The Rehabilitation-Trained Veterinarian
A rehabilitation-trained veterinarian
has advanced training, expertise and most importantly experience in the diagnosis
and management of injury or illness causing pain and loss of function. Many
rehabilitation-trained veterinarians have post-doctorate training in the areas
of orthopedic surgery, pain management, acupuncture, chiropractic and/or rehabilitation
that has led to specialization and/or certification in these fields
The rehabilitation-trained veterinarian is trained to
evaluate the whole patient and not just focus on the perceived injury or illness.
The rehabilitation-trained veterinarian
has the ability to perform in-depth examinations, order diagnostic testing,
and prescribe appropriate therapy to address the many different problems seen.
Following evaluation the rehabilitation-trained veterinarian can perfect a
treatment plan, monitor patient progress and adjust therapeutic recommendations
to achieve success.
rehabilitation-trained veterinarian is the leader of a health care team often
comprised of registered veterinary technicians and physical therapists. This
team provides the needed therapy to achieve maximum restoration of quality
of life. Of primary importance in the rehabilitative process is the management
of pain. Unlike the human patient, who can be encouraged to work through varying
levels of pain to achieve results, the veterinary patient is not open to such
suggestions. Without the proper management of pain the veterinary patient is
often destined for rehabilitation failure.
In addition to prescribing and administering pharmaceuticals
for pain the rehabilitation-trained veterinarian can offer physical modalities
(i.e. acupuncture, chiropractic, therapeutic laser, extracorporeal shock wave
therapy, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), pulsed signal
therapy, etc.). This multimodal approach to the management of pain gives greater
opportunity for a successful outcome.
Rehabilitation is a new field in veterinary medicine
and rehabilitation-trained veterinarians are building a foundation for its
future. The American Association of Rehabilitation Veterinarians has been formed
to provide leadership to the veterinary community and assistance to the public
through education, research and the sharing of professional experiences. It
is our hope to work with local, state, national and international veterinary
associations, state boards of veterinary medical examiners, veterinary schools
and students, veterinary specialists, primary care veterinarians, public groups
and public organizations to further the understanding of the tremendous benefits
of rehabilitation in animals.
courtesy of Sybil Davis, DVM, CCRP, Aiken Pet
Fitness and Rehabilitation, Aiken, SC