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Dogs4motion Ltd

Canine Rehabilitation & Sports Medicine

Dobja vas 253

2390 Ravne na Koroškem, Slovenia

phone: +386 40 186 321

email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Frequently asked questions

➦ What to Expect During the Initial Visit

Since we always want to dedicate sufficient time for your dog (or other domestic pet), the initial visit typically lasts about an hour and a half. Conducting a thorough subjective and objective assessment of your animal's current well-being and capabilities is crucial for identifying challenges/dysfunctions unique to each patient. Based on this assessment, we develop a tailored clinical plan to achieve the best results.

To begin, we engage in a detailed discussion with you about the purpose of your visit, the issues you've noticed with your dog, or, if it's rehabilitation post-surgery, the current status after the procedure. In the latter case, we also explain the usual rehabilitation process for your specific situation and what you can expect.

Next, we perform a comprehensive physiotherapeutic examination of the musculoskeletal/neurological system to precisely pinpoint the area that requires treatment. This includes assessing posture and body structure, movements, and palpating (touching) soft tissues and joints to identify areas that need further attention. Often, we also observe how your dog performs functional tasks, such as sitting, lying down, moving in circles, or navigating obstacles, depending on the reason for your visit.

Based on the medical history (diagnosis and described history) and examination, we set realistic treatment goals and outline a plan for therapies tailored to your dog's issues and your capabilities. In cases where a diagnosis is not yet available or cannot be made, we discuss the possibilities of additional tests.

Typically, during the initial visit, we also conduct the first therapy session, showing you and teaching you exercises and techniques that you can continue at home between our visits and, if necessary, afterwards.

As we approach each case holistically, we also discuss suitable and unsuitable activities for your dog, potential adjustments to their living environment, nutrition, appropriate dietary supplements, and address any additional questions you may have. We take the time for your dog and strive to make the entire experience with us as pleasant as possible. Dogs that feel relaxed at our facility willingly participate in various therapeutic techniques.

➦ Rehabilitation After Cruciate Ligament Surgery for Dogs

The basic rehabilitation after cruciate ligament surgery typically spans around 12 weeks, though it may extend a bit longer for highly active dogs to achieve greater loads.

In the first week or two post-surgery, various techniques promoting healing and locally alleviating inflammation, swelling, and pain (such as laser therapy, shock wave therapy, cryotherapy) can be initiated. We demonstrate and teach you massage techniques and proper joint range of motion exercises that you can perform at home. This helps in maintaining and improving knee mobility early in the postoperative period, as well as toning muscles that tend to atrophy due to rest, disuse, and altered biomechanics after surgery.

From the second week onward, we gradually start loading the limb with prescribed slow leash walks. We also introduce simple static exercises for stabilization, explaining and demonstrating them to you. During subsequent visits over the next few weeks, we progressively advance the exercises to restore proprioception, stability, and proper active use during movement. Around the fifth week post-surgery (depending on the surgical method used - TPLO/TTA/extracapsular stabilization with lateral suture - or after the first X-ray control with your surgeon), hydrotherapy and more active strength exercises are included in the rehabilitation.

The frequency of required visits depends on each case and your capabilities.

Immediately after surgery or bandage removal, we often start with laser therapy to promote healing and locally alleviate inflammation, swelling, and pain. During regular visits (1x every 7 to 14 days), we incorporate extracorporeal shock wave therapy. The energy from shock waves triggers a tissue reaction, reducing pain, forming new blood vessels, and initiating the regeneration of degenerated tissue.

If the dog is cooperative with touch, we also introduce manual techniques for releasing tense muscles, especially in the back - as the back compensates for all injuries and pains originating practically anywhere in the body, causing back muscles to contract and become tense and painful. Regular manual techniques help keep the back relaxed, directly improving the dog's well-being during the recovery phase.

Therefore, initially, we recommend a few more frequent weekly visits, later reducing the frequency to bi-weekly. If for any reason more frequent visits are not possible, during less frequent individual visits, we focus mainly on techniques that we can teach you for independent practice at home: gentle passive range of motion exercises to improve joint mobility, and later, active exercises to enhance proprioception and strengthen the thigh muscles.

➦ Hip Dysplasia and Hip Osteoarthritis - What Are Our Options?

The issues and weaknesses arising from hip dysplasia can, in most cases, be successfully managed with timely supportive therapies. This helps improve your dog's physical well-being and its ability to participate in shared activities.

In dogs with hip dysplasia, owners may observe:

  • Stiffness upon rising (especially after periods of rest or increased activity)
  • Bunny-hopping or a less pronounced stride in the hind legs
  • Reluctance to jump (e.g., into a car)
  • Difficulty walking up or down stairs/hills
  • Quicker fatigue during activities (appearing lazy)
  • Limping (occasional weight-shifting or constant favoring of one limb)

  • If there is a suspicion of hip issues, we recommend prior X-rays, preferably with an orthopedic specialist, where you can discuss the severity of the problem and potential surgical solutions. The realistic long-term improvement possibilities depend on the degree of dysplasia and the extent of existing arthritic changes.

    How many visits are needed?

    It's crucial to appropriately activate and strengthen specific muscles around the hip and trunk in dogs diagnosed with dysplasia. These muscles help support and stabilize the painful joint. Simultaneously, it's important to release tension in compensatory muscles in the lumbar and hip regions. By maintaining hip joint mobility, we can directly assist in synovial fluid formation and preserve joint surface health.

    For dogs diagnosed with hip dysplasia and consequent hip osteoarthritis, we initially recommend several more frequent weekly visits to sufficiently strengthen the muscles, providing satisfactory improvement.

    In milder cases, we typically start with hydrotherapy in an underwater treadmill and selected therapeutic exercises. We demonstrate and teach the owner to perform these exercises at home to appropriately strengthen the hip muscles. If there are already osteoarthritic changes, pain, and reduced range of motion, we incorporate additional physiotherapeutic techniques during the rehabilitation process. These techniques help locally alleviate inflammation, pain, and improve overall well-being (e.g., manual massage and joint mobilization techniques, laser therapy, extracorporeal shock wave therapy, among others).

    ➦ Why is Hydrotherapy an Effective Therapeutic Method and Who Can Benefit?

    Hydrotherapy is a controlled exercise in a water environment that utilizes the physical properties of water for therapeutic purposes. Due to water density and buoyancy, a dog's body is lighter in water than on land, reducing pressure on the joints. Hydrostatic pressure acts as a massage for the body, improving blood and lymphatic flow, which, in turn, helps reduce swelling and edema. The warmth of the water relaxes muscles, increases the elasticity of tendons and ligaments, and accelerates circulation.

    An important factor in underwater treadmills is the water height. The higher the water, the less weight the dog carries during water exercise. While a dog carries 100% of its weight on dry land, in water up to its hips, it carries only 38% of its weight! This significantly reduces joint stress in patients with arthritis or other orthopedic issues, overweight dogs, and increases stability in standing for neurologically or generally weakened patients. The combination of buoyancy and water viscosity stabilizes the patient, making it easier for weaker patients to stand and move in water, while water viscosity adds resistance to movement, contributing to muscle strengthening. Conversely, low water presents additional challenges for improving the cardiovascular system and endurance in athletic dogs.

    Due to these properties, water is a unique and safe environment for rehabilitation, suitable for:

  • Patients recovering from injuries and/or surgeries of the musculoskeletal system,
  • Neurological patients,
  • Elderly dogs and dogs with chronic conditions where movement is difficult or painful.

  • Regular (weekly) water exercise improves cardiovascular endurance and strengthens muscles, making it an excellent additional method for:

  • vzdrževanje kondicije zdravih psov,
  • Overweight dogs,
  • Conditioning for sports and working dogs.

  • How many visits are needed?

    For starters, we recommend several more frequent weekly visits (1-2 times a week) to sufficiently strengthen the muscles, bringing satisfactory improvement to the dog's condition. The frequency of therapies can then be gradually reduced.

    Excess body weight and hydrotherapy

    Hydrotherapy is an excellent solution for exercising dogs carrying "a few extra pounds." Excess body weight increases the load on joints and the spine, negatively impacting the cardiovascular system and the overall systemic health of our dogs. By exercising in an underwater treadmill, we help relieve excessive load on joints and, due to water resistance, increase energy consumption. This, combined with appropriately adjusted nutrition, can lead to faster weight loss and improved overall health for the dog.

    ➦ Is Hydrotherapy a Suitable Method for a Dog with Joint Pain (Osteoarthritis)?

    Hydrotherapy can be one of the very useful techniques aiding in the rehabilitation of patients dealing with various joint issues. Exercise in a controlled water environment helps to mobilize joints through a greater range of motion and also improves the production of synovial fluid.

    Joint pain can quickly lead to a vicious cycle of pain and reduced activity, often resulting in the accumulation of excess weight. Hydrotherapy can be an excellent tool in the rehabilitation and supportive therapy of patients with osteoarthritis and after orthopedic surgical procedures. It enables controlled exercise with appropriately reduced joint loading, improves joint mobility, and helps strengthen muscles that provide support to the painful joint, even when walking on dry land.

    However, since we always approach each case holistically, we will thoroughly discuss the suitability of hydrotherapy for your dog as one of the selected therapeutic methods during your initial visit with us.

    ➦ My Dog Doesn't Like Water. Will He Have Issues with Underwater Treadmill Therapy? What Does the Process Look Like?

    It's a common question you might be facing, but don't worry! If we introduce the underwater treadmill to your dog in a positive way, any fear is likely unnecessary. Our experience shows that most dogs have no problems with hydrotherapy, and some are even eager to step in!

    How do we introduce a dog to the underwater treadmill?

    If the dog can move independently, we initially guide them through an open, dry treadmill without water, motivating them with their favorite treats. Usually, the owner, whom the dog trusts the most, also walks through the dry treadmill with the dog at the beginning.

    We get them used to the sound of the door closing and small amounts of water gradually filling the chamber. The first therapy session is typically focused on acclimating the dog to the underwater treadmill and the movements of the treadmill. The therapist is always in the treadmill with the dog, providing encouragement and motivation.

    The placement of the treadmill in the room is also crucial. Dogs find it more natural to walk towards an open space rather than facing a wall. The owner stands in front of the treadmill, encouraging and rewarding the dog with treats. During the therapy, we don't walk around the treadmill, as it can be distracting or uncomfortable for the dogs. The therapist inside the treadmill can monitor the dog's movements using a mirror on the wall. Having the therapist in the treadmill allows us to assist the dog in walking and perform additional therapeutic exercises.

    Once the dog gains confidence, and assistance with movement or exercises in the water is no longer necessary, the therapist can monitor the dog from outside the treadmill, ensuring safety by holding the handle of a harness or a swim coat.

    Remember, every dog is unique, and the process may vary based on their individual comfort levels and needs. The goal is to create a positive and enjoyable experience for the dog during underwater treadmill therapy.

    ➦ When Is Laser Therapy Appropriate?

    Laser therapy is a versatile therapeutic technique that aids in reducing inflammation, swelling, and pain locally, while enhancing tissue healing and regeneration. Due to its wide applicability, it is our chosen therapeutic method for various conditions, such as accelerating the healing of surgical wounds, soft tissue injuries (muscles, tendons), bruises, sprains, nerve injuries, and providing pain relief for chronic degenerative joint diseases (osteoarthritis, spondylosis, etc.).

    Effects of laser therapy:

    Local Inflammation Reduction:

    Inflammation is the body's initial response necessary for tissue healing, but excessive inflammatory processes hinders faster recovery. Laser energy triggers vasodilation (expansion of blood vessels) and activates microcirculation, aiding in flushing out inflammatory mediators.

    Typically, 1-3 sessions are sufficient for inflammation reduction.

    Pain Relief

    Laser therapy provides local pain relief:

  • The direct effect of the laser on reducing inflammation and swelling helps alleviate pain caused by pressure from swelling in specific areas (especially in nerve inflammations, traumatic soft tissue injuries, postoperative swellings).
  • The laser also has a direct impact on reducing nerve impulse transmission through pain receptors (e.g., in chronic degenerative joint diseases such as arthritis, spondylosis).
  • Laser has an influence on the concentration of certain opioids in the blood. Studies have shown that an increase in the concentration of certain opioids contributes to pain reduction.
  • For acute injuries and immediately postoperative interventions, 2-3 sessions are usually sufficient for pain relief (or until improvement is observed).

    In chronic cases (osteoarthritis, long-standing injuries, nerve injuries), typically 6-8 sessions or more are conducted. In cases where the condition is severely chronic, and pain is expected to reoccur regularly, therapy can be performed regularly as long-term support (at monthly intervals).

    Acceleration of Healing and Regeneration:

    Laser therapy effectively stimulates tissue healing in various ways:

  • Increased vasodilation (local expansion of blood vessels) brings nutrients, oxygen, and growth factors to the injury site, aiding in flushing out waste metabolites.
  • Laser helps shorten the inflammatory phase of healing and promotes the transition of the injury from the growth to the remodeling phase. This prevents the prolonged inflammatory phase, which can lead to excessive collagen deposition and the formation of a non-functional fibrotic scar.
  • On a cellular level, laser therapy improves cell metabolism and increases energy production (ATP) in cells, leading to faster regenerative capabilities. Enhanced cell metabolism is crucial as each cell requires energy for growth.
  • Laser energy stimulates the migration and activation of fibroblasts, leading to accelerated growth of connective tissue.
  • For promoting healing, laser therapy can be applied through all phases of healing from the beginning of the injury or surgery. Initially, 2-3 sessions per week are common, with the frequency gradually reduced. Typically, 6-10 sessions are conducted, and in some cases, more.

    Laser radiation helps reduce the quantity of inflammatory factors, induces moderate vasodilation (local expansion of blood vessels), and reduces tissue swelling. Consequently, local pain is diminished, and the analgesic effect results from neural inhibition, especially in nerve activities associated with pain. Tissue healing is expedited due to vasodilation, reduced inflammation, stimulated cell activity, and increased cellular metabolism.

    Is laser therapy painful for animals?

    No, laser therapy is not painful for animals. Instead, animals usually find it pleasant! During therapy with a therapeutic laser of class IV (high-power laser) used in our practice, the animal only feels a soothing warmth, which is a byproduct of the energy delivered to the tissues.

    However, it's essential to note that laser beams are harmful to the eyes, so protective goggles are worn during therapy sessions, even for dogs!


    ➦ When is Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) Considered?

    Focused Shock Wave Therapy (fESWT or FSW therapy) harnesses the energy of an acoustic wave generated in a specifically shaped concave part of the device, directing it precisely to a targeted point. This sound (shock) wave travels through tissues to a predetermined depth (depending on the attachment used, addressing both superficial and up to 12 cm deep tissues). Shockwave therapy triggers a tissue reaction, locally accelerating the formation of new blood vessels, initiating the regeneration of degenerated tissue, and helping to reduce pain.

    In human orthopedics and physiotherapy, shockwave therapy has been successfully used for several decades. For example, in chronic issues like Achilles tendon problems, plantar fasciitis, patellar ligament tendinitis, lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), studies have shown over 80% (some even over 90%) long-term success in treatment (pain reduction, improved function) compared to control groups, which mostly reported pain reduction in only 30%. It is also used in poorly or non-healing fractures and osteotomies, positively impacting bone healing.

    In veterinary medicine for dogs, it is often applied for:

  • Tendon injuries (e.g., biceps, supraspinatus, iliopsoas, flexor tendon/wrist inflammations, Achilles tendon)
  • Muscle injuries
  • Enthesopathies (injuries at the tendon attachment points on bones)
  • Desmitis (ligament inflammations, e.g., patellar desmitis)
  • Injuries to joint collateral ligaments
  • As an aid in bone healing (fractures, surgeries, including cruciate ligament operations)
  • Cauda equina syndrome
  • Osteoarthritis (for pain reduction)

  • Number of Sessions Needed:

    Biological regeneration induced by ESWT doesn't occur immediately; it's a medium and long-term effect. Time is needed to see the full treatment success - typically, 4 sessions (3 to 5) with intervals of 7 to 14 days are required. In some cases, the effect appears during this time, while in others, it may occur after the last session. Long-term positive effects have been observed in human studies lasting several years. It's important to discuss suitable (and unsuitable) activities that will help maintain your dog's well-being in the long run.

    In cases of severe chronic conditions where pain is expected to recur regularly, therapy can be performed regularly as long-term support (once every one to three months or more, depending on the individual case).

    Is Shockwave Therapy Painful for Animals?

    ESWT therapy is non-invasive and is performed without sedation. Gel is applied to the dog's skin to facilitate the transmission of acoustic waves, and then the manual applicator is held at the targeted therapy site. The procedure takes only a few minutes.

    In Slovenia, shockwave therapy for small animal veterinary use is a novelty, while radial shockwaves (RSW) have been successfully used in horses for many years. In radial ESW therapy, waves are not precisely directed into the depth but have the highest power on the skin just under the applicator, and then their power radially dissipates into the depth. This requires much higher power (and consequently more pain) during therapy, often necessitating sedation for horses. Focused (FSW) therapy allows for lower intensities, gradually focusing energy into depth. It's practically unfelt on the skin where most sensory receptors are, making it well-tolerated by dogs (and even cats) without sedation.

    In our Dogs4motion rehab facility, the shockwave therapy device has been in use since November 2021, showing excellent results in treating various injuries and chronic musculoskeletal conditions. It is applied for enthesopathies, chronic and mineralizing tendinitis, pain relief in osteoarthritis, spondylosis, cauda equina syndrome, and to expedite bone healing (including non-union fractures and post cruciate ligament surgery).

    ➦ Can Rehabilitation Help with Patellar Luxation?

    Lower grades of patellar luxations (grades 1 to 2) are usually quite well managed with the strengthening of the knee and thigh muscles, which help stabilize the patella and maintain it in a more correct position. However, for most higher grades, a surgical approach is typically required initially, as these dislocations often occur due to the improper structure of the knee joint (e.g., shallow patellar groove, tibial rotation).

    How Many Visits are Needed?

    In the case of a lower-grade luxation diagnosis, we recommend several regular weekly visits initially to strengthen the muscles to a level that brings satisfactory improvement to the dog. The rehabilitation plan typically includes hydrotherapy in an underwater treadmill and selected therapeutic exercises demonstrated and explained during visits, which the owner can then continue at home. Additionally, a multimodal approach may involve laser therapy to locally alleviate inflammation, any swelling, and pain.

    The improved condition can then be maintained on a long-term basis with fewer visits or by independently performing prescribed therapeutic exercises at home. However, the approach is always tailored to each individual dog, taking into account their specific capabilities.

    ➦ Is Physiotherapy Suitable for Older Dogs?

    In our practice, we regularly encounter chronic joint issues and diminishing strength in older dogs. While age itself is not an illness, numerous physical, metabolic, and psychological changes occur during the aging process, impacting the health and mental well-being of senior dogs. Their immune system is not as robust, and various organ systems start to decline, making older dogs more susceptible to different ailments. However, this is not a reason to exclude our senior companions from an active and social life, and we are here to support you in this.

    How Many Visits are Needed?

    For patients where we aim to achieve desired improvement in a shorter period (usually within 4-6 weeks), we opt for weekly therapies. These sessions enable regular monitoring of the dog's progress and adjustment of the therapeutic techniques. For patients where the goal is to contribute to improved well-being and maintain current abilities, visits can be less frequent (typically once a month). In these cases, the owner independently maintains and enhances the dog's well-being with guidance provided during visits.

    Defining the Range of Therapies Needed

    During the initial visit, we conduct an examination and, based on the current physical condition and abilities, collaboratively set realistic goals with the owner. The approach, including the selection of necessary therapies and their frequency, is determined to achieve potential improvement. Massage is often incorporated at the first visit, benefiting the overall well-being. We instruct owners on specific massage techniques that they can perform at home.

    Importance of Movement and Exercise

    To maintain vitality in the later years, movement and proper nutrition play crucial roles. As dogs age, bone, muscle mass, and cartilage thickness decline, while the percentage of fatty tissue increases. While this is a natural process, it can be slowed down. Advising owners on therapeutic exercises to improve proprioception, body awareness, balance, and muscle strength, which tend to decline with age, is essential.

    Especially in chronic conditions that accumulate over an extended period until the dog begins to visibly show signs (struggling with usual daily activities, quicker fatigue, hind limb weakness, unstable posture, difficulty rising or performing everyday tasks like climbing stairs), our therapeutic focus is on improving overall well-being, muscle strength, flexibility, and alleviating inflammation and pain.

    Since the chosen therapeutic techniques and the frequency of visits depend on both the dog's condition and the owner's capabilities, thorough discussions are conducted during the initial visit.

    ➦ Elbow Dysplasia – Fragmented Medial Coronoid Process: What Are Our Options?

    Physiotherapy can commence as early as the first week post-surgery, utilizing laser and shockwave therapy. These methods significantly contribute to both the healing process and the alleviation of pain, reducing postoperative inflammation. In cases of chronic issues, supportive therapy can be administered throughout the dog's lifetime.

    Additionally, as long as the dog is cooperative with touch, we promptly incorporate manual techniques to release tense muscles, especially in the back. The back compensates for injuries and pains originating from virtually anywhere in the body, leading to the contraction and discomfort of back muscles. Regular manual techniques help keep the back relaxed, directly improving the dog's well-being during the recovery phase.

    Around the second week post-operation, when the wound is fully closed, we can gradually introduce very short sessions in the underwater treadmill (initially focusing on static/standing exercises). Buoyancy in water reduces a significant portion of the dog's body weight, allowing for easier standing and movement without burdening the injured or operated joint. This enables the dog to actively move the elbow joint, and hydrostatic pressure aids in reducing swelling.

    Proprioception exercises on dry land, aimed at strengthening muscles, improving balance, and enhancing overall limb use, typically begin around 4-5 weeks after arthroscopic removal of elbow fragments. The extent and necessary frequency of therapies at our facility are then determined based on your dog's well-being and your capabilities.

    ➦ When Can I Bring My Dog for a Preventive Examination?

    Annual preventive check-ups are recommended for dogs of all age groups!

    For young dogs (up to one or two years old), the focus of the musculoskeletal system during preventive examinations is primarily on assessing posture, body structure, movement, and palpation (touching) of soft tissues and joints. Based on the findings, we provide recommendations for activities and address any additional questions you may have. If we identify that a specific part of the dog's body is less muscular, we prescribe appropriate therapeutic exercises that the owner can independently perform at home.

    During the adult, active years, in addition to such a musculoskeletal system examination, we also perform necessary manual therapy. This helps release any tensions in muscles and fascia, immediately improving the range of motion (especially in the spinal, shoulder, and pelvic areas), overall well-being, and abilities of the dog.

    Preventive check-ups are particularly important for older dogs - after the age of 7 or depending on the breed (smaller breeds may start later). With regular preventive check-ups, potential issues can be discovered early, and treatment can begin in the early stages when success rates are higher.

    For dogs already on therapy, regular preventive check-ups monitor the progress of treatment and adjust the therapeutic plan as needed.

    Contact us

    Dogs4motion Ltd

    Canine Rehabilitation & Sports Medicine

    Dobja vas 253

    2390 Ravne na Koroškem, Slovenia

    +386 40 186 321

    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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    Company is supported by MPIK RRA Koroska.

    The investment is co-financed by the Republic of Slovenia and the European Union under the European Regional Development Fund.
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