When coming for physiotherapy for the first time, the patient is examined by a physiotherapist. The aim of the examination is to map any physiotherapeutic problems, which can include limited joint mobility, muscular atrophy or reduced weight-bearing in a limb.
After identifying the problems, short- and long-term goals will be agreed on with the owner. Short-term goals can include increasing weight-bearing, strength or mobility, or managing pain caused by a strain injury. Long-term goals may include the animal’s return to a top athletic level or the prevention of the recurrence of a strain injury or pain state.
A rehabilitation plan will be drawn up to attain these goals, including a timetable and the forms of therapy chosen.
Physiotherapeutic treatments include the following:
Physiotherapy always includes instruction and guidance for the owner as well as the drawing up of a home training programme, if relevant.
Note-taking and careful patient documentation are an important part of each patient’s therapy. Continual reassessment of the efficacy and effectiveness of the physiotherapy is carried out alongside the therapy, which will also be reported on a continuous basis to the veterinarian in charge of the patient. We also cooperate with our colleagues working in the field as well as other professional groups.
Physiotherapy appointments are booked through the booking service of the Small Animal Hospital.
Patients are admitted to physiotherapy
Typical patients include animals struggling with pain and musculoskeletal issues underlying a range of causes, as well as those with problems related to the nervous system. Physiotherapy also supports the veterinary treatment of patients with respiratory and cardiac issues.
Physiotherapy is always carried out in cooperation with the animal’s owner and the veterinarian in charge of the patient.
The physiotherapy unit of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital leases assistive and therapeutic devices.
The most popular rented equipment include electrotherapy equipment as well as various support and lifting harnesses. We also sell, among other things, resistance bands for therapeutic exercises and simple boots for protecting paws and claws.
All equipment is always individually adjusted for the patient’s needs. For example, justified treatment parameters are set in electrotherapy equipment, while the height of trailers is always professionally adjusted before their rental. All equipment rental includes thorough advice and guidance for the animal’s owner.
In addition, functional supports and orthoses can be ordered from and adapted through the Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s physiotherapy unit, for example, to promote the functioning of injured limbs. Such solutions are always implemented in agreement with the referring veterinarian and the owner.
In addition to broad-based experience, veterinary physiotherapy at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital is based on scientific research. All of our veterinary physiotherapists have long and varied experience in the field. Heli Hyytiäinen and Anna Boström have graduated with PhDs in veterinary physiotherapy from the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, and are currently the only veterinary physiotherapists in Finland with doctoral degrees. In 2020, Heli Hyytiäinen was awarded the title of docent in veterinary physiotherapy, a first in the world.
Heli is a docent in veterinary physiotherapy. She was originally trained as a human physiotherapist, after which she specialised in veterinary physiotherapy, completed a Master of Science degree and defended her doctoral thesis on the topic. At the moment, Heli is conducting research on topics related to the physiotherapy of sick animals, regardless of species and disease type. Heli heads the FaunaFysio research group. In addition to her research, Heli works as a clinical instructor at the Department of Equine and Small Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.
Anna Boström is a physiotherapist specialised in veterinary physiotherapy. She is responsible for the physiotherapy unit at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. She completed a Master of Science degree in 2012 and defended her doctoral thesis on canine back muscles in 2018. At the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Anna treats all animal patients regardless of species. Alongside clinical work, she is continuing her research in the FaunaFysio research group at the Department of Equine and Small Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. Anna is particularly interested in horses, neurological patients, prosthetic surgery and sports animals.
Milka Tauru is a physiotherapist specialised in veterinary physiotherapy who has trained at the University of Liverpool. Her interests include sports animals, physical training and support for animal welfare. She also has experience in human physiotherapy, particularly neurological rehabilitation. She treats all animals regardless of species. As an animal trainer, Milka has expertise in animal behaviour and training.
Kirsti is a physiotherapist specialised in veterinary physiotherapy. She is extremely experienced and provides care for all small animal patients at the Small Animal Hospital. Kirsti’s special expertise includes manipulative therapy, acupuncture and the identification together with veterinarians of the causes underlying unclear symptoms.
Noora Waltari is a physiotherapist specialised in veterinary physiotherapy. She has extensive work experience from human physiotherapy in a hospital setting. In addition, she has worked at a small animal clinic and, for several years, with sports dogs. Noora’s special skills include manual therapy, acupuncture and therapeutic training. She treats all small animals and has a special interest in the rehabilitation of sick and injured animals.