If you don’t use it you lose it!

Whether treating conservatively or surgically, rehabilitation has proven to be paramount in a dachshund’s rehabilitation and future wellbeing following an IVDD event.

We cannot emphasise enough the importance after surgery that you discuss with your vet specialist an immediate referral to a rehabilitation facility.  The sooner the better normally recommended within a week after discharge as it is important that you are shown how to do the gentle exercises required to ensure you are doing the physio correctly so that muscle wastage is kept to a minimum during the crate rest period.  Once you are shown this you can then assist your dog at home during the healing process without losing too much strength.

Please note that each specialist centre has different time frames that they keep your dachshund in hospital for.  Some are discharged after 24hrs whereas some keep the dogs in for anything up to 2 weeks.  It really also depends on how severely affected your dog was and whether their post-operative management can be managed at home sufficiently.   Some vet practices also believe that your dachshund will heal and recover better in their own relaxed home environment.  So it all varies for each individual dog but the most important thing is that an aftercare rehabilitation plan is put in place on discharge and a referral as necessary is made.

Some dachshunds after surgery do very well and some do get up albeit gingerly within the first 24hrs and others do take a little longer.  If your dachshund is one of the lucky ones and your dog is walking the following day this does not mean you simply go home and resume a normal life.   It is all about living the ‘new normal’.

There is a lot of healing to be done internally and it does take time and patience, even for the hound who us up and walking immediately following surgery, slowly does it, it’s not a race!

When treating your dog conservatively it is crucial to first discuss your dog’s rehabilitation plan with your vet/specialist or a qualified therapist. as each dog and is different, and so is each herniation,  You and your practitioner are responsible for your dog’s treatment.  In the early stages of conservative treatment, passive modalities are recommended so as to avoid further damage while the affected discs are allowed to heal.

Please understand that conservative treatment of IVDD is quite straight forward commonsense stuff and not complicated at all; the most difficult aspect for the human owners is finding patience.  

Many different passive modalities can be employed when rehabilitating a dog undergoing conservative management of IVDD.   Possible options might include – laser, therapy, gentle massage, acupuncture, range of motion exercises and stretches, muscle stimulation, hydrotherapy.


  • Electric toothbrush (used for massaging feet, legs and other parts of the body (as per professional advice) to stimulate nerve endings)
  • Yoga mats can be used in several ways – standing your dog up on a mat while doing stretching and massage prevents slipping, rolled up and slipped underneath your dog’s stomach holds them up for balance and when your dog becomes more mobile Yoga mats lined up in a row are great for proprioception exercises.  eg:: stepping over items like broom handles, garden hose etc.
  • Life jacket for swimming, great for strengthening the core.
  • Dog boots, Pawz dog boots or baby socks (encourages the dog to start feeling their feet and place them correctly.  DISA sells Pawz dog boots on their Shop.
  • Human hands and fingers – great for a gentle massage, tickling and stimulation.

Sling walking by Hamish


Airlift Harness

Available on DISA Shop

Sling walking (using a pair of tights)

Sling made from pantyhose/tights




What Every Pet Owner Needs to Know When Choosing Rehabilitation Services for Your Dog!

“With popular Canine Rehabilitation now being integrated into mainstream veterinary services, its time we laid out a few facts about this unique therapy so you don’t risk placing your dog’s health in the wrong hands.

If you book a consultation with a human Doctor or Physiotherapist, you automatically assume they are qualified so of course you wouldn’t ask to see their credentials because you don’t need to. In the human world, the title of Doctor or Physiotherapist, Chiropractor or Podiatrist etc is strictly controlled by individual governing bodies so it’s hard to claim you’re something you’re not.

Unfortunately, this is not the case when applied in the animal health field where we see an abundance of “therapists” of all different kinds – not all of whom are qualified in their “claimed” area of expertise.

One such modality which is beginning to fall victim to this lack of regulation is Canine Rehabilitation. Every day we see evidence of more people (including veterinarians) using this term to attract people like you to their business because they can.

The goal of this post is to enlighten you about this particular area of expertise – hopefully to help you make the right treatment decisions for your pet.

Don’t assume your therapist is qualified in Rehabilitation. Canine Rehabilitation is a separate and unique modality of study governed by its own strict certification criteria. This means anyone offering Canine Rehabilitation Services must be able to provide proof of certification and can legally use the letters CCRT after their name.

Only a vet with the required training in Animal Rehabilitation can provide whole body care, prescribe needed medications and perform a diagnostic evaluation prior to designing a rehabilitation treatment plan.

We recommend you ask to see evidence of their qualifications before consenting to treatment.
A Human Doctor or Physiotherapist or Chiropractor is no more qualified to treat your pet than vets are qualified to treat humans – period.

Animals are NOT people and no one should be manipulating, massaging or adjusting without proven knowledge of the underlying anatomy and physiology of their patient. Exceptions to this only apply when a practitioner is qualified across BOTH fields as in the case of a person holding the title of Animal Physiotherapist.

An Animal Physiotherapist has qualified in Human Physiotherapy first and has gone on to complete a Masters Level Degree in Animal Physiotherapy, a total of 8 years of combined study. They are registered members of the Australian Physiotherapy Association which entitles them (and no other) to use the term Physiotherapy in their communications.

So, steer clear of the practitioner who has done a six week course in “natural therapies” and calls themselves an animal physiotherapist or rehabilitation therapist. You don’t want someone who is less qualified than your hairdresser to be manipulating your pet.

An Underwater Treadmill (Hydrotherapy Unit) Doesn’t Certify Anyone in Canine Rehabilitation. An underwater Treadmill is great for SEO and drawing a crowd but it’s only part of many tools used in an individualised Canine Rehabilitation Program. Other modalities commonly applied in a rehabilitation program include: Acupuncture – Laser Therapy – EMS – Massage Therapy and therapeutic exercises using specific techniques and equipment. In addition – any such equipment used incorrectly or without proper diagnosis by a qualified therapist can do more harm than good.”

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