Sunday, June 8, 2014

Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation for Animals: A Guide for the Consumer, by Susan E. Davis, PT

Joycare Onsite, ISBN 9780989275002,  September 2013

As pets have become more closely bound into our lives as family members, we are increasingly willing to treat conditions and injuries that previously led to euthanasia, but that leads to another challenge. How do we best manage recovery, or preserve movement and function so that our pets can be comfortable and lead satisfying lives?

Susan E. Davis had a long and successful career as a licensed physical therapist for humans before love of animals and the desire for a new challenge led her to the newly developing field of physical therapy and rehabilitation for animals.

It's important to understand what this book isn't. It's not a how-to, with lots of instructions on how to do physical therapy yourself. Done without knowledge and training, that can hurt your pet more than help. This is a guide to working with a physical therapist or a rehabilitation-trained veterinary specialist.

Davis lays out in clear and understandable terms the conditions in which physical therapy/rehabilitation is useful, what can be expected, how and when to seek physical therapy, and what you should ask the therapist, and how to evaluate success.

She discusses injuries and surgery and the kinds of physical therapy that will increase the speed and completeness of healing, including massage, swimming, laser therapy, various exercises, and manipulation of injured limbs and joints. Another section deals with conditions where recovery cannot be expected, but physical therapy can provide relief and prolong comfortable life.

Finally, she talks about exercises that can increase strength and flexibility in healthy, active dogs, to reduce the risk of injury and keep the dog healthy and active.

I was very pleased with the readability, accessibility, and clarity of this book, and with the fact that Davis believes in the importance of what she does but also is careful not to oversell and promise miracles.

Strongly recommended for any dog owner, or owner of any animal, who needs or may need in the future physical therapy for their animals.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

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