Electrical stimulation in pets

3 October 2018 – News

Electrical stimulation is an attractive option for veterinary physical therapy as it’s a cost-effective way to support recovery following injury or surgery.  It can be used to:

  • not only to control pain
  • improve the range of motion in damaged joints,
  • reduce oedema and wound healing time
  • increase muscle strength.

One of the most common modalities is neuromuscular electrical stimulation therapy (NMES).

NMES involves the stimulation of the motor nerve to produce muscle contraction using an electrical current transmitted via electrodes. Treatment duration varies but a general recommendation for acute conditions is 15-minute sessions, once to twice daily. Chronic conditions usually require higher intensity sessions and longer treatments – 30-minute sessions, 2 to 3 times a week for around 5 weeks.

NMES is contraindicated in animals with pacemakers and seizures. Furthermore, high-intensity stimuli should not be placed directly over the heart or the trunk during pregnancy. Extra care is required in areas that have limited sensation or where the skin is damaged.

In Levine, D., & Bockstahler, B. (2014). 20 – Electrical Stimulation; Canine Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy http://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-1-4377-0309-2.00020-X