Coastal Carolina Veterinary Specialists' rehabilitation department provides rehabilitative services and treatment for post-operative patients, animals with dysfunction, injury, pain or physical abnormalities. Treatment techniques include modalities (ice, heat, electrical stimulation, and ultrasound), joint mobilization, soft tissue mobilization, massage, therapeutic exercise, aquatic therapy, acupressure, and much more. Canine rehabilitation can make a difference in the lives of all dogs.

CCVS Canine Rehabilitation Brochure

Benefits of Canine Rehabilitation Therapy:

  • Improved mobility after an orthopedic or neurological injury
  • Timely and safe use of a painful limb after injury or surgery
  • Improve and prolong the quality of life of geriatric and arthritic patients
  • Management of acute and chronic pain
  • Increase the fitness of athletic animals and working dogs
  • Provide weight loss programs and nutritional management for obese patients
  • Provide ambulatory assistance to patients needing carts or orthotic devices.

Indications for Treatment:
Post-surgical recovery
Disc disease
Fibrocartilaginous Embolism (FCE)
Degenerative myelopathy
Obesity Management
Conditioning for the canine athlete or the pampered pet

Common Goals:

  • Optimize recovery from surgery or injury
  • Decrease post surgery or injury recovery time
  • Improve flexibility
  • Improve mobility
  • Increase strength
  • Improve motor skills
  • Decrease pain and stiffness
  • Improve balance and reaction time
  • Improve core stability
  • Improve exercise tolerance and endurance
  • Encourage weight loss
  • Psychological benefits
  • Improve cardiopulmonary fitness

Modalities of Therapy:

Hydrotherapy: Swimming and Underwater Treadmill
Therapeutic exercise
Heat and Cold Therapy
Low Level laser therapy (coming soon)
Pulsed Magnetic Field Therapy
Therapeutic Ultrasound
Neuromuscular Stimulation

Canine Hydrotherapy

Water both stimulates and relaxes and can affect all systems of the body on the physical level. The buoyancy of water supports and lessons stress on the joints encourages freer movement and provides a safe environment for exercise.

Benefits of Aquatic Therapy:

  • Comfortable movement
  • Earlier return to function
  • Muscle strengthening
  • Increased cardiovascular stamina
  • Neuromuscular Re-education
  • Weight loss
  • Increase in patient's self confidence

Patient benefiting from swimming or underwater treadmill sessions may include:

  • Geriatric, obese and arthritic patients
  • Those suffering from paralysis, dysplasia and/or other mobility, orthopedic or soft tissue issues
  • Pre and post surgical patients
  • Those seeking injury prevention and/or total body conditioning.
  • Those seeking increased body awareness, and improved balance and coordination
  • Anyone seeking the benefits of therapeutic exercise

Aquatic therapy is especially popular when weather conditions of extreme cold or heat make it difficult for owners to provide regular exercise for their companions.


The only form of exercise in which there is no impact on the joints and soft tissue. The buoyancy of the water opens joint spaces, which increasing range of motion, provides resistance, and allows all the major muscle groups to be worked at the same time.

Underwater Treadmill:

The UWTM has the same benefits as a regular treadmill but without the impact to the joints. The addition of the water helps to increase muscle tone and body awareness.
Water height is regulated to accommodate different sized animals and adjust for weight bearing.
The principle of buoyancy combined with that of resistance makes this a most unique and safe method of rehabilitation. The UWTM provides an opportunity to strengthen muscles with little to no pressure o the patient's joints. The warmth of the water helps to increase flexibility and mobility of muscles, tendons, and ligaments that surround the joints as well as enhance circulation.


Therapeutic Ultrasound: High frequency acoustic energy used for thermal or non-thermal effects in superficial and deep tissues. Ultrasound can be used as a thermal modality to increases blood flow and tissue temperature to deep tissues. These thermal effects aid in remodeling scar tissue, breaking down adhesions between tissues, improving the distensibility of connective tissue, and relieving pain, stiffness and muscle spasms. Non-thermal ultrasound has pain-modulating effects and may enhance healing.

Pulsed Magnetic Therapy works by applying a magnetic field to the body's cells. The electric current that naturally flows within the body's cells is influenced by this magnetic field. These pulsed signals initiate biological reactions, which lead to the acceleration of the healing process.

Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) is the stimulation of peripheral nerves to cause a sensory or motor response. NMES is primarily used to provide neuromuscular re-education following neurological trauma, attenuate atrophy, control pain and reduce edema.

Massage is used to increase circulation, reduce muscle spasms, decrease stress, decrease muscle restrictions, reduce swelling and help relieve pain and bolster the immune system response.

Cryotherapy is the therapeutic us of cold agents. Cryotherapy is used to decrease acute inflammation, decrease and control edema, decrease pain perception, and reduce exercise induced muscle soreness.

Therapeutic Activities: Therapeutic exercises are tailored to the patient's needs. Therapeutic exercises may be used to increase flexibility, strengthen muscles, increase weight bearing, and improve balance and proprioception. Exercises may be demonstrated to the client so that they can be performed as a home exercise program.

Laser Therapy: Laser therapy enhances wound healing, increases blood flow and stimulates the body's release of endorphins. Our facility now offers this beneficial modality.

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Coastal Carolina Veterinary Specialists, LLC | 3163 West Montague Avenue | North Charleston, SC 29418 | P: 843.747.1507 | F: 843.747.7920