By Dr. Elizabeth Jobe, DVM, CCRP, cVMA

Therapeutic exercise is a physical therapy intervention encompassing a broad range of activities designed to restore or improve musculoskeletal, cardiopulmonary and/or neurologic function. Some form of therapeutic exercise is indicated in every physical therapy case. The rehabilitation professional must use specialized knowledge to determine exercises that are appropriate for a patient’s level of ability, age, endurance, severity of injury, and stage of recovery. The intensity and difficulty of the exercises varies greatly depending on the individual’s condition and injury.


  • Improve active pain-free range of motion.
  • Improve muscle strength and muscle mass.
  • Encourage limb use after surgery or injury and increase weight bearing.
  • Improve daily function and quality of life.
  • Prevent further injury.


  • Non-invasive form of therapy.
  • Facilitates an increased rate of recovery from injury.
  • Improves quality of movement of limbs.
  • Has a positive psychological effect for both the owner and pet.
  • Enhances core-conditioning for sporting and competition dogs.


  • Vary the routine.
    • We try a number of different activities to determine what works best for an individual in order to modify the treatment plan.
  • Allow the patient to guide the increase in activity.
    • While many of these exercises can be performed at home, they are best guided by the rehabilitation practitioner so that the progression of therapy is carefully monitored and assessed.


  • Land treadmill
  • Swiss balls
  • PhysioRolls
  • Fit discs and donuts
  • Balance boards
  • Ramps/inclines
  • Stairs
  • Leg weights
  • Weighted vests
  • Cavaletti rails
  • Agility equipment