Physical therapy for canines, or canine rehabilitation, adapts human physical therapy techniques to increase function and mobility of joints and muscles in animals. Animal rehabilitation can reduce pain and enhance recovery from injury, surgery, degenerative diseases, age-related diseases, and obesity.
The goal of physical therapy for animals is to improve quality of life and decrease pain. Although most veterinary practices offering physical therapy are geared toward canines, techniques used in this discipline can also be applied to horses, cats, birds, rabbits, rodents and other small animals
The benefits of physical therapy for animals have been widely accepted in the veterinary community for many years. However, clinical practice of physical therapy for animals is a relatively new field in the U.S. In Europe, equine and canine physical therapy have been widely recommended and used for at least the last fifteen years. In the last three to five years, the veterinary community in the U.S. has seen a large growth in physical therapy practices for animals, making it a more available resource for practicing veterinarians. This growth in the availability of canine physical therapy is forcing a change in focus in many veterinary practices from curative and palliative care to preventive care. An example of this is the push for the use of animal physical therapy for weight reduction in obese animals. Weight reduction can reduce the risk of developing many degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis and DJD.
Canine rehabilitation is an AVMA boarded specialty through the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation. Diplomates (Specialists)of this college advance the art and science of veterinary medicine by promoting expertise in the structural, physiological, medical and surgical needs of athletic animals and the restoration of normal form and function after injury or illness. These specialists have special training and educational requirements above and beyond a veterinary degree and are identified as Diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation ( DACVSMR). 
Canine rehabilitation is also practiced by general veterinarians and physical therapists with specialized training. If your pet is being treated by a physical therapist that pet generally must have a diagnosis and referral by a veterinarian to start a physical rehabilitation regime. A certified canine rehabilitation practitioner (CCRP) is one designation for veterinarians, veterinary technicians, physical therapists, or physical therapist assistants who perform physical rehabilitation and is offered through Northeast Seminars with affiliation with the University of Tennessee outreach program. A CCRT certification is available through the Canine Rehabilitation Institute in Florida and Colorado–affiliated with Colorado State University. Other more extensive and individualized training and online offerings are available as well.
Juan Gonzalo Angel