Physiotherapy is the treatment of disease, injury, or deformity by physical methods. A physiotherapy session at Synergy Small Animal Rehabilitation includes a thorough physical examination to locate the exact area(s) that require treatment, this will include the original complaint as well as areas where the body has compensated and could also be causing discomfort. This examination will look at stance, conformation and posture, as well as how the animal moves, and finally palpating or feeling the soft tissues and joints of the body to locate the areas that require intervention. Your animal may also be asked to perform functional tasks such as stepping over obstacles or jumping, depending on the reason for the session.

After assessment your animal will be treated with a combination of manual therapies, thermal therapies (heat and ice packs), electrotherapies, and therapeutic exercise. Details of what constitutes each of these therapies are listed below.

Manual Therapies:

  • Massage

  • Myofascial Release

  • Stretches

  • Joint mobilisation and passive range of motion


  • Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy (PEMF)

  • TENS and NMES

Therapeutic Exercises:

  • Variety of activities designed to improve the amount of weight bearing on a limb, active range of motion of a joint, posture of the animal, or to improve strength and conditioning of the animal. This will involve equipment such as cavaletti poles and balance equipment.

  • Our gym and exercise area is roughly 5m x 5m which gives us plenty of space to perform any exercise required for a patients exercise plan. We have the area covered in interlocked foam tiles which are easily cleaned, provide grip under foot, as well as cushioning for the patient as they put weight on each limb.

What else does a physiotherapy session include?

Stance analysis:

  • We use a Companion Animal Stance Analyser routinely during our assessments. This piece of equipment is like a static force plate and gives us the percentage of body weight that is being put on each leg. 

  • The percentages can tell us if a lameness is present, which is especially useful for detecting very subtle front leg lameness which are not always easy to spot.


Tailored home exercise plan:

  • You will receive a plan detailing all of the exercises and treatments that need to be done at home to continue your animal's progress between sessions.

  • These programmes are specific to your animal to aid in rehabilitation and/or improve performance through strength and conditioning. 

  • We will always help you to perform the exercises effectively before you leave the session.

Kinesiology taping:

  • Kinesiology tape is a type of therapeutic modality that involves the use of a stretchy, sticky tape to aid our regular physiotherapy treatments. You may have noticed it on some athlete’s on the TV from time to time but we can use it on our four legged patients too!

  • The tapes we use are generally 97-100% cotton and have heat activated acrylic as an adhesive. They also have between 140-180% elasticity which is perfect for allowing the dog a full range of motion whilst also mimicking and moving with the dog’s skin. Despite a dog’s fur coats, with the right tape, it does stick very well and can last up to 3 days before coming off which is about how long we want it to last for most conditions, to allow the tissues to have a rest in between applications.

Assessment of exercise equipment:

  • Whether it's intended for their daily walk or training for their next competition, what your animal wears can impact on how they move and potentially exacerbate an injury or lead to further injury. During a physiotherapy session, we can assess what you use and provide you with advice on what your animal should be wearing.

Dog/cat cart acclimatisation and fitting:

  • It is a sad fact that spinal injuries are relatively common in dogs and there are an unfortunate few that either never recover from their injury or have a degenerative condition. When this happens, to maintain a reasonable quality of life, an animal may have to put into a cart. At Synergy Small Animal Rehabilitation, we have a number of rear end and quad carts available to try to allow your pet to get a feel of what it feels like during a session, as well as allow you to assess the style and fit before ordering a bespoke one. 

  • We can assist with measuring, ordering, and fitting a cart for your pet as well.


  • Some injuries require additional support in the form of an orthotic. We can advise you on what product your animal might need, help you obtain the correct measurements, order the product and fit it to your pet.

To find out more about what conditions physiotherapy can help to treat, visit the services page: