Physiotherapy is effectively “physical therapy” an umbrella term which encompasses a wide range of therapies and modalities such as joint mobilisations, massage, therapeutic exercises, myofascial release but also such diverse modalities as acupuncture, laser, shockwave, electrotherapy and ultrasound. The aim of physiotherapy is to restore an individual to fitness maximising their mobility, function, strength, balance and performance. Animal physiotherapy is an essential component of the management of joint or spinal problems; rehabilitation after surgery, illness, fractures or any injury and sports medicine programs for canine athletes.

The team of professionals at HolisticPet have been using physiotherapy as a treatment option for two decades to help pets suffering from pain or reduced mobility to regain their quality of life.


What is Physiotherapy?


Physiotherapy is an umbrella term encompassing  “physical therapies” including thermotherapy, massage, acupuncture, laser, electrotherapy, hydrotherapy, therapeutic exercises and manipulation. It is used to restore animals to full mobility after injury, surgery, trauma or illness. 

Physiotherapy aids with proprioception and balance; muscle mass and strength; joint range of motion; corrects abnormal gaits; reduces muscle and joint pain; aids in the treatment of canine athletic injuries and conditioning for a particular sport. It requires an in-depth knowledge of anatomy, physiology, neurology, orthopaedics plus the different modalities used. As such physiotherapy should only be carried out by trained professionals. 


Benefits of Physiotherapy for Dogs and Cats 


Physiotherapy is most often used to reduce physical pain in animals which is affecting their mobility and quality of life. The different therapies achieve this effect in a number of different ways. They increase the release of the animal’s own endorphins and natural pain relieving chemicals from the brain; improve circulation in tissues which is essential to provide nutrition for healing; reduce the impact of inflammatory chemicals on the tissues; they enhance the animal’s own natural immune response to speed recovery; they increase joint range of motion and joint nutrition so reducing the impact of osteoarthritis; they encourage the use of muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones in a safe manner hence increasing strength, balance and proprioception.

Physiotherapy treatment can improve the well-being of animals suffering from issues ranging from neurological conditions to soft tissue damage.


  • For recovery after orthopaedic surgery
  • Degenerative conditions including arthritis or degenerative myelopathy
  • Developmental issues such as hip dysplasia or elbow dysplasia
  • Spinal problems whether being managed conservatively or with surgery 
  • Impaired mobility
  • Myofascial (muscle and connective tissue) pain, muscle spasms, muscle tightness or muscle knots
  • Soft tissue injuries 
  • Neurological problems 


Physiotherapy Modalities


  1. Massage
  2. The use of different massage techniques to relax both patients and animals; relieve spasms in muscle and connective tissue; improve circulation; reduce pain and encourage healing. 
  3. Thermotherapy
  4. Cryotherapy or cold therapy is used to reduce inflammation and swelling; decrease the metabolic rate of damaged tissue resulting in less cell death and accelerating healing; to wind down pain. Used after injury or exercise.
  5. The application of heat helps improve the circulation of tissue; increases muscle elasticity aiding mobility; reduces muscle and soft tissue spasms; winds down pain. Used before injury or exercise.
  6. Therapeutic exercises
  7. Targeted exercises tailored to the individual are designed to reduce pain;  improve the range of motion of joints; increase muscle mass; restore function and fitness; correct abnormalities of balance and proprioception; condition sporting dogs for their particular activity; improve cardiovascular function, stamina and endurance.
  8. Acupuncture 
  9. Laser
  10. Ultrasound
  11. PEMF
  12. Hydrotherapy


Why Choose Holistic Pet NI?


HolisticPet employs vet and vet nurses passionate about pet physiotherapy and who have had additional training in this field. They are the most experienced team of veterinary professionals working in this area in Northern Ireland. They are constantly updating their training in this field. Siobhan holds a GP Certificate in Western Veterinary Acupuncture and Chronic Pain and is the only vet in Ireland to hold the Canine Certified Rehabilitation Practitioner qualification, a RACE approved university qualification in animal rehabilitation which includes all the physiotherapy modalities. Elsa has studied Rehabilitation, Chronic Pain, Laser therapy and Acupuncture. Emma and Sandra have studied acupuncture with Longview vet services and the Western Veterinary Acupuncture Group. In addition, Sandra has a qualification in Canine Conditioning.




How often do dogs need physiotherapy?

This depends on the presenting complaint. Sometimes a one-off treatment is enough, more commonly pets will attend weekly for 4-6 weeks. Some of our long-term patients only need to attend once a month or for 6 weeks.

What types of pets are suitable for physiotherapy?

All pets are suitable, with no exclusions.

How much does pet physiotherapy cost? 

Cost depends on which treatments are used and may range from £35 -£140.

Is physiotherapy covered by pet insurance?

Most pet insurances will cover physiotherapy so long as your pet is referred by a vet but you do need to check this with your insurance provider.

Can I do physiotherapy on my pet at home?

Yes in fact part of our treatment is a tailored home physio program with instructional videos.

What is the EMMETT Technique in canine massage?

Emmett is a specific type of massage involving light finger touch on specific points of the body to achieve relaxation.


Do you think that your pet might benefit from physiotherapy? Call the dedicated team of veterinary professionals at HolisticPet today for sympathetic and educated advice.