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Therapeutic Ultrasound

How it works?

Therapeutic ultrasound uses sound energy at frequencies greater than 20,000Hz, this affects tissues through the non-thermal and thermal mechanisms. Sound waves are mechanical pressure waves which move through the tissues and the energy is converted into kinetic energy, causing a vibrations of molecules and neighbouring molecules. as well as cavitation and microstreaming, these both modify cellular function and cell membrane permeability, thus assisting with tissue repair and swelling reduction (Zink & Dyke, 2016).

The EMS primo Therasonic 460, is used at JR Veterinary Physiotherapy.

Effects of therapeutic ultrasound:

  • Increase blood flow

  • Increase metabolic rate

  • Increase collagen extensibility ​

  • Enhances tissue repair 

  • Reduces swelling 

  • Pain reduction 

  • Penetration depth up to 5-6cm

Uses in Veterinary Physiotherapy:

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Tendon/Ligament injuries 

  • Fibrotic Tissue

  • Scar tissue 

  • Fascial Adhesions 

  • Muscle injuries 


Photobiomodulation / low level laser therapy 

How it works? 

  • Light strikes the tissues and is absorbed by the chromophores and metabolizes the light energy 

  • Enhancing mitochondrial function responsible for ATP production, this will lead to more ATP and oxidative stress is reduced (tissue fatigue), the increased energy excites the cell and helps the healing process. 

  • Increase in enzyme activity

  • Activation of enzyme cytochrome C oxidase - this catalyses the transfer of electrons to molecular oxygen which is needed for the tissues to repair and reduce tension.

  • Tertiary effects include activation of a wide range of transcription factors leading to improved cell survival, increased proliferation and migration, and new protein synthesis

  • Stressed cells produce too much nitric oxide to bind to the cytochrome c oxidase - this reduces the production of ATP - so using photobiomodulation will increase the ATP and release the nitric oxide by vasodilation (reduce oxidative stress).

  • Could involve both pro-inflammatory effects and anti-inflammatory effects.

JR Veterinary Physiotherapy also offers red light/blue light and infrared therapy: 

Blue laser therapy is designed specifically for infected wounds,

providing antibacterial effects. 

Uses in Veterinary Physiotherapy:

  • Superficial vascular issues 

  • Open wounds 

  • Muscle 

  • Nerve regeneration 

  • Tendon sheath 

  • Acupuncture points 

  • Tendon and ligament injuries 

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Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)

How it works? 

TENS, the electrostimulation most used for pain relief, stimulate the sensory nerve rather than the motor nerves. this is believed to reduce pain through the gate theory of pain inhibition, activation of endogenous opioids and pro-inflammatory cytokines. This is used for patients in pain  or patient that are not able to tolerate pain medications.

Uses in Veterinary Physiotherapy:

  • Chronic pain 

  • Acute pain 

  • Orthopaedic pain

  • Myofascial pain

  • Regional pain syndrome


Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF)


How it works? 

The Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy (PEMF) matt often between 0-200Hz (Tommerdahl 2019), this matt offers animals a non-invasive, non-thermal treatment and promotion of healing for animals with minimal effort of being placed on to a matt, for a few minutes or up to 60 minutes. This will hugely benefit us for our smaller animals and exotic animals that are dangerous or difficult to handle, enabling treatment of a huge variety of species for rehabilitation. The matt has 4 coils that create a magnetic field, and a battery or electricity is used to pulse through the matt, creating an electromagnetic field. This electromagnetic field initiates biological cellular responses (ARF, 2021). The biological and cellular mechanisms through which PEMF work, by increasing the amount of ca2+ with exposure to the PEMF, increasing the binding of ca2+ and CaM (calmodulin) relating to metabolism, inflammation, apoptosis, and vascular tone. Also, treatment is shown to decrease the amount of nitric oxide, therefore reducing inflammation and increasing vasodilation.

Uses in Veterinary Physiotherapy:

  • Union/non-union fractures

  • Edema 

  • Osteoarthritis 

  • Wound healing 

  • Deeper tissue healing comparing to other modalities 

  • Hip dysplasia / elbow dysplasia

  • SI pain 

  • lumbar sacral injuries 

  • Recovery from orthopaedic surgery 

  • Vertebral disease 

  • Inflammation 

  • Pain 


Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES)

How it works? 

NMES, is primarily used to address muscular weakness, that can be associated with orthopaedic or neurological conditions, causes muscular contractions by depolarization of the motor nerve with an electrical current delivered by electrodes placed on the skin

Uses in Veterinary Physiotherapy:

  • Reduce pain 

  • Increase muscle activation 

  • Better kinematics 

  • Increased muscle strength 

  • Improved joint mechanics 

  • Reducing joint stress 

  • Rehabilitation of neurological and orthopaedic conditions 

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