Dr. Cory Sims, clinical director for Animal Rehabilitation and Wellness, took a class on the subject last July and saw instant results when she began using it with her patients. After discovering she needed more space, she opened Animal Rehabilitation and Wellness with partner Troy Mendia in March of this year. Animals are dropped off in the morning on therapy days and treated to fun exercise sessions interspersed by breaks. Boarding is available for pets with medical conditions that require special attention while their owners are out of town.
Physical therapy can be used to help animals recover from surgery or injury. It can also slow the progress of degenerative diseases, promote weight loss in obese pets and provide conditioning for sport or work dogs, and it serves as a helpful counterpart to a pet’s traditional veterinary visits. The center also provides cold laser therapy for joint pain and surgical recovery, plus electrical stimulation for pain relief.
Using no needles or medications, the center is designed to make pets feel comfortable. “It looks like a gym,” said Sims. The tools used in physical therapy are more like toys than medical equipment. Yoga balls, padded hurdles and orange cones make for a fun and engaging environment. “It’s play time,” said Sims, “as far as the dog knows.”
One tool of the trade, the underwater treadmill, allows dogs suffering from pain or weight problems to exercise in a low-impact environment. The water pressure soothes aching joints and provides resistance to movement, prompting muscle conditioning. Sims advocates the treadmill as safer than swimming for doggie exercise, as the environment is controlled and the movements are more natural.
Physical therapy isn’t just for dogs. Cats can benefit from the center’s programs and boarding, and even enjoy a special, quiet room in the facility designed with kitty comfort in mind. Wide windows, a tunnel, a cat tree and a diffuser that emits calming pheromones ensure feline happiness. Cats enjoy napping in their “studios with a bath,” as Sims put it – multi-level kennels with a separate litter box area.
When Jules the Rottweiler began seriously suffering from her arthritis, her owners thought they might need to euthanize her. But they first brought her to Animal Rehabilitation and Wellness, and after a few months of physical therapy, Jules was off her medications and running three miles a day with her owner. Her remarkable success isn’t unusual; Sims has seen improvement in every case she has treated. “It works,” she said with a smile. “It’s hugely rewarding for me, and it’s a huge gift for the family, who get their pet back.”
Animal Rehabilitation and Wellness, Inc., located at 4505 O’Hara Ave. in Brentwood, is open Mondays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 925-234-2364 or visit www.animalrehabilitationandwellness.com.