Do Veterinarians recognize a Role for Physical Therapist in Small Animal Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation?

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Sue Ann S. Kalish, PT, DPT OCS
Courtney Charlesworth
Brittny Garrison
Brooke Terilli
Ashton Zambrowicz


The role of physical therapy and rehabilitation of an injured or aging small animal offers great potential. The increase in the use of domestic small animals, particularly canines, as companion animals, service animals and for athletic competition, advances in medical and surgical techniques in veterinary medicine and personal experiences participating in physical therapy appears to have created a desire from owners regarding the animal’s quality of life and quantity of years. There is little literature addressing small animal physical therapy rehabilitation and how such services might be accessed. We present an interview-based study to assess opinions of veterinarians to gauge whether they perceive a need for small animal physical therapy and rehabilitation. We further examine which health care professionals these veterinarians perceive are most qualified to render these rehabilitative services. Eight veterinarians from a rural, northeastern region of Georgia were interviewed. The results demonstrate that many veterinarians may not have received curriculum instruction in small animal physical therapy through veterinary school. Still, results reveal that veterinarians in this study support physical therapists playing a role in the rehabilitative treatment of small animals. This study further supports the need for interprofessional education and collaboration in the treatment of small animals and their physical therapy needs.



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How to Cite
Kalish, S. A., Charlesworth, C., Garrison, B., Terilli, B., & Zambrowicz, A. (2018). Do Veterinarians recognize a Role for Physical Therapist in. International Journal for Innovation Education and Research, 6(1), 74-84. Retrieved from
Author Biographies

Sue Ann S. Kalish, PT, DPT OCS, University of North Georgia

Professor, Department of physical therapy

Courtney Charlesworth, University of North Georgia

Graduate student, Department of physical therapy

Brittny Garrison, University of North Georgia

Graduate student, the Department of Physical Therapy

Brooke Terilli, University of North Georgia

Graduate student, Department of Physical Therapy

Ashton Zambrowicz, University of North Georgia

Graduate student, Department of Physical Therapy


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