Rehab Appointments: What to Expect

Rehabilitation, also known as animal/pet physical therapy, is the practice of providing rehabilitative care to pets who have gone through surgery, have suffered an injury, or are experiencing chronic pain. It can help pets to recover significantly faster from illnesses and injuries, and to live an overall better quality life.

“Pet Physical Therapy” vs “Rehabilitation”

There are two main terms used to describe this practice: Animal Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation. Why are there two names for the same practice? If the therapist is a veterinarian, the practice is referred to as rehabilitation. If the therapist is a human physical therapist, it’s referred to as animal physical therapy. 

Only two types of people can get certified in this practice: Veterinarians or Human Physical Therapists. Dr. Wilson is a Veterinarian with 15 years of experience and has worked locally in NH since 2010. She graduated from Atlantic Veterinary College in Prince Edward Island, Canada, in 2005. In 2016, she became certified in Medical Acupuncture at Colorado State University, and in 2019, she became certified in rehabilitation therapy at the Canine Rehabilitation Institute.

What to Expect at Your Rehab Therapy Appointment

When you schedule a rehabilitation therapy consultation with Dr. Wilson, you can expect a 1.5 hour-long appointment, including the following: 

Getting to Know You

During the first half-hour, Dr. Wilson will spend some time getting to know you and your pet. It’s important to understand your pet’s normal behaviors, quirks, and personality in order to provide treatment options that make sense for your pet.

Pet Records/History Review

Next, Dr. Wilson will review your pet’s medical history with you, go over all existing vet records, and discuss your pet’s diet and recommend supplements if needed. 


Addressing Goals & Expectations

Next, Dr. Wilson will go over your main concerns and goals, and you’ll work together to determine what improvements you’d like to see with treatment.

The Examination

The remaining portion of your appointment will be an exam. Dr. Wilson examines your pet’s gait and makes notes about their posture. Then, she focuses her attention on the muscles evaluating several areas including:

  • Is there tension in any of your pet’s muscles? 
  • How flexible is your pet with movement? 
  • Are your pet’s muscles tight? Are the triceps tight
  • Does the muscle spasm when she palpates certain areas? 
  • Are certain areas painful to the touch? 
  • What is their strength level? 

Muscle Measurements

During the examination, Dr. Wilson will also measure your pet’s muscles to get an idea of how much muscle loss there may be from not bearing as much weight on certain limbs.

Exercise Recommendations


After the exam, Dr. Wilson will show you some exercises she recommends to help strengthen muscles that your pet may be avoiding due to an injury or pain. Recommendations will be customized based on your pet’s unique concerns, and a home exercise program will be formulated to help with your pet’s diagnosis. 

For example, a pet diagnosed with a neurological disease would have a different home exercise plan than a patient who is going to have knee surgery. In one case, Dr. Wilson may recommend massaging particular muscles, while for another pet, she may recommend having them step over poles to help increase their range of motion. 

You’ll also receive notes to take home and share with other family members, so they can help with the exercises, too. It helps to get everyone involved in the rehab process, so your pet can get the best results.



After the exercises have been explained and practiced, Dr. Wilson will treat any discomfort, pain, or inflammation that she found, or that was discussed during the exam. She’ll focus on treating specific areas to help decrease any of the symptoms addressed during the consultation and will also treat any areas that will help the nervous system function better if needed.

Treatments may include neuromuscular stimulation, acupuncture (sometimes electrical stimulated acupuncture, if necessary), and/or cold laser therapy.

Dr. Wilson’s Approach to Treatment

Dr. Wilson values integrative medicine and focuses on looking at the patient as a whole, treating not only the symptoms but also the cause. Her end goal is always “making better tomorrows for your pet.”

Watch this short video to get a sneak peek of the clinic, and Dr. Wilson at work:

See Dr. Wilson in action:

Schedule a Rehabilitation Consultation

Have you noticed your pet isn’t putting pressure on a certain limb, having difficulty jumping, or doing normal everyday activities like sitting or getting up? Is your older dog or cat showing a decrease in energy or are they starting to have some muscle loss? Did your pet just have surgery or is in need of surgery?

If you have noticed any of these things, or if you think your pet may be experiencing pain or discomfort, schedule a consultation today.