Animal Physical Therapy

Rolling Hills Pet Hospital believes animal physical therapy is a safe, effective treatment that can be used for a variety of conditions:

  • Speeding up post-surgical recovery which help reduce side effects and complications
  • Preventing further injuries · Minimizing the formation of scar tissue
  • Reducing inflammation and helping promote recovery from muscle strains, ligament ruptures or joint sprains and bone fractures
  • Facilitating the return to full strength and mobility
  • Reducing muscle tightness and spasms
  • Reducing anxiety and stress
  • Reducing pain from chronic conditions (arthritis and other degenerative diseases) while increasing flexibility and range of motion
  • Promoting mobility and improve strength in animals with spinal injuries or paralysis
  • Reconditioning exercises for working and guard dogs
  • Treating obesity in pets by strengthening muscles and increasing mobility and range of motion while preventing injury.
  • Rolling Hills Pet Hospital works with Pet Physical Therapy to help your pet heal. Here is an article run in San Diego Pets magazine about one of our very own clients.


Doggy Rehab

by KAI OLIVER-KURTIN | San Diego Pets

After bringing their 8-week-old Rottweiler, Kuma, home from a breeder, Debora and Michael Stacker thought they’d spend the rest of their days chasing after their big, playful puppy. As luck would have it, about a ye­ar and half later the Stackers found themselves sleeping on the couch, taking care of Kuma after he underwent corrective surgery for Wobbler disease, caused by stenotic lesions in his neck. Still having trouble walking after surgery, the Stackers enlisted the help of Pet Physical Therapy of San Diego to help Kuma when his progress began to plateau. After just four weeks of physical therapy, Kuma now bolts into the clinic for his biweekly visits without requiring any assistance.

Kuma is one of many dogs who has benefited from physical therapy after neurology, surgery or injury threatened their movement, and ultimately their quality of life.

“In human medicine, physical therapy is almost automatic when scheduling surgery—the two are married,” said Lisa Draper, registered veterinary technician and certified canine rehabilitation assistant. “Animals’ natural instinct is to bounce back, because if they’re weak then they’ll fall to prey.”

“They will survive without physical therapy but will be enhanced with it,” said Draper. “They’ll prevent further injury, and recover quicker and better with rehab.”

Pet Physical Therapy of San Diego offers rehabilitative and corrective exercises, acupuncture, stretching and massage, heat and cryotherapy, hydrotherapy, laser therapy, weight management and neuromuscular electrical stimulation.

“Pet physical therapy is very similar to the human practice of using therapeutic exercises to rehab,” said Draper. “It’s a very rewarding experience for both me and the dogs. They really look forward to the interaction and exercise—just like they came to play.”

Draper has been in the veterinary field for 20 years. After the last few years as a surgery technician, she saw how much animals could benefit from the rehabilitative process ­­during their recovery, and decided to focus more closely on physical therapy.

“Kuma is one of our success stories,” said Draper. “In May he was carried in on a stretcher and couldn’t stand or walk, but we used a sling to hoist him up and get him going on the underwater treadmill. Now he runs into the office.”

In January, Kuma wouldn’t walk down stairs or exit cars on his own. After a hike with his owners, the instability of his back legs was exposed. The lesions in Kuma’s neck were pinching nerves that would never correct themselves naturally. Steroids provided temporary relief but he would have to become dependent on them for the duration of his life. After deciding on surgery, the Stackers had a hard time watching Kuma lay around motionless; having to carry him outside for bathroom breaks and provide 24-hour supervision. Today he is a new dog.

“Kuma has blossomed,” said Debora Stacker. “He wouldn’t be where he is today if it weren’t for Pet Physical Therapy of San Diego. They’ve given us very valuable tips and explained everything in great detail. Therapy has been a special treat for Kuma; it has really pulled him out of a rut and boosted his spirits.”

Pet Physical Therapy of San Diego is located at 2260 Otay Lakes Road in Chula Vista. For more information, visit