In my early days as a surgeon, I came across numerous fracture repairs, cruciate repairs, muscle injuries and neurological problems in dogs and cats. At the time, the orthopaedic surgeon performed the surgery, the patient recovered and – most of the time – that was that.
Yet from the beginning I was fascinated how non-medical treatment such as ‘tender loving care’ was able to put a lot of badly hurt dogs back on track. This led to my first steps in physiotherapy when I realised the benefits of ice packs post-op and simple exercises to improve the range of motion. A lot of spare time went into working with these dogs!
Looking further afield, I took my first steps using laser therapy under the guidance of a human physician. My mentor in veterinary practice encouraged me to take courses in physiotherapy and revalidation. Today, I cannot imagine performing orthopaedic surgery without any form of rehabilitation. And it’s easy! Owners can learn how to do many simple exercises at home – and love it as it strengthens the bond with their pets.
My interest in this growing field led me to suggest a ‘special issue’ for EJCAP on this topic. In this issue, you will find three papers on rehabilitation in dogs as well as a ‘How to...’ lecture recording on hydrotherapy. The introductory paper is written by Yves Samoy, head of the brand new rehabilitation centre at the Ghent University Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. I hope you all enjoy this EJCAP edition!