MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Following an injury or surgery, going to physical therapy is now a standard recommendation for humans, but did you know the same principle applies to animals?
Prime Pet Rehabilitation Therapy offers customized exercises and progressive techniques that are redefining the ways pets are cared for. The owner, Dr. Tom Walsh, said he built and designed the center specifically for dogs.
“So, there’s nothing shiny here, there’s nothing bright, there’s nothing,” Walsh said. “We’ve got carpet on the floors. All of these things are textures and senses that make the dog feel comfortable, especially if they have mobility issues.”
Since our furry friends can’t verbally express where they are hurting, the first thing Dr. Walsh does is take thermal pictures to see where the inflammation is.
“The thing I teach in, in national conferences, is, we need to look at the whole dog,” Walsh said. “We don’t need to just look at a particular part of the injury.”
Gelato, a dog at the center, was doing strength, balance, and coordination exercises by navigating over obstacles that have different densities.
Walsh said exercises like Gelato was performing force each paw to communicate with the brain to push down differently.
“See the dogs do it so effortlessly,” Walsh said. “That we don’t realize that what they are actually doing is the equivalent of shifting his weight back here, to the hind legs, it’s the equivalent of me adding weight to a barbell. So really strengthening these lower back muscles, these hip muscles, all of that.”
Two dogs, Hoover and Jazzy are 14 and 15 years old and they have been coming to Walsh for two years for maintenance.
“So, when we apply anti-inflammatory through a cold laser, it then spreads throughout the body,” Walsh said. “I think it’s one of the reasons why I get the results that I’m getting with the animals.”
Some of the other services available to furry friends are massage therapy, electrical stimulation, and even athletic conditioning.
The benefits from each service vary depending on the needs of your pet, but each helps to properly heal your pet’s complicated system of muscles, bones, and joints.
Dr. Walsh shares why he wanted to open the rehabilitation center and his favorite part about it.
“Being able to take an animal that is hurting and restore its function and also help that animal understand that a total stranger is now helping them and they to see them and respond is the most rewarding thing in the world,” he said.
Dr. Walsh sees around 15 to 20 clients a day.
Terri Trainor, a client said when she first came to the rehabilitation center, her dog, Leo was not walking.
“He had injured his back and had surgery and then reinjured again,” Trainor said. “And he got Leo up moving, grooving, [and] he now is running with his brother. It’s just been so great, so great.”
Walsh said it’s very humbling to be trusted with owners’ babies because they are family members.
“I think is part it’s a resounding thing that all the owners talk about,” Walsh said. “They know that their animals are being taken care of here, and we work together as a staff to really make sure that happens.”
Exciting things are coming to Prime Pet Rehabilitation Therapy as they have started construction for an aqua therapy area that will feature an underwater treadmill. Walsh said the area should be up and running sometime early next year.
Prime Pet hosted its first patriotic pup 5K for service and working dogs on Saturday with all proceeds going to the Myrtle Beach Police Foundation K-9 unit.
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Savannah Denton joined News 13 in July 2023 as a reporter and producer. Savannah is from Atlanta, Georgia, and is a graduate of the University of Alabama. Follow Savannah on X, formerly Twitter, and read more of her work here.