instruct the owner how to specifically perform range of motion techniques, neuromuscular electrical stimulation to avoid muscle atrophy and improve healing as well as other surgery specific info. Actual therapy begins when your vet releases them, usually just after sutures are removed or about 10 days post-op. There are some circumstances that allow rehab to begin sooner, but YOUR SURGEON ALWAYS DECIDES.

Can’t my pet just swim in a pool or lake for exercise?

Yes, but often times the condition affecting the animal can become worse from improper exercise routines. The underwater treadmill is a controlled exercise environment where walking speed, water temperature and water depth can all be controlled. The patient may also be given adequate rest periods if they are tired, facilitating optimal conditioning or appropriate rehabilitation from an injury. The therapist also helps to adjust therapy sessions based on how the patient is doing.

Most patients participating in aquatic therapy are already out of shape and swimming in a pool or lake requires more cardiovascular strength and endurance than is available.

Swimming in a hydrotherapy pool may be effective for some conditions, but again several factors are unable to be controlled during a free swim.

What if my dog is scared of the water and/or can’t swim?

A lot of dogs have fear of water and swimming.  During hydrotherapy, all dogs will be under direct supervision of a rehab specialist who goes into the pool to ensure your dog’s safety.  We use a lot of positive reinforcement, encouragement, and patience to help them overcome their fears.  Most dogs get used to the underwater treadmill very quickly which we feel is because their feet are touching the ground at all times.  Lifejackets can also be used to help assist your dog.

Will the pool chemicals hurt my dog?

Our pool are not chlorinated. We are using Salt Water Pool. The facilities are kept clean by contract pool cleaners that cleans the pool once a week and more often, if the need arise. Unlike most hydro pools in Singapore using only chlorine as an disinfectant, our pools are using the same technology of aquariums.

What do you exactly do for Canine Cancer Management?

With years of dealing with cancer in canine, we have discover what is a better approach to diagnostics, treatments available and what is the best way to aid your pet.

Is there a vet in RA Healing Centre?

Not at this moment of time. We work closely with one of the top vets in Singapore.

Do you sell a “cure” for cancer?

No, we do not sell a cure for cancer. We will help you plan your pet’s anti-cancer diet, introducing you the right supplements needed and eliminated food, water or any other substance that can promote the growth of cancer.

What is Nutraceuticals?

Over the years nutraceuticals have attracted considerable interest due to their potential nutritional, safety and therapeutic effects. They could have a role in a plethora of biological processes, including antioxidant defenses, cell proliferation, gene expression, and safeguarding of mitochondrial integrity.

Therefore nutraceuticals may be used to improve health, prevent chronic diseases, postpone the aging process (and in turn increase life expectancy), or just support functions and integrity of the body. They are considered to be healthy sources for prevention of life threatening diseases such as diabetes, renal and gastrointestinal disorders, as well as different infections.

How it works

At the pressures used in the hyperbaric chamber, the  patient’s plasma and tissue oxygen level is 15 times greater than is normally present with 100 percent oxygen at sea level. With HBOT, oxygen diffuses through tissues even when blood supply to the area is significantly compromised. When there are constricted or compromised vessels, plasma tends to flow through more readily than red blood cells, which normally carry the oxygenated blood. When plasma is exposed to hyperbaric oxygen it can carry up to 20 times more oxygen to tissues alone without the red blood cells being involved. Therefore, small compromised capillaries can deliver oxygen to the tissues they supply even when only plasma can pass through them. Therefore, oxygen delivered by HBOT can make the difference between cell death or cell recovery.

Can you bring your pet’s pillow or other comforting item? If so, what type of item is acceptable?

A blanket or pillow that is 100% cotton may accompany your pet into the chamber. Nothing is permitted that could generate a spark (no Velcro)!

How about static from my dog’s fur?

We will have to wet the fur down prior to using the HBOT.

Is my dog vital signs being monitored?

Yes, our chamber is specially designed in such a way that a PetMap is attached from outside the chamber to inside. petMAP provides all  BP parameters  (systolic, diastolic, MAP) and heart rate utilizing proprietary oscillometric technology for enhanced sensitivity, accuracy, and performance.

What kind of chamber are you using?

Animal specific “Class C” chambers are built with a steel and thick borosilicate glass construction.  Steel chambers eliminate the possibility of “crazing,” and are engineered specifically for the safety and comfort of animals.

I saw on some other website using a tube made acrylic as chamber

Animal scratching of the internal surface of the acrylic tube would constitute “crazing,” which is a network of fine cracks. Deep crazing (.010″) can compromise the integrity of the acrylic cylinder and ultimately cause it to rupture, which can lead to serious injury to both the animal and the operator. Furthermore, our competitors using such chamber are administering only 21% of Oxygen to pressure of 1.5, which mathematically works out to be approximately works out to be about 32% of oxygen only.

How do we know the air in the chamber is 100% oxygen?

Our chamber unit is equipped with gauges monitoring both CO2 and O2 levels. These are the same analyzers used in humans hyperbaric chambers and also used among both scuba and military divers.

I saw this inflatable chamber that I can buy online. Is it the same?

Mild inflatable chambers are NOT considered true hyperbaric chambers, they are only capable of pressurizations reaching 1.3 atmospheres or less, this is call “mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy” (mHBOT). They cannot regrow bone and tissue and can actually increase growth of undesirable aerobic bacteria. The integrity of inflatable chambers can be compromised by animals and are NOT safe for veterinary use. They are also vulnerable to environmental factors.

How is the pet prepared for treatment?

The pet should be fed before each treatment. A plastic water bowl and a 100% cotton blanket are the ONLY items allowed to accompany the pet into the chamber. No pet cologne, powder, collars/leashes, or nail polish are allowed. All transdermal patches must be removed.

Do not try to smuggle items into the chamber! Contraband will only reduce the pet’s treatment time and could harm your pet’s health.

Will my pet require sedation?

Most patients are calm and relaxed during treatment and do not require any sedative. In some instances that an animal is scare, we cannot use allow the animal to be in the chamber for the safety of the animal.

What are the contraindications for HBOT?

Pneumothorax is the only absolute contraindication. Older type of pace makers and certain cancer drugs are also contraindicated.

How long does a session last?

Once the patient is in the chamber, pressure is gradually increased to the desired therapy pressure. Once at the target pressure, sessions may last between 60 to 90 minutes. Pressure is gradually decreased and the patient is removed from the chamber.