The Assessment Process

Assessing Range of Movement (Dog) 4               Assessment (Dog) 2               Stretches (Cat)

When assessing an animal, a physiotherapist will initially spend time asking you, the owner, a number of questions about your animal and the reason it requires therapy.  The assessment is likely to include questions about

  • History of the present complaint including investigations
  • Past medical history
  • Diet / allergies
  • Medication and dietary supplements
  • Environment in which the animal lives
  • Exercise routine
  • Behaviour and temperament
Assesing Range of Movement (Dog) 4               Assessing Range of Movement (Horse)               Assessing Proprioception (Dog)

Your physiotherapist will then look at your animal and observe how they move.  The assessment may include

  • General observation in standing including looking at conformation, muscle balance, stance and condition
  • Movement  in straight lines at walk, trot and faster paces where necessary, from the front, back and both sides
  • Movement on a circle to left and right
  • For horses, we also look at them on the lunge, at all paces
  • Possibly on different ground surfaces where necessary
  • Moving backwards
  • For horses, the therapist may wish to look at your tack
  • For horses, the therapist may wish to see the animal ridden
  • The therapist may wish to see the animal perform other activities (e.g. jumping)
  • How each joint moves – how the animal moves their own joints and the therapist can move the joints, including limb and spinal joints
  • Tests to see if your animals nervous system is intact and working correctly
  • Palpation – feeling your animal’s bones, joints and soft tissues (i.e. muscles, tendons and ligaments) all over the body, both in the limbs and around the neck and spine, to identify and changes in the tissues or painful areas
Assessing Range of Movement (Dog)               Assessment (Dog)               Assessing Range of Movement (Dog) 3

At the end of the assessment process, the physiotherapist will have lots of information which he/she will use to put together a picture of your animals condition.  From this, they will develop a treatment programme based on their findings.