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Physiotherapy for Arthritis

What is Arthritis (Osteoarthritis or OA)?​

Arthritis is one of the most common chronic conditions affecting dogs. It is a progressive disease with no cure. However, there are many treatment options available to manage the condition.

How do I Recognise Arthrisits in My Dog?​

  • Pain: Dogs are very stoical, so it may only show as slowing down, getting stiff, playing less, eating less or other behavioural changes

  • Lameness or stiffness, especially after resting following exercise or in the mornings

  • Painful or swollen joints

  • Restlessness or difficulty finding a comfortable position

  • Licking their joints

How is Arthritis Treated?

  • Pain relief. This is important and can be included in various medications

  • Weight loss

  • Exercise modification

  • Home environment adaptations

  • Diet and supplements

  • Complementary treatments, such as physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, rehabilitation, acupuncture, chiropractic and others

Physiotherapy is a very effective treatment for arthritis and will drastically improve the quality of life.

Aims of Rehabilitation​

  • Reduce pain

  • Maintain and/or increase joint mobility

  • Maintain and/or increase muscle mass

  • Minimise the risk of injury

Physiotherapy Treatment Options​

  • Manual therapy techniques such as massage, mobilisations and stretches

  • Electrotherapies such as Phototherapy, Ultrasound and Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy

  • Land-based exercises for balance, strengthening and spacial awareness

Hydrotherapy options


Water-based therapy is an ideal environment for a dog’s suffering from arthritis. The properties of water provide relief and allow easier mobilisation of joints. Using the buoyancy of the water, the patient can move their joints easier and therefore strengthen specific muscle groups. It also helps maintain cardiovascular fitness, which is not as easy on land when exercise is restricted.

What can I do to help my pet at home?


A diagnosis of arthritis can be a very confusing time for owners. Emma is here to guide you through the process with regular reviews and assessments, and working together with your vet ensures that your dog receives the best treatment. Emma will cooperate with you to ensure that all treatment is achievable for you and your dog. A home care exercise programme and walking advice will be given to you by your physiotherapist, and it will be uniquely designed to suit your dog’s needs. Emma will also be able to offer advice on activities in your daily routine, such as how best to assist your dog in and out of a car, the avoidance of slippery floors, and the avoidance of high-impact activities such as jumping up or down from furniture, running up and down stairs. Consider Emma, your dog’s occupational therapist!

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