Pet Physical Rehabilitation

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Pet Physical Rehabilitation

Our rehabilitation department has recently expanded and is now at a separate specialist facility 1.3 miles down the road at 178 South Charlotte Street!

View their full site with all your physical rehabilitation needs here:

The Animal Rehab Center is a new physical rehabilitation facility located in downtown Asheville, NC. We provide in-house physical rehab focused on pet pain management, surgical recovery, and improved mobility for the animals of Western North Carolina.

Conditions improved with physical rehab vary from arthritis and mobility limitations, to degenerative neurological conditions, to orthopedic surgical recovery. Depending on the condition being treated, various exercises are performed to increase range of motion, improve balance, and overall strengthen muscles. Pain reduction is also an important part of rehab and can be accomplished with a variety of mechanisms such as massage, therapeutic laser and ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and ice or heat therapy. Initially rehab treatments may be aimed towards decreasing pain and inflammation, then improving range of motion and balance and, later, improving performance, stamina, and muscle size.

Animal Rehab Center is pleased to offer Aquatic Therapy, which includes a swimming pool and underwater treadmill, as well as “Land Therapy” or ground exercises  to improve coordination and strength. Treatment modalities also include Therapeutic Devices such as Cold Laser, Therapeutic Ultrasound, Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation, and Assistive Devices to aid in mobility.



Keep up to date with all of our Animal Rehab Center's happenings on our FACEBOOK page here.



Read the Citizen-Times Article about our new Animal Rehab facility here.

View our TV Debut video with WLOS about our new facility and grand opening event here. 

Along with such alternative modes of treatment as chiropractic care, stem cell therapy, and acupuncture, our full-service animal hospital has offered since 2010 veterinary physical rehabilitation for pets, and now the pyysical rehab department has expanded their services into the specialist facilty down the street at The Animal Rehab Center. 


Physical rehabilitation functions to increase your pet's range of motion, improve balance and overall muscle strength, and reduce pain. Our rehabilitation program treats disease or physical weakness by means of special physical exercises, massage, heat/cold therapy, electrotherapy, underwater treadmill, and/or ultrasound therapy. This therapy is helpful in treating pets with neurological diseases, hip pain, soft tissue sprains/strains, and arthritis, as well as those recovering from orthopedic surgery.  Any animal experiencing stiffness, trauma, pain, muscle atrophy, imbalance, or inflammation can benefit.

Can Your Pet Benefit From Physical Rehabilitation?

Do you have an aging dog or cat that often limps, is overall less active than before, or having a hard time jumping or going for walks?  Perhaps s/he doesn't sit squarely or easily anymore, or no longer seems to enjoy morning or evening dog stretches?

Arthritis is a common cause of such complaints.  Pet owners often believe that these symptoms are normal for aging animals and accept the changes without intervention. While medications or supplements may help ease some of the inflammation or discomfort, improving muscle strength and the flexibility of surrounding soft tissue can drastically reduce discomfort from arthritis- much like the benefits people receive from yoga, weight training, and cardio exercise! 

Physical rehabilitation in animals is based on similar principles as therapy in people.  Depending on the condition being treated, various exercises are performed to increase range of motion, improve balance, and overall strengthen muscles. Pain reduction is also an important part of rehab and can be accomplished with a variety of mechanisms such as massage, therapeutic laser and ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and ice/heat therapy. Initially rehab treatments may be aimed towards decreasing pain and inflammation; then improving range of motion and balance; and, later, improving performance, stamina and muscle size.  

What are some typical exercises?  One of the most important early exercises involves passive range-of-motion.  This exercise targets specific joints or muscles with limited flexibility and, by doing repetitive stretches several times a day, improves range of motion and flexibility.  Several weeks later active exercises can be added, such as weight shifting, balancing exercises, and sit-to-stands.  As balance and strength return, more challenging exercises can be introduced, such as Cavaletti or obstacle courses.  The benefits of an underwater treadmill incorporate several benefits of rehab in one therapy: pain relief from the warm water; a comfortable, reduced weight-bearing environment; and a moving treadmill to encourage a normal, patterned gait.

Rehab is also very helpful when recovering from orthopedic and neurologic/spine surgery.  In such cases, rehabilitation is geared toward healing and recovery in a controlled manner over a period of several months to achieve the best possible surgical outcome. In addition, various neurological diseases, soft tissue sprains/strains, or any condition involving stiffness, trauma, pain, muscle atrophy, imbalance, or inflammation will also benefit from rehab.  Secondary or compensatory problems will also often improve as primary problems are addressed.


At our clinic, a physical rehab consultation generally lasts 40-60 minutes, and is performed with a certified rehabilitation veterinarian.  Often the scheduled part of the exam involves a questionnaire and detailed discussion with the owner regarding the problems, symptoms, and ultimate goals for recovery, as well as a complete orthopedic and/or neurologic exam and pain and lameness score.  Either during the appointment or on the first day of therapy, muscle girth measurements and range of motion (goniometry) measurements are recorded.  Owners receive rehab recommendations for their pet’s specific plan which includes a timeline ranging from weeks to months as well as home exercises with visual instructions. 

Some owners prefer to perform all rehab on their own at home, often spending an hour 2-3 times a day.  Others would prefer to have the rehab performed in a more structured environment with veterinary supervision and guidance.  Most ideal is a combination of the two, where owners perform simple exercises at home while attending an in-clinic rehab program. Most patients benefit from starting with 1-2 days/week of in-clinic therapy. 

Dr. Beth Rhyne, CCRP, of Charlotte Street Animal Hospital completed a Certificate Program in Canine Physical Rehabilitation through the University of Tennessee and Northeast Seminars of New Hampshire in 2010; and CSAH's practice owner, Dr. Mark Ledyard, is currently in study.  This program involves a sequence of postgraduate courses for veterinarians, physical therapists, physical therapist assistants and veterinary technicians or students of these professions, followed by supervised clinical experience and a cumulative examination.  The program is instructed by veterinarians and physical therapists, the majority of whom are board certified by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons and the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties.  Upon successful completion of the program and examination, participants receive the designation of Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner (or C.C.R.P.).

To see a video of Dr. Rhyne demonstrating passive range of motion physical therapy, click on one of the following:     

Veterinary Rehabilitation Therapy can help with the following conditions:

  • Arthritis
  • Neurological diseases/injuries
  • Post-orthopedic and neurological surgeries 
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Joint/tendon injuries
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Muscle disorders
  • Weakness in limb(s)
  • Bone fractures
  • Amputation

This is Taz!  He previously suffered from luxating patellas. 

After having patella repair surgery on his right rear knee, Taz decided to reorganized his daily routine to fit in some physical rehabilitation.
While achieving personal goals, this little terrier exhibited fierce enthusiasm.

Here is Lola getting Heat Therapy and the PFM Loop as part of her Physical Rehab Individual Plan.

Charlotte Street Animal Hospital offers discounts with prepaid packages of rehabilitation treatments. For questions regarding whether our rehabilitation program will help your pet, please call  828-232-0440.

Beth Rhyne, DVM, CCRP (Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner), is Asheville’s first veterinarian certified by the University of Tennessee to perform canine physical rehabilitation. She is delighted to provide comprehensive veterinary care, including physical rehabilitation, for dogs, cats, birds, ferrets, and other exotic pets.

CSAH is please to offer Asheville's first underwater treadmill!
CSAH is pleased to offer Asheville's first Underwater Treadmill

Some Other Complimentary Therapies to Consider:

  • Chiropractic Medicine
  • Acupuncture
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Injections
  • Joint Supplements (Adequan, Dasuquin, Omega 3 FA, etc)
  • Pain Medication Options can be determied by your primary veterinarian


Client Testimonials:

“I was so worried that my little guy would never be able to run and play like he did before his injury. I started Taz in CSAH’s PR program and they somehow made all of the work fun. He loved his PR days! After just a few short months of therapy with Dr. Rhyne and her team, my Taz was running and playing like he never missed a beat. He doesn’t even limp now. You would never know that he had such a major surgery. I am forever grateful the CSAH.”    -Ms. Buckner, Taz’s Owner

“My German Shepherd, Renni, is more than just a pet, he is a beloved member of our family. When he began to display signs of pain and immobility seven months ago, we were absolutely distraught. The physical rehabilitation program at CSAH has been such a blessing! Dr. Rhyne and her staff are extraordinarily knowledgeable, compassionate and responsive. Over the past six months, we have seen a vast improvement in his mobility, pain management and his quality of life. Thanks so much!”  -Ms. Wheeler, Renni’s Owner

“My 11 year old dog, Caitlin, has always had bad hips and then lost her leg 3 years ago to an illness. Caitlin comes to rehab once a week and it’s absolutely helping her maintain mobility.  Without it, she can barely move by the end of the week. From her hips to her age, there is so much working against her well-being, so the rehab program has definitely been the best tool we have to preserve her quality of life. Everything about CSAH’s physical rehab program, the laser, massage and all the compassionate care she receives has really been amazing.”   -Ms. Feinroth, Caitlin’s Owner