Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapy and Sports Medicine

The Canine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Center at Bigger Road Veterinary Center has expertise in the medical needs of active and athletic animals and the restoration of normal function after injury or illness.

Our team has extensive training in multiple diagnostic tools and treatments, including sports medicine assessments, rehabilitation therapy, musculoskeletal ultrasound, regenerative medicine, and complimentary therapies including acupuncture and herbal medicine.

Initially your pet will participate in an evaluation to provide an overall assessment and provide recommendations for diagnostics as needed and an appropriate treatment plan.  For more information, please call (937) 514-7702.

Sports Medicine Specialist

Sports Medicine Assessments are performed by Dr. Britt Carr Benson, who has a comprehensive understanding of the activities performed by and injuries occurring in both working and performance dogs. She has dedicated her career to diagnosing and treating working and performance injuries to ultimately return canine athletes back to full performance.

Dr. Carr Benson has extensive training in multiple diagnostic tools and treatments, including musculoskeletal ultrasound and regenerative medicine.  Following diagnosis and treatment, she often combines a customized rehabilitation therapy program with a retraining and conditioning program, to help her patients achieve a full recovery as well as to prevent re-injury or a compensatory injury.

Initially your canine athlete will participate in a sports medicine evaluation to provide an overall assessment and identify any abnormalities. Additional diagnostics will be recommended as needed.  Once a diagnosis has been made, a treatment plan can then be recommended.  For canine athletes looking for a baseline evaluation, we also offer an Annual Preseason Sports Medicine Evaluation. 

Dr. Carr Benson is a sports medicine specialist, with extensive experience diagnosing, treating, and rehabilitating performance dogs. Her goal is to provide you with treatment options that will allow your canine athlete to return to full function.

Make sure your athlete is competition ready

It is important to have a baseline evaluation to determine that your canine athlete is competition ready to and to diagnose any early signs of injury. Dr. Britt Carr Benson is specialized in canine sports medicine and can help evaluate your canine athlete for peak performance!

The assessment includes:

  • Gait Analysis
  • Range of motion (ROM) Measurements
  • Muscle Mass Analysis
  • Orthopedic and neurological evaluation
  • Structure Specific Palpation
  • Radiographs of the stifles, pelvis, shoulders, and elbows
  • Diagnostic Musculoskeletal Ultrasound of the shoulders
  • Recommendations for a conditioning program

Diagnose and treat soft tissue injuries

Diagnostic musculoskeletal ultrasound in small animals is becoming a valuable and essential tool for diagnosing and treating soft tissue injuries in the world of canine sports medicine and rehabilitation.

Musculoskeletal ultrasound can distinguish between disruption of tendons/ligaments, muscle lesions, older injuries with scar tissue or calcification, bursitis and tenosynovitis.

Regenerative medicine therapies, such as stem cell therapy and platelet-rich plasma, as well as other complimentary therapies can be delivered directly to the site of injury via ultrasound-guided injection.

Advantages To Using Musculoskeletal Ultrasound

  • Can be performed without anesthesia in many cases
  • Allows for visualization of the tissues during movement
  • Lower cost than MRI or CT

Commonly Evaluated Areas

  • Shoulder
  • Iliopsoas (groin)
  • Stifle (knee)
  • Achilles Tendon
  • Flexor Carpi Ulnaris (wrist)

Dr. Britt Carr Benson is a highly-trained ultrasonographer, and one of a few in the nation to excel in musculoskeletal ultrasound.

Tailored to each patient

Pain Management has become increasingly important in older patients with osteoarthritis and/or other orthopedic and neurological conditions.  We offer a number of therapies to effectively target pain with a multimodal approach that is tailored to each individual patient.

Therapies offered include:

Certified in animal rehabilitation

Rehabilitation Therapy has become an integral part of treating and managing numerous conditions in animals.  The most common indications for Rehabilitation Therapy include orthopedic injury (joint and soft tissue), neurological conditions, osteoarthritis, post surgical, performance issues, and weight reduction.  The goal of rehabilitation therapy is to achieve the highest level of function and quality of life possible for the patient.

The Rehabilitation Therapy Team at Bigger Road Veterinary Clinic is certified in animal rehabilitation and will work closely with your pet's primary care and specialty veterinarians. They will design a treatment program that is specifically tailored to meet your pet's needs. This multimodal approach provides greater opportunity for a successful outcome.

Commonly Used Rehabilitation Therapy Modalities:

  • Manual and Massage Therapy are performed in a relaxing environment using various gentle techniques to improve range of motion, promote healing, decrease swelling, increase flexibility, prevent/reduce adhesions, and reduce pain.
  • Laser Therapy uses light energy to improve circulation, reduce pain, and accelerate and improve healing of soft tissue and bone.
  • Therapeutic Ultrasound uses sound waves to accelerate healing, aid in tissue regeneration, reduce swelling, reduce muscle spasm, improve range of motion, and reduce pain.
  • Underwater Treadmill improves both strength and cardiovascular fitness by using the resistance of the water to strengthen tissues and improve sensory awareness and the buoyance of the water to decrease the load on the joints to facilitate a comfortable workout experience.
  • Therapeutic Exercise is an essential component of most rehabilitation therapy plans and tailored specifically to each patient.  Therapeutic exercise programs are used to help improve strength, range of motion, balance, comfort, and function.
  • Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) uses a gentle electrical current to stimulate local tissues to facilitate use of a muscle to prevent disuse muscle atrophy and improve function.
  • Transcutaneous Electrical Neuromuscular Stimulation (TENS) uses a gentle electrical current to decrease pain and inflammation in joints and tissues.
  • Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy (PEMF) is used to stimulate healing in soft tissues and bone and also has been reported to help reduce anxiety.

For osteoarthritis and soft tissue injury

Regenerative medicine therapy has become increasingly common in both humans and animals and has been used to treat osteoarthritis and soft tissue injury.  Osteoarthritis and soft tissue injuries are common causes of discomfort in the canine. According to a recent study, approximately 20% of middle-aged dogs and up to 90% of older aged dogs are affected by osteoarthritis. Multiple regenerative medicine therapies have become available recently to help manage OA and either compliment or replace traditional medical therapies.

Platelet-Rich Plasma

Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is an autogenous fluid concentrate composed primarily of platelets and growth factors.  PRP is made by obtaining a small sample of the patient’s blood and either filtrating or centrifuging the sample to concentrate the platelets in the final sample.  Platelets release growth factors, cytokines, chemokines, and other bioactive compounds which support healing. Multiple studies have shown PRP to be efficacious in managing both osteoarthritis and soft tissue injuries.

Stem Cell Therapy

Almost all veterinary research has focused on adult stem cells derived from bone marrow or adipose (fat) tissue. To date, no evidence supports superiority of one over the other in terms of viability or efficacy of the derived stem cells. Once the sample is obtained, it is either processing in hospital or shipped to a university or private company for processing, culturing, and banking for future use. Stem cell therapy is administered directly into the affected joint or soft tissue lesion under ultrasound guidance. Both stem cell collection and administration are performed under light anesthesia.

Stem Cell and PRP Combination Therapy

Stem cell and PRP therapy are often combined as when used together they have been shown to have a synergistic effect. PRP provides growth factors to enhance stem cell activation and survival and also provides a scaffold for the MSCs to attach to. Thus, stem cell and PRP therapy are commonly used together.

Rehabilitation Therapy following Regenerative Medicine Therapy:

A rehabilitation therapy program is recommended for 12 weeks after regenerative medicine therapy. Rehabilitation therapy should be performed weekly in conjunction with a twice-daily home exercise program. Rehabilitation therapy helps to speed healing by decreasing inflammation and swelling, building muscle mass, increasing range of motion, and improving overall comfort. Once the tissue has healed, the rehabilitation program then focuses on strengthening and conditioning. After appropriate muscle mass and condition has been achieved, dogs are cleared for retraining and return to sport. Depending on the type and severity of the initial injury, patients treated with regenerative medicine therapy typically return to competition or normal activity within 6 to 12 months of treatment.

Wraps, braces, splints and more

Orthopedic Devices have become integral components of treatment plans for numerous orthopedic injuries and neurological conditions.  There are multiple types and options for veterinary patients.  We work closely with certified orthotists and prosthetists to ensure our patients have the correct orthopedic device that fits well and enables them to achieve their highest musculoskeletal potential and function.

Dr. Britt Carr Benson has years of experience in prescribing and fitting orthopedic devices for patients and has been on the forefront of research being conducted on various orthopedic devices.