Opening Hours... Monday - Friday 8:30 am - 7:00 pm
Saturday 8:30 am - 1.00 pm, Sunday 9:00 am - 12.30 pm

Pet Rehab - Managing Pain For a Happier Pet

At Cedar Grove Veterinary Clinic we have always strived to provide excellent standards of care for all of your pets. This includes pain management and rehabilitation clinics.

How can we help you?

Our dedicated Pain management and Rehabilitation referral service is run by Dr Esther Skelly-Smith BVMedSci (Hons) BVM BVS PCAC MRCVS from Holistic Pet (NI) Ltd.

The clinics offer a dedicated pain management program which includes these therapies:

  • Medication management
  • Physiotherapy
  • Veterinary acupuncture
  • Veterinary chiropractic
  • Laser therapy
  • Rehabilitation

Pain relief and physiotherapy will enable your pet to return to full fitness after surgery, injury or illness. Our veterinary surgeons will develop a unique program of pain management medications and techniques specifically designed for your four legged friend. In some cases we may be able to reduce the level of prescribed medication because of the other therapies taking place.

If your pet has reduced mobility, we can provide a treatment regime to improve their strength, mobility and reduce their pain. This could be when they are recovering from surgery or suffering from arthritis, spinal disease, hip or elbow problems. Sporting dogs may benefit if underperforming.

Initial treatments are usually carried out once a week for 4 - 6 weeks. In addition you will be given a home program of exercise and physiotherapy to be carried out daily.

Read on to find out more about these clinics and the range of therapies.

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Physiotherapy is a manipulative form of therapy to help restore movement and function after injury or illness. This form of therapy can be used in conjunction with prescribed medication, laser therapy, or as a stand-alone treatment for your pets. Esther will advise you the best way forward.

Does my pet need physiotherapy?

If you have noticed any of the following changes in your pet’s behaviour, then physiotherapy may be beneficial:

  • Reduced activity (including reluctance to walk or play) and stiffness especially after waking.
  • Lameness.
  • Aggression, irritability or yelping when touched in certain points, indicating pain.
  • Excessively licking or over grooming specific joints.

What conditions in my pet will benefit from physiotherapy?

This manipulative therapy can benefit your pets in several ways such as:

  • Mobilisation after orthopaedic surgery.
  • Neurological conditions (such as trapped nerves).
  • Reducing pain and inflammation for muscle injury and swelling, improving blood circulation and promoting natural body healing.
  • Reducing pain and increasing joint fluid production in degenerative joint conditions.

Manipulative techniques may involve soft tissue stretching and massage with joint mobilisation techniques - just as in humans!

Veterinary Acupuncture

Acupuncture works for pain by ‘fooling’ the brain by stimulating the body to produce its own pain relieving endorphins. As such it is 'natural', but not mystical. It is therefore a good complementary therapy to pain relief medication and also works very well with other therapies such as physiotherapy. The needles used are very fine and high-quality steel and they do not cause pain, in fact inducing relaxation is a common effect on your pet.

By law, acupuncture can only be performed by a qualified veterinary surgeon who has undergone special training in the technique.

Veterinary Chiropractic Therapy

Chiropractic is a manual therapy that is used to prevent and treat a wide range of health and performance problems. The aim is to maintain or restore normal function of the spine and nervous system to optimise the health and well being of the patient.

Chiropractors locate and treat areas of the spine where the movement of adjacent vertebrae is restricted. They cause the horse to alter its way of moving and increase the biomechanical strain on other areas of the spine as well as the limbs. If left untreated, degenerative changes can occur and may result in stiffness, muscle tension and pain.

Traditional veterinary treatment is carried out after an injury has occurred. Chiropractic assessment can detect problems in the early stages before clinical signs such as swelling and/or lameness occur. Prompt treatment helps to prevent more serious injury by restoring normal movement to the affected joints.

Veterinary Laser Therapy

What is it?

Laser therapy is a complementary treatment which does not involve drugs or surgery and is pain free for your pets. By using specific wavelengths of light to create therapeutic effects, the treatment can be used to:

  • Relieve pain
  • Increase your pets range of motion
  • Increase circulation
  • Speed up wound healing
  • Reduce swelling

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What conditions can laser therapy help with for my pet?

Laser therapy may benefit your pet for many conditions including:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Joint pain
  • Ligament sprains and muscle strains
  • Postsurgical pain and post orthopaedic surgical recovery
  • Puncture and chronic wounds
  • Post traumatic injury

Laser therapy is often used with other forms of therapy including physical, chiropractic adjustments, massage, soft tissue mobilisation, electrotherapy and following surgery.

Please speak to us about pain management and rehabilitation clinics and how they can help your pet.

About Esther

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Esther graduated from the University of Nottingham Vet School and went on to work in the world-renowned Animal Health Trust in Newmarket, working closely with Dr Sue Dyson.  She is a published author of veterinary research and her work has been presented at an international congress.  Since her return to Northern Ireland she has worked as a vet while she was pursuing  further professional development in Veterinary Acupuncture and Veterinary Chiropractic. 

She is a professional member of the Association of British Veterinary Acupuncture, the Western Veterinary Acupuncture Group and is an internationally accredited veterinary chiropractic listed as a member of the International Veterinary Chiropractic Association and the Register of Animal Musculoskeletal practitioners.  She is also a Council Representative on the North of Ireland Veterinary Association (NIVA) and the Honorary Secretary of the Association of Veterinary Surgeons Practising in Northern Ireland (AVSPNI).


In her spare time Esther enjoys spending time on the family farm with her husband, twenty horses, flock of sheep and her working sheep dog Shep!

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