By Karin Krisher
In May 2010, the American Board of Veterinary Specialties granted the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation recognition as a veterinary specialty organization. The lead-up to this decision was marked by growing support for pet rehabilitation centers, especially those that focused on recovery after sports injuries or related surgeries.
Decades in the making, the field of veterinary rehabilitation has emerged nearly uncontested. As it continues to evolve from a niche service into a more accessible and highly sought after treatment, it’s easy to see why animal rehabilitation is on the up and up.
Vetri-Science partners are no strangers to this type of alternative/supplemental treatment, and all over the country, we’re encountering vets and practices that are branching off from tradition, viewing animal health in a whole new light. One such practice features three rehabilitation clinics in Pennsylvania and is a member of the AARV, or the American Association of Rehabilitation Veterinarians, a registered non-profit.
The Palmyra, Silver Springs and Colonial Park Animal Clinics and the Central Pennsylvania Veterinary Rehabilitation and Imaging Center are all part of Central PA Animal Clinics, which work to rehab animals with various conditions, or even those with no obvious rehab need that may benefit from physical therapy.
Like the Central PA Clinics, Carolina Animal Rehab and Exercise Center offers modalities and services that focus exclusively on physical therapy. These include chiropractic care, acupuncture, massage, thermal, whirlpool and swim therapy, land treadmills, and ultrasounds.
The Referral for Pet Rehabilitation
More and more, veterinary medicine is headed the way of human medical care, as practices are separated into distinct specialties and “referral practices” continue to emerge en masse. As many referral clinics now include rehabilitation services, the process of referral, and the benefit for you and your clients, is important to understand.
As Bernard E. Rollin outlines in Veterinary Medical Ethics, “The relationship between a referral and a general practice is, at root, a symbiotic one. The referral practice benefits from cases first seen by general practitioners, cases calling for expertise and skill beyond what is expected in a general practitioner; the referring veterinarian benefits from having a ready source of expertise for such cases.”
To some pet owners, a referral that points them to these types of alternatives might come as a surprise. The traditional standpoint on medicine doesn’t extend far past diagnosis and cure—but discussing these options with your patients might be the wake up call their pets need.
Talk to your customers about pet rehabilitation before performing a surgery. Let them know that recovery for animals is just like recovery for humans—it takes time, but there are things we can do to help it along.
Have you ever referred a patient to a pet rehabilitation clinic? What was the outcome? Tell us in a comment!