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Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1. What is veterinary rehabilitation?
    Veterinary rehabilitation is a field of veterinary medicine that started with equine athletes and has been growing in popularity to reach our canine and feline companions. Veterinary rehabilitation incorporates non-invasive methods to rehabilitate injured patients. Rather than prescribing "pain medications and strict rest," physical rehabilitation counts on the benefits of continued and controlled use of the body to complement the healing process. The last thing we want to do while an animal is recovering from injury or is dealing with chronic pain is for them to stop moving entirely -- this leads to muscle loss and requires other muscle groups and areas of the body to compensate, leading to further pain and injury. The goal of rehabilitation is to maintain as much range of motion and strength as possible, while keeping movements pain-free and safe. It is important to work with your veterinary team to determine which movements are safe, especially while healing from surgery. Veterinary rehabilitation is now becoming standard-of-care in many state-of-the-art veterinary centers. For example, Colorado State University's Veterinary Teaching Hospital and many specialty centers now automatically include rehabilitation with all orthopedic surgeries. In fact, veterinarians who pursue advanced education and training can now pursue boarded certification in Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation. As the field grows, more rehabilitation centers are opening across the country. CVRA is the first facility with a professional trained in rehabilitation in SLO County!
  • 2. Why don't you use the term "physical therapy"?"
    Good question! The California Board of Consumer Affairs regulates and restricts the use of certain professional titles and service descriptions. "Physical therapy" is reserved for use only by licensed physical therapists for human treatment. However, many of our treatment methods are similar. See the "Services" section of our website for more information.
  • 3. Why does my pet need to see a primary care veterinarian first?
    Your pet's primary care veterinarian is very important to the rehabilitation process. They know you and your pet very well and will work towards getting as close to a diagnosis as possible. For example, this may include suggesting x-rays or bloodwork. These findings will give us as much information as possible to guide the rehabilitation process. The more information we have, the more safe and effective your pet's treatment plan will be. CVRA is not a full-scale veterinary practice, which allows Dr. Staple to focus on what she does best. By limiting her practice to rehabilitation and acupuncture, she is able to offer this service to more animals throughout the Central Coast, and provides your veterinarian with a trusted place to refer patients without the concern of a breakdown in communication. Dr. Staple will often see patients on a frequent basis at the beginning of a rehabilitation program, which means a doctor will have eyes on your pet regularly. Should any concerns arise throughout the course of treatment, Dr. Staple will be able to safely refer your pet back to their regular veterinarian or surgeon for further testing or medications.
  • 4. Will the acupuncture needles hurt my pet?
    Acupuncture needles are very thin, and most animals show very little reaction when the needles are inserted. Rarely, a needle may cause a mild tingling sensation or a brief "zing" feeling. This is not typically painful but can be a little startling to some pets. If there is a particular needle that appears to make your pet uncomfortable, Dr. Staple can remove it quickly. Most pets learn to enjoy acupuncture sessions and eagerly lay down and fall asleep during treatments.
  • 5. Do animals hold still during acupuncture treatments?
    Many animals enjoy the calming effect of acupuncture and will lay down or fall asleep during treatments. That being said, there are always those excited pets who just can't hold still! For these patients the use of licki mats, frozen baby food containers, or other positive distractions can assist with treatments.
  • 6. Will my pet feel better right away?
    All pets and diseases respond differently, but many animals will respond to therapies within 1-3 sessions. It is truly amazing to see how many animals respond immediately. You may notice your pet falls asleep during their appointment, or they may seem to have less discomfort or a better appetite when they get home that day. That being said, some of the exercises are developed to strengthen muscles and improve posture. Just like us, animals can become sore over the next couple days after exercising. Dr. Staple will check in with you whenever adjustments are made to exercise programs in order to make sure your pet stays as comfortable as possible during the rehabilitation process.
  • 7. Will pet insurance cover the costs of treatments?
    Yes! Many pet insurance companies offer plans that help cover costs of rehabilitation and acupuncture treatments. Check to see if your plan currently offers this benefit, otherwise you may be able to add-on an integrative medicine option. Please note: most pet insurance will not cover pre-existing conditions. Please look into getting pet insurance for your pet BEFORE they have any injuries or diagnosed conditions.
  • 8. Do you have an underwater treadmill?
    Not at this time. While underwater treadmills can be wonderful for some conditions, it is a small part of the rehab plan and is not indicated for every pet or condition. Skilled rehab therapists have many other tools to address your pet's needs without the expense and water usage involved with an underwater treadmill.
  • 9. Do you perform chiropractic adjustments?
    No, Dr. Staple is not certified in animal chiropractic care at this time. While chiropractic adjustments can be beneficial to some patients, Dr. Staple's approach is to reduce pain and strengthen muscle groups in such a way that patients do not need to rely on frequent recurrent adjustments.
  • 10. My pet has surgery scheduled soon, but you have a waitlist. Can you squeeze my pet in?
    The CVRA schedule is booked with current patients who have a variety of different follow-up needs. New patient consults are 90-minutes so cannot be squeezed in. When cancellations arise, those on the waitlist will be notified. To be added to the waitlist, you must first join the Notification List by submitting your email address on the Contact page. Due to the number of patients needing care locally and the wait involved, it is recommended that you submit your email as soon as an issue arises with your pet (or better yet, submit your email at any time in your pet's lifetime so we can try to prevent injuries in the first place!). In the meantime, please work with your veterinary team to ensure pain management is adequate and that your pet is on their way to reach an ideal body condition (weight). Both of these things will help your pet enormously while you wait for a rehab treatment plan.
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