8. Therapeutic Exercise

  1. M. Christine Zink DVM, PhD, Dipl ACVP and
  2. Janet B. Van Dyke DVM
  1. Laurie McCauley DVM, CCRT, CVA, CVC and
  2. Janet B. Van Dyke DVM

Published Online: 28 JUN 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118783443.ch8

Canine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation

Canine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation

How to Cite

Zink, M. C. and Van Dyke, J. B. (2013) Therapeutic Exercise, in Canine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., West Sussex, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118783443.ch8

Author Information

  1. Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, CCRT

Publication History

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

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780813812168

Online ISBN: 9781118783443



  • canine patient;
  • canine patient;
  • home exercise program (HEP);
  • therapeutic exercise;
  • therapist body mechanics


Therapeutic exercise programs address proprioception, balance, muscle strengthening, endurance, and gait retraining. Therapeutic exercise programs contain five variables: frequency, intensity, duration, environment, and impact. The owner/handler must be well educated on the exercise program, especially the home exercise program (HEP). Therapeutic exercise equipment includes physioballs, cavaletti rails, balance blocks and discs, weights, tunnels, rocker boards, wobble boards, and treadmills. This chapter introduces the concepts of therapeutic exercise as applied to the injured patient, as well as to the canine athlete needing to refine fitness. It begins by reviewing human therapeutic exercise research, progresses to application of these techniques to the canine patient, and finally describes techniques that have provided patients with successful return to independence, competition, and work. In addition to improving general conditioning for any patient, therapeutic exercise provides the often-overlooked potential benefit of strengthening the human–animal bond.