18. Rehabilitation for Geriatric Patients

  1. M. Christine Zink DVM, PhD, Dipl ACVP and
  2. Janet B. Van Dyke DVM
  1. Lisa Starr DVM, CCRP, CVA, CVSMT

Published Online: 28 JUN 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118783443.ch18

Canine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation

Canine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation

How to Cite

Zink, M. C. and Van Dyke, J. B. (2013) Rehabilitation for Geriatric Patients, in Canine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., West Sussex, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118783443.ch18

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 28 JUN 2013
  2. Published Print: 11 APR 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780813812168

Online ISBN: 9781118783443



  • canine rehabilitation;
  • geriatric patients;
  • metabolic changes;
  • musculoskeletal changes;
  • neurologic changes;
  • physiologic changes


Gerontology is the study of aging. As veterinary patients age, they experience senescence or decreased function and degeneration of their organ systems. These changes lead to clinical issues such as decreased proprioception and muscle atrophy. Common medical issues encountered in geriatric patients include obesity, neoplasia, degenerative joint disease (DJD), and loss of sensory acuity. A comprehensive medical evaluation is an important component of providing an accurate prognosis for geriatric patients regarding expected progression of their physical limitations and how they will respond to physical rehabilitation. In addition to a thorough medical evaluation, a nutritional assessment and evaluation of the patient's pain level are important in guiding therapy. Physical rehabilitation for the geriatric patient entails addressing pain management, improving mobility and proprioception, and addressing medical and nursing care issues. Creating a geriatric wellness program may be beneficial in the physical rehabilitation environment.