Supporting the Brain and Spine Injuries

Supporting the Brain and Spine Injuries

Neurological problems stem from the pet’s nervous system: the brain, spinal cord and nerves, and can lead to unsteady walking or even paralysis of the legs.
Supporting the Brain and Spine Injuries

When pets suffer from neurological problems the symptoms are significant and can be very worrying! 

Neurological injuries are complex and require intensive veterinary assessment and diagnosis, including physical examination, blood work and often imaging like MRI or CT scans. The likelihood of a full recovery depends on the cause of symptoms, the duration of the injury, and many pet factors. The recovery process takes time and can be slow. During this time, your pet often needs intensive support.

Benefits of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation is aimed at helping the nerves regenerate by utilising their ability to reorganise and adapt, known as neuroplasticity. We select techniques and equipment that encourage and target functional retraining of motor learning, such as specific manual therapies and massage, electrical stimulation, laser therapy, electromagnetic field therapy, and functional strength and conditioning home exercise programmes.

Rehabilitation plays an integral role in the care of an Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) patient, whether managed with medicine or surgery. In the post-op patient, care needs to focus on pain control, nursing care and rehabilitation of the nervous system to encourage the return of function.

We commonly treat dogs, cats and rabbits with neurological problems.

Common Symptoms and Disorders

Symptoms of brain problems

May include seizures, head tilt, nausea, tremors, disorientation, difficulty standing, ataxia (wobbly walk), shifting eyes and blindness.

Symptoms of spinal problems

May include pain, weakness, unsteady walk, lack of coordination, muscular weakness or paralysis of front or back legs, urination problems and the loss of feeling or sensation in affected legs.

Common Neurological Disorders

Common disorders and problems include vestibular disease (the balance system), epilepsy, cerebellar syndrome, spondylosis or bridging of the spine, tumours, spinal disease, wobbler syndrome, IVDD or disc herniation, and also unknown causes which we call ‘idiopathic’.

Therapies used to Treat Neurological Disorders

All our therapies are non-painful and non-invasive. Therapies vary depending on your pet, their needs and condition.

Manual Therapy

Many specialised ‘hands-on’ techniques are used by our veterinary therapists to assess and treat joints, soft tissue abnormalities & muscles tightness. Therapeutic massage is also used to treat muscle tension and tightness which occur secondary to neurological problems.

More about Manual Therapy

Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation - (NMES)

At higher frequencies, NMES is used to stimulate motor nerve fibres of weak muscles which results in muscle contraction to help in the strengthening of the muscle. NMES is most often used in patients that are too weak to move certain muscle groups – muscles that have atrophy or loss due to disuse after injury or from neurological disease.

More about NMES

Laser Therapy - (photobiomodulation)

Therapeutic laser uses invisible infrared light energy (photons) to penetrate deep into tissues and enhance tissue healing. Laser therapy can be used to help rehabilitate patients with pain, tissue swelling, inflammation, muscular tightness, neurological conditions, and also to deliver laser-puncture (acupuncture via laser).

More about Laser Therapy

Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy - (PEMF)

PEMF is used to generate low level electrical fields in the body, which target the bodies anti-inflammatory process to aid in tissue repair and pain relief. In patients with nervous system issues, PEMF helps to support neuroplasticity or nerve healing.

More about PEMF

Digatherm - thermal imaging

Digital infrared thermal imaging with Digatherm helps us to visualise the pain and inflammation with a non-invasive physiological body scan that evaluates your pet’s circulation, neurological and musculoskeletal function. Thermal imaging is not a diagnosis, but a step to help us to target our treatments and identify areas of poor blood flow in neurological cases such as intervertebral disc disease.

More about Digatherm

Therapeutic exercise

For neurological conditions, healing occurs via neuroplasticity. Exercise needs to focus on both sensation (carrying messages to the brain) and motor or muscle (carrying messages to the muscle) recovery. Many various neurological techniques and exercises are selected to support recovery, depending on the type of injury, tissues involved, severity and ability of the pet. Both proprioception (foot placement) and balance exercises, along with strengthening, are key in neurological injuries. Various training equipment is utilised to match your pet’s needs and ability.

More About Therapeutic Exercise

Case Studies

Dau Dau had a surgery to stop several discs pressing on his spinal cord at his neck 3 months before our team met him. He was unable to walk on all four legs. Watch more to see his rehabilitation journey!
Dash the handsome dachshund had a spinal surgery for intervertebral disease which has caused him nerve damage and limited mobility. We applied physiotherapy techniques to help him to be able to walk in confidence again!

Getting Treatment from Paws in Motion

Our process for neurological disorders such as spinal problems

Information and History

Initially we need to collect as much information as possible about your pet and your concerns; we will send you a detailed online questionnaire to complete. We will also reach out to your family veterinarian and /or specialist for your pet’s full medical history.

Initial Assessment

At our physiotherapy initial consultation, we assess the gait and movement of your pet, review the medical history and perform a thorough physical assessment to determine which parts of their neurological and musculoskeletal systems are affected.

Treatment Plan

Working together with you, we then devise a physiotherapy and rehabilitation treatment plan which meets the needs and goals of your individual pet. The treatment plan will generally include a variety of therapies and home care for you to continue at home, alongside our treatments.

Ongoing Therapy and Evaluation

Regular physiotherapy re-assessments are made throughout the treatment period to ensure your pet is progressing well with their rehabilitation and to update any home exercises prescribed. The frequency varies depending on your pet’s needs.

"Always remember how grateful we’re for all you’ve done."

RAINBOW TSE (pet: Buddy)

"One of the best things to happen on our journey in seeking the best recovery options for our beloved 9 year old Pomeranian Dau Dau was being introduced to Dr. Jane."

Adrian (pet: Dau Dau)

Arrange physiotherapy for your pet.

Our rehabilitation therapist and veterinary surgeon, Dr Jane McNae, is happy to take on new patients and assess their needs, even if they are not under current veterinary care. Sometimes, if further tests or treatment are needed, we may need to refer you back to your family veterinarian for care.

We are here to support your pet’s recovery, as much or as little as you need us. Online consultations can help to keep you on the right path.

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