Integrating traditional and alternative medicine for a holistic approach to pet health.

Strong Strides

Veterinary Rehabilitation & Acupuncture

Offering mobile acupuncture and physical rehabilitation to pets in Marion County and The Villages, Florida. Serving pets with mobility concerns as well as canine athletes; integrating traditional and alternative medicine for a holistic approach to pet health.

Rehabilitation Services

Therapeutic laser, joint mobilizations, massage, medical manipulation, and therapeutic exercises

Mobility Solutions

Custom brace fitting, cart/wheelchair recommendations and measurements, home modfication assessments

Acupuncture Services

Dry needle, electro-acupuncture, and laser acupuncture

Services in depth


What is physical rehabilitation?
What is physical rehabilitation?
Physical rehabilitation is he action of restoring a pet to health or normal life through training and therapy after an injury. Physical rehabilitation is increasingly being used in animals to help restore function, mobility, and quality of life.

Physical rehabilitation is done through a number of modalities including: therapeutic exercises, laser therapy, massage and other manual therapies, NMES/TENS, therapeutic ultrasound, treadmill or aquatic therapy.

How can physical rehabilitation help my pet?
The benefits of physical rehabilitation include:
• Reduced pain and inflammation
• Increased range of motion
• Improved balance and strength
• Weight loss and/or improved muscle mass
• Improved quality of life
What qualifications should I look for when seeking rehabilitation services for my pet?
It is important to seek services from a veterinarian that has completed certification specifically in physical rehabilitation, or if they are not certified themselves, has a certified technician or physical therapist working with them.

There are currently 4 programs available for certification – University of Tennessee (CCRP), Canine Rehabilitation Institute (CCRT), Chi University (CCRV) and NC State (CCAT). Each of these programs offers comprehensive training in the area of physical rehabilitation to veterinarians (and in some cases veterinary technicians and human physical therapists). To complete the certification, there are multiple learning modules, hands-on labs, case reports, and a final certification exam and practicum, ensuring the graduates have full understand of the course work.

What do I need in order for my pet to receive physical rehab services?
It is very important to know what underlying condition we are treating. We will request your pet’s full veterinary record for review, and any radio-graphs (x-rays) that have been taken. After the initial evaluation, more diagnostics may be discussed and requested if there is concern for lack of a true diagnosis. A successful program requires knowing the extent of injury or disease so that the best plan can be put into place for your pet.


What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture has been practiced in China for thousands of years to treat many ailments in humans and animals. Acupuncture is the insertion of needles into specific points on the body to produce a healing response. Each acupuncture point has unique actions.
What conditions can be treated with acupuncture?
Acupuncture can be used to treat a wide variety of conditions. It is mostly used to musculoskeletal conditions or neurologic disorders, but it can also be beneficial for chronic skin allergies, GI disease and respiratory conditions when combined with herbal medication, food therapy. Acupuncture can safely be combined with conventional Western medicines.
How does acupuncture work?
Recent studies have been done to indicate how acupuncture works. Stimulation of acupuncture points result in specific changes in the central nervous system. By using specific MRI technology, it has been shown that acupuncture points with pain relieving properties associate with them tend to activate specific pain-association brain stem regions. Although many of the effects of acupuncture have been studied, more are still unknown. Further research must be conducted.
Does acupuncture hurt?
For most animals, insertion of the needles is essentially painless. Sometimes, there is a reaction when the needle is place, but once the needles are in place, the pet should be comfortable and settle. Human acupuncture patients have reported tingles, cramps, or numbness which could be uncomfortable to your pet. We monitor the patient closely for discomfort and remove needles if necessary.
Is acupuncture safe?
Acupuncture is an incredibly safe treatment for animals when it is administered by a veterinarian with proper training. Side effects of acupuncture are rare, but sometimes a animal’s condition may seem worse or they may appear lethargic for up to 48 hours after a treatment. These effects are typically followed by an improvement in the pet’s condition. It is always important to contact the practitioner if you are concerned about your pet.
How long will it take for my pet to benefit?
For some patients and conditions, benefits can be seen after 1 treatment, but improvement and the time to achieve improvement depends on the condition being treated and the number and frequency of acupuncture treatments. The method used can also affect the treatment period needed.

Medical Manipulation

What is veterinary medical manipulation?
VMM uses a HVLA (high-velocity, low-amplitude) thrust to directly affect the joint and the mechanoreceptors around the joint. Areas of concern (manipulable lesions) are found by specific motion palpation, assessing for altered alignment or function of a joint. This technique relives joint restrictions that affect mobility.
What is the difference between chiropractic adjustments and medical manipulation?
Under the law, the term chiropractic applies specifically to humans. When similar techniques are applied to animals, it is correctly called spinal manipulation or medical manipulation.
What patients can benefit from medical manipulation?
• Pets affected by osteoarthritis
• Pets recovering from a musculoskeletal injury
• Sporting/Agility dogs to ensure proper alignment and condition
• Working Dogs
• Healthy pets to ensure they stay mobile!
Are there contraindications for veterinary medical manipulation?
While most patients and areas can be safely manipulated, one would avoid manipulation of a fractured area or a severely inflamed/painful intervertebral disk. We also need to use caution in areas with severe arthritis or hypermobility. A thorough exam, history, and motion palpation guides us on how to best proceed.


There are many options to improve the mobility of your pet!
When making a plan for better mobility, we want to consider the following:
• Modification of the Home Environment
• Use of assistive devices (braces, wheelchairs, etc.) when appropriate
• Enrichment Options for Pets with Mobility Challenges
• Recommendations to Make Home Care Easier for You

One of the biggest concerns from pet owners when their pet loses mobility is how to adjust to the change. Also, the amount of assistive device products marketed now can be extremely overwhelming. Having an in-home consult to discuss modifications, products, and types of enrichment activities takes the stress and research out of your hands. Fitting a pet for a custom brace or wheelchair can also be daunting, and having precise measurements is important to ensure braces and wheelchair straps don’t rub, and that the device does what it is intended to – help!

Let Strong Strides take the pressure off these decisions and fittings.

The Strong Strides Philosophy

My goal is to work as a team with families to improve comfort and quality of life for the pet, and support the client through this process. I take a “whole pet” approach, and counsel clients on what is going to work best for their pet as well as their lifestyle.

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