Physical Rehabilitation

Physical rehabilitation (PR) helps pets return to their best possible level of activity. (This is analogous to “physical therapy” in people, but due to legal requirements, the phrase “physical therapy” can only be applied to people) It allows the post-surgical patient to heal and return to normal function faster and ambulate with less discomfort as compared to pets that do not undergo physical rehabilitation.

Physical conditioning helps canine athletes, including dogs used for agility, mushing or hunting.  These athletes can be trained without high impact stress during the off-season. Arthritic, geriatric and obese patients also benefit greatly from exercise without high impact stress on their bones and joints.

Veterinary Specialists of Alaska was the first institution in Alaska to offer physical rehabilitation for our four-legged friends. Having obtained specialized training in the field of animal physical rehabilitation from the University of Tennessee, our Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner (CCRP) has worked in the field successfully with several hundreds of patients. Following surgery, we will often begin physical rehabilitation in our facility. When the patient is discharged, we provide client education in the aftercare instructions and show you what you can do in the first few weeks after your pet returns home.

Our physical rehabilitation department offers a variety of different treatment modalities, including an underwater treadmill, Class IV laser therapy, neuromuscular stimulation, cryotherapy, thermal therapy, therapeutic exercises and individualized home exercise programs. In order to obtain the best possible level of activity for our patients, an individualized program is developed for every patient.  Most conditions call for one or two visits per week. Depending on the underlying condition, the course of rehabilitation may be as short as two weeks or last for several months. 

Patients who would benefit from PR include pets that undergo a surgical procedure of the stifle (knee), fracture repairs, hip replacements, or surgery for a slipped disk. Overweight pets benefit tremendously from participation in a personalized weight control program combined with exercising in our underwater treadmill. We also help paralyzed  pets . Many of these patients benefit from being fitted with a specially designed wheelchair for dogs.  Educating owners on how these special pets can enjoy a good quality of life at home is key.


If you pet is already a registered patient at Veterinary Specialists of Alaska, ask the surgeon in charge of your pet’s care about a rehabilitation consult. If your pet is not currently a registered patient, please contact us at your convenience.


Veterinary Specialists of Alaska is dedicated to providing excellent veterinary care. Our goal is that ultimately, both you and your pet benefit from our expertise, specialized training, and state of the art equipment. We would be delighted to work with you and your pet.