More about Cromwell ARC


Physiotherapy Snapshot Large

Physiotherapy aims to restore movement and function using a range of manual therapies, exercises and lifestyle changes. The Cromwell ARC is well equipped to offer a range of physiotherapy treatments, including:

  • Massage and Mobilisations – Massage is the manual manipulation of soft tissue, which includes muscle, tendons, ligament and fascia, to bring about a therapeutic effect. Its’ benefits have been recognised for thousands of years; paintings of massage therapy dating back to as early as 2500BC have been found on the walls of Egyptian burial tombs.


    Massage is useful for treating tense and painful muscles, helping to maintain or improve the range of motion of joints, reduce the painful ‘splinting’ effect that occurs when joints are injured or diseased and can be an excellent way of improving the overall wellbeing of a pet.


    In combination with massage therapy, our physiotherapists may also use a range of mobilisations to help your pet. These manual techniques are used to relieve pain and maintain or improve the range of motion of your pet’s joints.

  • Myofascial Release – The fascia is a layer of connective tissue that surrounds the muscles, tendons and ligaments. When these structures become damaged, the fascia is also damaged. Myofascial release is a specialist massage technique that addresses the damaged fascia.

  • Therapeutic Ultrasound – Ultrasound waves are passed through the soft tissue (muscles, tendons and ligaments). This causes the particles within the soft tissue to vibrate and the energy within the ultrasound waves to be transferred into the soft tissue. This additional energy promotes optimum conditions for healing, meaning therapeutic ultrasound is an excellent therapy for soft tissue injuries. It is also very useful when dealing with old injuries and scar tissue.

  • Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy (PEMF) – Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy or PEMF, is the application of a magnetic field to the body. Rather than being a static magnet, like those we might put on dog collars or wear on bracelets, the magnet used for this therapy has an alternating electric current sent through it, meaning the magnet rapidly switches on and off. This causes small electric currents to form within the cells of the body which in turn, bring about therapeutic effects. Your physiotherapist may choose to use this painless treatment for your pet if they want to help control pain, reduce inflammation, treat very new injuries or old injuries that have failed to heal fully (including fractures).

  • Exercise Based Rehabilitation – The ultimate aim of physiotherapy and rehabilitation is for your pet to get back to doing all the things they love. An effective way of achieving this is through the use of therapeutic exercises. At an appropriate point in your pet’s treatment, your physiotherapist will introduce simple but targeted exercises to encourage them to move in a very specific way. For example, your pet may be asked to walk over a series of poles to encourage them to flex and extend their joints or to stand on a wobble cushion to improve core strength!


    As most pets benefit from performing these exercises daily, your physiotherapist will spend time showing you how to ask your pet to perform them safely and correctly at home.

What happens during a physiotherapy session?

During your pet’s physiotherapy assessment, the physiotherapist will take a full history and details about your pet’s lifestyle, including diet, exercise regime and home environment. They will perform a dynamic assessment, which means watching them walk and trot and also assess muscle quality, the range of movement of their joints and assess how painful they are.


Based on the information gained during the assessment, the physiotherapist will create a treatment plan for your pet, including short, medium and long term goals. Your physiotherapist will then follow this treatment plan during subsequent sessions. However, as your pet will be assessed at every appointment, the treatment plan may change to ensure your pet reaches the goals set for them.

My pet finds the vets stressful; will they find the physio stressful as well?

Your pet may be worried the first time they visit the Cromwell ARC but everything will be carried out at a pace your pet is comfortable with. The majority of pets soon learn that having physiotherapy is a very different experience to most veterinary treatments. Also, because most of the treatments encourage the release of endorphins, the ‘feel good’ chemicals, they quickly learn to associate this feeling with their physiotherapy treatment.

Should I give my pet their pain relief before their physiotherapy treatment?

Yes! Please give all prescribed medication to your pet as you normally would prior to any physiotherapy treatments.

How long will a session last?

Following referral by your veterinary surgeon for physiotherapy, your pet will be booked in for an assessment. This first appointment will last around an hour. Subsequent physiotherapy treatments will last between 30 and 45 minutes.

How often will you need to see my pet?

A lot of pets do very well with weekly appointments initially. However, some pets will need more intensive treatment, so may need to be seen more regularly. As your pet improves, the frequency of appointments may be reduced and some pets will not need ongoing treatment once the problem has resolved. However, those with more chronic conditions may need regular treatment to keep them mobile and comfortable.

How will physiotherapy affect my pet?

Your pet may be quite tired and a little stiff after their treatment, but this should pass quickly. You might also notice they drink a little more than normal. This is the body’s way of flushing out waste products following treatment and is nothing to worry about. This should settle within 24 hours of treatment.


Some pets feel invigorated following treatment but it is important to follow the exercise guidance given by your physiotherapist to prevent them overdoing it in the early stages of recovery.

Can I stay with my pet while they are having physiotherapy?

We encourage owners to stay with their pets while they are receiving treatment, as here at the Cromwell ARC, we strongly believe owners are an integral part of the rehabilitation team. Also, the physiotherapist will discuss and demonstrate a range of things you can do at home to aid the rehabilitation of your pet.

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