There are many responsible pet owners out there that know getting professional expertise is a must in order to provide the best quality of life for their four-legged friend. However, canine rehabilitation is still a growing field, which can make it difficult for, even the most experienced pet owner to find quality animal rehabilitation. Fortunately, it does not have to be very difficult; you just need to know what to look for.
What is a Canine Rehabilitation Professional?
Working with a veterinarian or physical therapist with a certification in canine rehabilitation therapy will ensure that your pet receives rehabilitative care from a professional with the proper training. Simply look for these credentials after their name: CCRT (canine rehabilitation therapist), CCRP (certified canine rehabilitation practitioner) or diploma of Canine Rehabilitation.  An individual with one of these certifications has received formal training in canine anatomy and physiology, canine behavior and handling, common conditions and injuries, physical therapy assessment techniques, manual therapy, physical modalities (e.g., ultrasound, laser, TENS/NMES), therapeutic exercise, neurological rehab, and more. In particular, physical therapists are regarded as rehabilitation experts given their four or more years of schooling on the subject—before any kind of training with canines has begun. Physical therapists have the letters BScPT, MScPT or MPT behind their names.
It is also important to note that veterinary nurses/technicians may also provide canine rehabilitation to your pet, but they should be following a plan of care prescribed by a veterinarian or physical therapist with training in canine rehab. They might also have the letters CCRP after their name, since the certification program at Northeast Seminars does not offer different certifications based on profession to their graduates, or the letters CCRA (certified canine rehabilitation assistant) or CCRVN (certified canine rehabilitation veterinary nurse) if they completed their certification with the Canine Rehabilitation Institute.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of clinics out there that buy equipment, such as  a laser or  underwater treadmill and then claim to offer rehabilitative services without employing a professional certified in canine rehabilitation. A responsible and effective rehabilitation program goes well beyond any one piece of equipment.  Canine rehab is an involved process that requires extensive knowledge about body systems, tissue healing times, health conditions, joint anatomy, and much, much more.

Of course, equipment does have it’s place in effective rehabilitation when used appropriately, as part of treatment plan. However, no piece of equipment should ever be used as a stand alone treatment and more should be done if an animal is to receive top-quality care.  A professional trained in canine rehabilitation will be able to provide just that.

How can you find a qualified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner?

 To find a veterinarian or physical therapist with a canine rehab certification, you can perform a simple Google search with your city and province along with the letters of credentials mentioned above, or you can use the link to the website below, then click on “Find an Animal Rehab Therapist”

By working with a certified canine rehab professional, you will be giving your beloved canine the best chance at the best quality of life possible. Certain equipment might be helpful for your pet’s specific needs, but only when used appropriately as part of a larger plan of care developed by a professional. Certified professionals are out there—you just need to know how to look for them. And now you do!


This blog was originally written by: TheK9PT – Dr. Francisco Maia, PT, DPT, CCRT
In collaboration with: Dr. Aliya Bahjet, PT, DPT – Professional Writer and Physical Therapistand was used and modified (with permission) to include information on qualifications specific to Canadian physiotherapists who have completed training in Canine Rehabilitation through the Animal Rehabilitation Division of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association.