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Rehabilitation & Fitness

Disease and injury can be painful and lead to chronic conditions which may inhibit mobility and become rehab - Elk Rapids Animal Hospitaldebilitating. These conditions can be as subtle as postural changes caused by aging, or acute injury.

Canine rehabilitation performed by a certified professional is an effective way to help your dog heal from injury and return to function in a shorter amount of time. Although commonly utilized for post-surgical healing, rehabilitation can be helpful for a variety of other conditions and is a key component in preventing injury. Our new rehabilitation facility in Elk Rapids Animal Hospital is ready to help your pet. Dr. Greenwald is certified in Physical Rehabilitation and Spinal Manipulation.  Missi is a licensed technician with certification in Physical Rehabilitation.  Dr. Schroeder will also be joining the rehab team.  She is currently in training to become a rehabilitation therapist. With several years of experience, our rehab team looks forward to offering an integrative approach to healing. 

Services offered include:

  • Massage & Stretching: The benefits of massage have been well documented in human and animal medicine.  A therapeutic massage will open blood vessels to improve circulation, enhance relaxation, ease trigger points, and potentially help the therapist locate troublesome areas.
  • Therapeutic Laser: Low level laser therapy is a non-invasive tool that boosts cell metabolism and increases circulation.  Some of the numerous benefits include: bone repair, wound healing, reduction of inflammation, and tendon/ligament repair.  LLL Therapy can also improve nerve function by enhancing nerve cell connection and regeneration. Treatments last 5-20 minutes and can be quite relaxing!
  • Class 3 b Laser: Cold laser therapy is also called Low-level laser therapy (LLLT). It uses clinically and biologically tested levels of laser to stimulate natural biological processes of healing and pain relief. This is done through stimulation of the mitochondria of the cell – which is often referred to as the powerhouse of the cell.
    • The increase in adenosine triphosphate (ATP) increases the cells metabolism and ability to heal and regenerate. The 3B laser must be in contact with the skin. As the light enters the skin, it stimulates ATP as well reactive oxidative reactions which is what controls the cellular metabolism (cellular respiration). Nitrous oxide (NO) is released which is a potent vasodilator which will increase circulation and decrease inflammation. There will be more oxygenation of tissues as well as more circulation of immune cells to the area.
    • The class of laser has to do with the power of the laser – class 4 being the strongest and while the most effective also potentially the most damaging to the eye. LLLT lasers should never burn and should be used by trained professionals (veterinarians, veterinary nurses/technicians, trained assistants). The wavelength of the laser will determine the depth of tissue treated with 670nm being consistent with red-light therapy and best for superficial treatment and dermatological conditions. 904 nm wavelength will penetrate deeper into the skin and are near infrared.
  • Balance & Proprioception Training: Balance work helps the patient maintain their center of gravity while working on strengthening different regions/muscles.  As you may know, the more balance we have, the less we fall down!  Proprioception work helps the patient understand where/how their feet are placed while standing and walking.  Some orthopedic and neurologic conditions can interrupt nerve “messages” that control feet placement. During this interruption, a patient may experience further injury or delayed healing.  Specific exercises can help retrain the limb while strengthening it at the same time.
  • Therapeutic Plan Development & Implementation Training: Some of the most challengingrehab & fitness - Elk Rapids Animal Hospital exercises may seem easy to you and me, but to an injured patient they can actually be quite difficult.  One of the most valuable tools in veterinary rehabilitation is the creation of a specific exercise (or group of exercises) for a patient’s specific condition.  Because conditions change, the performance of these exercises are monitored closely and tailored as changes occur.  As part of the planning process, training for the human counterpart is a necessity and hands on guidance is available every step of the way.  Most dogs find the exercise sessions so much fun that we can hardly call it exercise!
  • TENS: An application of electrical current through the skin, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is used primarily to manage pain.  A small, battery operated TENS unit delivers an electrical current through the skin and provides temporary pain relief.
  • Hydrotherapy (Underwater Treadmill): The combination of warm water, buoyancy, and resistance creates improved joint range of motion, endurance, muscle development, and heightened proprioception for neurological re-education.  Each treadmill session is personalized by adjusting the treadmill speed, water height, time, and distance. Some patients may benefit from just swimming in the tank with higher levels of water. **Certain rules apply** Please contact our therapists to ensure this will be a safe means of exercise for your pet.

If you have questions or would like additional information, please feel free to contact our rehabilitation center at

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