CVC highlight: DIY veterinary rehabilitation for patients with patella and cruciate injuries
Goals: Superficial heat can provide analgesia, decrease muscle spasms, increase impulse conduction, increase fibrous tissue elasticity, increase vasodilation, and decrease blood pressure (if heat is applied for long periods).
DIY tip: Create your own hot packs by immersing towels in hot water or dampening the towels and warming them in the microwave. Then put the towels in a plastic bag, and place it on the affected area. Be sure the towels are not so hot that they cause burns.
Goals: Cold therapy can reduce a patient's inflammation, edema formation, muscle spasms, and pain.
How to do it: Just as physical rehabilitation sessions start with heat therapy, cryotherapy can be used for 10 to 15 minutes after each session is finished. You can use commercial ice packs or frozen bags of vegetables. Always place insulation between the cold source and the skin, and inspect the skin every few minutes. Sanitize cold packs between patients to prevent nosocomial infections. It is also recommended to cover incisions with vitamin A and D ointment or a triple antibiotic ointment to prevent the damp layer from potentially infecting the fresh surgical site.
DIY tip: Create your own ice packs by adding 1 part rubbing alcohol to 3 parts water in a plastic bag.
Goals: Walking exercises can increase range of motion, promote normal gait and placement, improve muscle mass and strength, improve circulation of the blood and lymphatic vessels, increase endurance, and prevent joint degeneration.
How to do it: Place a leash on the patient, and position the patient on a firm surface that provides good footing. Walk the patient slowly so the patient has adequate time to place each limb on the ground and shift its weight to that limb, ensuring even therapy throughout all limbs. As the patient improves, you can increase the speed of walking and eventually allow the patient to run on the leash. Other exercises that can be performed on a leash include:
DIY tip: If your practice doesn't have a flight of stairs, make your own out of wood. The stairs should be 10 to 12 in deep for most patients and have good footing material on them that can also be cleaned, such as rubber mats or outdoor carpeting. The ideal height will vary depending on the size of the patient.