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Animal Emergency

Our animal emergency hospital is open 24h per day, 365 days per year, and is staffed by experienced emergency vets and nurses caring for your pet.

Internal Medicine

Our Internal medicine service deals with heart problems, cancer, gastrointestinal disease, neurology and a range of other illnesses.

Animal Surgery

We offer the latest techniques in chest & abdominal surgery, cancer surgery, wound reconstruction, spinal imaging & surgery and advanced orthopaedics.

Underwater Treadmill

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Dr Chris Preston was the first veterinarian in Australia to offer underwater treadmill hydrotherapy for canine patients back in 2004 after attending a US scientific meeting encouraging its use in the rehabilitation process after major orthopaedic surgery. Chris employed a ‘human’ physiotherapist, who had also developed an interest in canine physical therapy, and began combining the two disciplines to optimize treatment outcomes. Now there are underwater treadmills in all of the major cities. Chris is a co-author on the positive effect of regular physical therapy in the rehabilitation process after cruciate ligament knee surgery in dogs.

Effects of early intensive postoperative physiotherapy on limb function after tibial plateau leveling osteotomy in dogs with deficiency of the cranial cruciate ligament.  Monk ML, Preston CA, McGowan CM.  American Journal of Veterinary Research March 2006, Vol. 67, No. 3, Pages 529-536
(click to read more...)

(Objective—To determine effects of early intensive postoperative physiotherapy on limb function in dogs after tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO) for deficiency of the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL).
Animals—8 adult dogs with CCL deficiency.

Procedure—After TPLO, dogs underwent a physiotherapy program 3 times/wk (physiotherapy group; n = 4) or a walking program (home-exercise group; 4). All dogs were evaluated before surgery, 1 and 10 days after surgery, and 3 and 6 weeks after surgery. Thigh circumference (TC), stifle joint flexion and extension range of motion (ROM), lameness, and weight-bearing scores were recorded.

Results—Before surgery, CCL-deficient limbs had significantly reduced TC and reduced flexion and extension ROMs, compared with values for the contralateral control limb. Six weeks after TPLO, the physiotherapy group had significantly larger TC than the home-exercise group, with the difference no longer evident between the affected and nonaffected limbs. Extension and flexion ROMs were significantly greater in the physiotherapy group, compared with values for the home-exercise group, 3 and 6 weeks after surgery. Six weeks after surgery, the difference in flexion and extension ROMs was no longer evident between the affected and nonaffected limbs in the physiotherapy group. Both groups had improvements for lameness and weight-bearing scores over time, but no difference was found between the 2 groups.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—After TPLO in CCL-deficient dogs, early physiotherapy intervention should be considered as part of the postoperative management to prevent muscle atrophy, build muscle mass and strength, and increase stifle joint flexion and extension ROMs.)

Swimming in a pool or at the beach is not as effected as a walking through water primarily because dogs tend to swim with their legs tucked under their body and don't extend their legs such as they do while walking. An underwater treadmill provides low impact exercise in a reduced gravity environment. Exercise is done in water to help dogs regain strength, range of motion and endurance while reducing the risk of further injury. Vigorous swimming especially if a dog isn't used to swimming can lead to increased soreness, stress and pain.

Water offers the natural properties of buoyancy and resistance taking the stress off painful joints & limbs, whilst allowing the animal to exercise. We can control the water temperature, depth and treadmill speed to individualise the treatment program to the patients and particular problem. Muscle strength and mobility can be regained after trauma, invasive orthopaedic or spinal surgery. The treadmill helps improve strength & increase endurance in overweight and poorly muscled dogs.

Pet Emergency & Specialist Centre has constructed a dedicated rehabilitation room to house the treadmill. There is non-slip flooring, floor drainage and all of the pipes and pumps and conveniently located in a separate room. Pet owners are able to become involved in their pets therapy sessions. Our therapists are often in the tank with your dog when they undergo their first few sessions. If pets become familiar and comfortable with the therapy they are often able to wade by themselves, with the owner just holding a lead from the front of the tank.
We are the only vet hospital in Melbourne with a specialist surgeon and a rehabilitation service.

Conditions that can be managed with hydrotherapy:

  • Arthritis of the spine, hip, knees and elbow
  • TPLO – knee reconstruction
  • DeAngelis – knee reconstruction
  • Joint replacement
  • Excision arthroplasty – hip surgery
  • Muscular weakness due to lack of activity
  • Obesity
  • Paralysis due to disc prolapse
  • Postoperative fracture repair