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Papers of the Week

2023 Jan

Vet Clin North Am Exot Anim Pract



Physical Rehabilitation in Zoological Companion Animals.


Koh RB, Rychel J, Fry L
Vet Clin North Am Exot Anim Pract. 2023 Jan; 26(1):281-308.
PMID: 36402487.


Animal physical rehabilitation is one of the fast-growing fields in veterinary medicine in recent years. It has become increasingly common in small animal practice and will continue to emerge as an essential aspect of veterinary medicine that plays a vital role in the care of animals with physical impairments or disabilities from surgery, injuries, or diseases.1 This is true now more than ever because of the increasing advances in lifesaving treatments, the increased lifespan of companion animals, and the growth of chronic conditions, of which many are associated with movement disorders. The American Association of Rehabilitation Veterinarians (AARV) defines APR as "the diagnosis and management of patients with painful or functionally limiting conditions, particularly those with injury or illness related to the neurologic and musculoskeletal systems." Rehabilitation not only focuses on recovery after surgical procedures but also on improving the function and quality of life in animals suffering from debilitating diseases such as arthritis or neurologic disorders. The overall goal of APR is to decrease pain, reduce edema, promote tissue healing, restore gait and mobility to its prior activity level, regain strength, prevent further injury, and promote optimal quality of life. Typically, a multimodal approach with pharmaceutical and nonpharmaceutical interventions is used by APR therapists to manage patients during their recovery. The purpose of this article aims to provide knowledge and guidance on physical rehabilitation to help veterinarians in the proper return of their patients with ZCA safely after injury and/or surgery.