Do cats love Rehab and water? You bet!

O’Malley getting Rehab in our Underwater Treadmill

O’Malley loved getting rehab in our Underwater Treadmill. Watch the video and see for yourself! O’Malley3UWTMvid

Historically, rehabilitation therapy in veterinary medicine (similar to physical therapy for humans) has been limited to dogs. But there are many examples of cats receiving rehabilitation therapy. Check out our web page to learn more: ( )

While some cats may not tolerate water like he did, many will tolerate other forms of rehab: manual therapy, massage, LASER treatment, acupuncture, etc. If you think your cat could benefit from this therapy, call us today at 704-786-0104.


All the best,

Stephen E. Foster, DVM, CCRT

Foster Animal Hospital, P.A.

Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center

730 Concord Parkway North

Concord, NC 28027







“He Doesn’t Act Like He’s In Pain”


“He doesn’t act like he’s in pain”.

That’s a common phrase we hear in our exam rooms or in conversations with clients that have older pets. We also hear, “she sleeps more because she’s old”, “he doesn’t go on walks as much because he’s old”, or “he’s gotten grumpier in his old age”.

While some of that may be true, reality is dogs and cats are masters at hiding chronic pain. Whether that goes back generations when there habitat was more outside and they needed more of a  survival instinct is up for debate. We do see different pain tolerances among different patients. But the average pet doesn’t show signs of chronic pain that we as humans feel would be typical signs.

So, sleeping more, walking less, being grumpy may well be “normal” signs of chronic pain for our pets.

Let’s look at what may be driving chronic pain and what we can do about it.

Arthritis is the most common cause of chronic pain in older pets. Arthritis can involve any joint, as well as, the spine. Arthritis is defined as the painful inflammation and stiffness of joints. Some pets develop arthritis from wear and tear over the years. Some pets will have arthritic joints from disease, such as, hip dysplasia. Some will have arthritis from injuries, for example, a torn cranial cruciate ligament. And there are other causes as well.

Chronic pain may result from other physical ailments: intervertebral disc disease, fibrotic muscle disease, or neuropathic pain.

The good news is, we have many ways to deal with chronic pain in your pet.

There are many different prescription medications that are available. The majority of the medicines are approved for dogs. There are some for cats but not as many. This is because cats are unable to tolerate many of these medications. Some of these drugs deal with inflammation and pain and some are for pain only. Sometimes, we will safely use a combination of these to help our patients feel and function better.

Neutraceuticals, supplements, and Chinese herbs are another way to relieve chronic pain. In fact, this is oftentimes the first line of defense. These supplements help nourish the joints and some have natural anti-inflammatory ability as well. There are a ton of these available but not all are reliable or effective. We suggest asking us for guidelines before starting any supplement.

Rehabilitation Therapy is a new and up-and-coming option for pets with chronic pain, injuries, and for post-op recovery. Rehab utilizes many of the same techniques that physical therapy does in humans. Manual therapy, massage, passive range of motion, and therapeutic exercises are often employed. We also use different modalities: underwater treadmill, LASER, land treadmill, and more. The response to therapy is remarkable and helps pets regain pain-free function. While many degenerative issues are not curable, Rehabilitation Therapy can decrease chronic pain, improve strength, improve neurological function, and promote healing. We even have access to acupuncture, platelet rich plasma, and stem cell therapy!

If any of this reminds you of your pet, contact us today!

Foster Animal Hospital and Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center: 704-786-0104

Foster Animal Clinic at Parkway Commons: 704-262-7387.


All the best,

Stephen E Foster, DVM, CCRT

Foster Animal Hospital, P.A.

Foster Animal Clinic at Parkway Commons

Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center

730 Concord Parkway North

Concord, NC 28027






Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center

PIM Logo

Canine Rehab, similar to physical therapy in human medicine, is ideal for dogs that have been injured, undergone surgery or who suffer from arthritis, obesity, or neurological disease. By using Rehabilitation techniques and modalities we can maximize your pet’s ability to recover physically while minimizing his/her pain. Some signs of pain and discomfort are as follows: Sleeps more/ Restlessness, especially at night Lethargic, doesn’t want to walk as much or at all, Cannot jump onto bed or sofa, Pants more, Lameness, Stiffness, Whines or moans for no apparent reason, Irritability or personality changes, any or all of the above but doesn’t seem or act painful. Below is a list of services that we offer.

  • Weave Cones
    • When walking through vertical weave cones it helps develop coordination and balance while learning to turn and pivot.
  • Initial Assessment
    • To begin an assessment, the patient is observed at rest and at several gaits. General palpation is performed to determine proper symmetry and muscle atrophy. Postural reflexes, ROM measurements and proprioception testing are performed. Every tendon, ligament, muscle and joint from the tip of the nose to the tail is assessed.
  • Cavaletti Rails
    • Helps dogs learn how to negotiate obstacles and walk over them by lifting their limbs to the appropriate height.
  • Underwater Treadmill
    • This is effective for improving strength, muscular endurance, cardio respiratory endurance, ROM, agility, psychological well-being, while minimizing pain; beneficial for post-op fractures, Cranial Cruciate Ligament stabilization, neurological conditions, tendinitis, and conditioning.
  • LASER (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation)
    • LASER is used to accelerate wound and joint healing, to promote muscle regeneration, acute and chronic pain control, decrease edema (swelling), neurological conditions, and post–op care. It is measured in Joules/cm² (dose of laser energy).
  • Dry Needling
    • Dry Needling is the use of either solid filiform needles (acupuncture needles) or hollow-core hypodermic needles for muscle pain from trigger points (knots); sometimes known as intramuscular stimulation.
  • Gulick
    • A measuring tape with a spring tension device used to measure limb circumference. Measures muscle mass around thigh.
  • Goniometer
    • Device measures joint angles of flexion and extension. The measurements are given in degrees.
  • ESTIM (Electrical Stimulation)
    • Helps to increase muscle strength, muscle re-education, increasing ROM, correction of structural abnormalities, improving muscle tone, accelerating wound healing, edema (swelling) reduction, muscle spasm reduction, and enhancing trans dermal administration of medication.
  • TENS (Trans cutaneous Electrical Stimulation Nerve Stimulation)
    • TENS works transcutaneously (through the skin) through surface electrodes to excite nerves
  • Massage
    • Is the manipulation of the soft tissues of the body, helps to relieve stress, anxiety and discomfort, helps to reduce muscle spasms and soft tissue discomfort, relief from pain, reduce tension, and help to sedate the nervous system
    • Techniques: Stroking, Effleurage, Petrissage, Compressions
  • Stretching
    • Improves flexibility of the joints and extensibility of periarticular tissues (tissues around a joint), muscles and tendons; beneficial with conditions like shortening of tissues, reduced mobility, injury and neurological conditions.
  • PROM (Passive Range of Motion)
    • Is useful to diminish the effects of disuse and immobilization. There is no muscle contraction performed, helps to decrease pain and improves rate of recovery.
  • Balance Board
    • Is used to provide balance and proprioceptive training from the forelimbs or side to side

Here is a link to our Rehabilitation website page


Obesity and Canine Rehabilitation Part 3 – The End

First we discussed the effects obesity can have on your furry family member and second we discussed diet changes to help with weight loss and control weight gain. So, for the last part of this series we are going to discuss the benefits of starting and continuing canine rehabilitation using the underwater treadmill.

Underwater treadmill is used for post-surgical and non-surgical orthopedic conditions, osteoarthritis in older patients, athlete conditioning and weight loss. For patients that are overweight or obese there is a risk of doing land exercises because of the stress that is applied to all the joints during the performing of these exercises. With the underwater treadmill these patients can exercise more safely because of the buoyant environment the water provides. The water’s buoyancy reduces weight bearing while at the same time it increases metabolic demand and improves muscle strengthening because of the resistance present while walking on the underwater treadmill. With the underwater treadmill you can also raise the water high enough for the patient to perform some swimming (be sure to have a life jacket for the patient).

amadeus swimming amadeus Luke

The water levels and speed of the underwater treadmill can alter the patients motion and exercises exertion level. Each patient is different in what their needs are going to be so you want to be sure and have a certified canine rehabilitation therapist examine the patient before pursuing any rehabilitation treatment.

Here at Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center we have two Conditioning Plans pre-packaged for your weight loss needs. Conditioning Plan 1 has the first bag of metabolic + mobility dry food along with sessions of underwater treadmill therapy. Conditioning Plan 2 has underwater treadmill sessions. By giving a weight loss food along with the underwater treadmill sessions is more beneficial than just doing one or the other. When both the diet plan and exercise plan are being met you know that there are no exceptions in their diet because they can only have that food and with the exercise plan they have their own personal weight loss trainer along the way until they reach their goal. There is also exercises sent home for you to complete throughout their plan and beyond. Once they reach their target weight we will help you to maintain their target weight so they don’t become overweight or obese later.



The Story of Clarence Part 3

Clarence continued to improve. He became stronger with each rehabilitation session. He is now able to trot up and down the exercise room. Performing sideways and backwards walking. I would also have him trotting in circles and going through weave cones. These exercises improved his ability to balance and improved use of the left rear leg by weight shifting. We still continued manual therapies and LASER treatment along with the therapeutic exercises. Mr. and Mrs. Wines, Clarence’s owners, have exercises they are performing with Clarence at home daily.


The Underwater Treadmill was the next challenging exercise for Clarence to begin. His rear legs were finally strong enough to go against the tension of the water. He started out doing underwater treadmill once a week. Clarence really enjoyed the water to the point he would dunk his whole nose under the water before the treadmill feature began. The settings for Clarence were set at 1.3 miles per hour for five minutes. The depth of the water was marked at fifteen inches. By the time of his last underwater treadmill session his settings were 1.3-1.5 miles per hour for eight minutes. The water depth was set at sixteen inches. Sessions in the underwater treadmill helped to improve his strength and gait even more.

The day came for Clarence’s last rehabilitation session. Everyone was so happy to see how well he had progressed in his recovery, but also sad to see him go. We will never forget his wonderful story, and I want to thank Mr. and Mrs. Wines for allowing us to share Clarence’s story. You can check out Clarence’s Rehabilitation Journey video below.





Underwater Treadmill?!?


It’s me again, Amadeus! I’ve got to tell you about my week at Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitiation. It was so weird! But, in a good way!

I went to my canine rehab appointment like usual on Friday but when I got there, my Certified Canine Rehabilitation Assistant, Candace told me that I was going to use the Underwater Treadmill today. The WHAT?!?!? Underwater Treadmill? What does that even mean?


I have to admit, I was pretty suspicious the rest of the morning. Luckily, I was able to see one of my rehab buddies, Shepp, in the Underwater Treadmill first.  He did a lot better than I did though. I kept trying to stop walking but that didn’t help. Here’s a video of my buddy Shepp during his rehab session (Click the link):   Shepp Underwater Treadmill

When it was my turn, it took me a while to get used to the water moving all around me, but I started to get the hang of it. I walk on the land treadmill twice a week, so I started to realize that it’s the same kind of thing. I just keep walking.

I could feel the movement of the water and it made me focus on my balance better so it didn’t push me from side to side. I also felt the resistance from walking in the water. It definitely gave me a good workout!

I can’t wait until my next visit! I am going to have mom take a video of me so I can show you all how good I’m doing in rehab!