To start simply, getting injured stinks. Most of you have been there – whether it was through a sport, due to someone else, or just a plain accident, injuries are a part of life. What matters most though, is how you move on from the injury. The days and weeks post injury are vital to your recovery. How use that time will dictate how well you will heal in the future. This is why physiotherapy is so useful. Now, as people, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to physical care, to the point where the practice we choose is simply based on location. Like us, our dogs get injured as well. Unlike us, however, their options are far more limited. Toronto Dog Physiotherapy & Rehabilitation is still a niche care – even though its impact is enormous.
If your dog gets injured, don’t fret! Step One: go to your veterinarian for an initial check up. After that, if advised, it is time for Step Two: physical training & rehab! Read more below for Toronto’s, and its surrounding areas, best dog physiotherapy. As always, our list is in no particular order. Looking to check off that first step? Take a look through our previous posts for excellent vet clinics in Calgary, Toronto, & Vancouver.
1) Paws in Motion – Barrie
Our first physiotherapist in this post is Stella Barnett. Stella trained as a physiotherapist in England and has been a qualified practitioner since 2001. A lot of her work is in private practice, and focuses on sports injuries, musculoskeletal injuries and neurological conditions in people. However, having two dogs of her own, Stella quickly made the connection between her two worlds. Whether your dog is a member of your family or a canine athlete, rehabilitation can help with recovery from an injury or illness.
Blending the two worlds together in a formal manner, Stella is a member of the Animal Rehabilitation Division (ARD) of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association and has completed a Diploma in Canine Rehabilitation through ARD. Stella aims to work closely with your current veterinarian, insuring that both parties are on the same page when it comes to the care for your pup. With all this experience, Stella takes her business on personally, a one-person company. Her dedicated to the care for your pup results in one-on-care, even to your own home!
In addition to one-on-one dog physiotherapy, Stella offers group canine conditioning classes – fundamentally fitness courses for your pups. She works on strength, flexibility, balance, & body awareness. Stella is a a force free therapist, and only assess and test what the dog is happy to let her do. If the dog is in pain, and they are still getting to trust Stella, she does not push them to go through full physical exam. Based on movement, and functional tests, Stella is able to begin her rehab. Stella’s work over the years has acquainted her with all dogs of all sizes, ages, breeds, from family pets to high level agility dogs, with injuries from sprains and strains, age related changes, right through to neurological cases.
2) Southern Ontario Animal Hospital – Burlington
Our second care clinic is the Southern Ontario Animal Hospital, or SOAR for short. SOAR specializes in rehabilitation to pets post-injury, post-surgery, or for treatment of common orthopedic conditions. Working closely with your own veterinarian, the team at SOAR aims to give your pet the best treatment plan possible.
SOAR was started by Dr. Danielle Anderson, BSC, DVM, CCRP, in 2013. After having graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 2002, Dr. Anderson worked at several small animal hospitals, and developed a keen interest in pain control. Expanding upon this interest, in 2006, Dr. Anderson decided to pursue her certification in small animal rehabilitation and physical therapy with the University of Tennessee. From there, the rest is history! Joining Dr. Anderson at SOAR is Kathy Zubick, RVT, CCRP, and Deanna McPherson, RVT.
SOAR focuses on pain management, using an integrative medicine approach that combines traditional western medicine with newer modalities like acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, laser therapy, and water therapy. The variety of services offered at SOAR means that you are sure to receive specialized dog physiotherapy!
3) Animal Rehabilitation Centre – Toronto
Our third care clinic is the Animal Rehabilitation Centre, or ARC for short. This Toronto dog physiotherapy centre is a one stop shop, as they say, for animal owners with special needs. The team at ARC is dedicated to improving the quality of life and well being of your furry friends. The options at ARC are many, and dog physiotherapy treatment offers new and exciting ways to accelerate recovery & relieve pain.
Some applications of dog physiotherapy are for dogs who are recovering orthopedic surgery patients, hip dysplasia, obesity, geriatric or arthritic patients, and surgically and conservatively managed neurological patients. Rehabilitation is not only for post-injury, but also can help with injury prevention too! ARC also has options for the conditioning of canine athletes, helping them stay in tip-top form.
ARC was started by Tracy McKenzie, VT, CCRP – her lifelong love of animals prompted Tracy to devote her time towards animal care and rehab. Over the years, Tracy has been joined at ARC by fellow animal lovers and trained professionals. At ARC, you are sure to bump into Dr. Mishka Thomson, BSc, DC, Margaret Hurst-Agha, and Julia Petrie.
4) PawsAbility – Toronto
The third member of our list is Janice Olynich, a Certified Prosthetist with a passion for animals and innovation. While PawsAbility doesn’t fit perfectly with this post, as Janice does not offer dog physiotherapy specifically, we still felt that it was pertinent to highlight her work! Paws specializes in creating custom made prosthetics for your dogs, helping them get back on their feet and enjoy their furry lives. Janice founded PawsAbility in 2011, and devotes all of her energy towards the help it is able to provide.
After having the chance to fit a dog with a prosthetic leg, the idea of creating a Toronto-based custom prosthetic and orthotic service for animals was not a leap for the imagination. Well, that may sound like leap for us, but for Janice, it was a perfect fit with her education and previous work experience. For a little more info, Orthotic devices are braces that offer support and control to injured or unstable joints. Prothetic devices are partial limb replacements that gives support and adds length to acquired amputations or congenital limb deficiencies.
In a nutshell, Janice has created the space that allows yourself and your veterinarian to equip your dog with the tools they need to once again romp and play! In the years since PawsAbility’s establishment, there has increased awareness of the products offered, and enthusiastic acceptance by the many veterinarians who refer back this Janice’s service. It is hard not to catch a few feelings when reading the testimonials on her website. Owners can’t say enough about the freedom and happiness that PawsAbility has brought back to their dogs.
5) Canine Wellness Centre Inc. – Scarborough
The last dog physiotherapy clinic on our post today is the Canine Wellness Centre. Since 2004, Canine, and their dedicated staff, has been offering positive and professional experiences in the area of animal rehabilitation & fitness. Whether your pup is returning from an orthopaedic injury, or suffering from arthritic condition, Canine Wellness Centre has a care plan suited for you and your dog.
Canine Wellness is owned and operated by Tania Costa, CCRP, CAAP, and certified in Veterinary Pain Management. Tania initially began her rehabilitation career in Canine Massage Therapy. It was during her education where Tania thought about combining her love for animals with the principles of physical therapy. At Canine, the centre provides rehabilitation with the use of an underwater treadmill as well as various modalities to support dogs recovering from both soft tissue injuries, surgery and neurological conditions. Tania also has a passion for senior dogs and puppy injury prevention, as well as fitness in dogs.
Like all of these clinics and care providers, the testimonials are the gems. Reading the impact that Tania and her staff has had on the lives of dogs, and their owners, is simply heartwarming. In addition to offering rehab services, Canine Wellness also hosts regular dog seminars! Think of them as courses for you to help better take of your pups, such as Puppy Injury Prevention, Conditioning 360, and Senior Dog Appreciation.
We hope that this collection of Toronto Dog Physiotherapy clinics and care providers has been useful! As always, consult with your veterinarian about the steps that need to be taken in order to best take care of your pup. Remember, physiotherapy and physical training is not just for recovery, but also for injury prevention. So get out there and get dirty. Make sure to bring your dog along as well! Much love,
– The GoFetch Team