Many physical therapy techniques for people are just as helpful for pets. For example, we learned the benefits of TENS electrical therapy for amputee pets when Wyatt Ray’s rehabilitation therapy team added it to his pain management program.
Please do NOT try a TENS unit on your Tripawd until you work with a professional rehabilitation therapist. The Tripawds Foundation’s Maggie Moo Rehabilitation Reimbursement Program will even pay for your first consultation.
Basic Facts About TENS Electrical Therapy for Amputee Pets
Wyatt Ray is not a young dog anymore. Eleven years on three legs has been tough on his body. His pain management program consists of physical therapy exercises, pain medications, heat and ice therapy, water therapy and TENS therapy.
When Wyatt gives us typical pet pain signals, which happens more often these days, we apply a TENS unit to his hind end. This is where his osteoarthritis pain is greatest. His back muscles are also very tense. TENS therapy helps with both kinds of pain.
The letters “TENS” stand for “Transuctaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation.” Physical therapists have used this tool on humans for many years. Today, it helps cats, dogs and horses too.
Here is an expert from Colorado Canine Orthopedics and Rehab explaining how TENS therapy works for animals:
How Does TENS Therapy Help Tripawds?
A TENS unit like Wyatt’s is a small battery powered device that sends out a gentle electrical current. The current provides pain relief for arthritis, muscle atrophy, tendon and muscle strains and other muscle and bone injuries.
When the TENS unit electrodes are strategically placed on the body and properly adjusted, they stimulate nerves and muscles. Some rehabilitation therapists shave the pet’s fur so the electrodes can make good contact. Wyatt Ray’s rehab team, however, told us as long as we used plenty of electrode contact gel and made sure the electrodes touch skin, we didn’t need to shave him.
The TENS unit has numerous settings for electrical strength and pulse frequency. TENS electrical therapy for Tripawd pet’s pain relief can differ from pain relief for a pet with another type of physical condition.
Pain is decreased when the electrodes gently create muscle contractions on tense muscle or muscle groups. Some types of pain needs more, some needs less electrical current. Work with a rehabilitation therapist to determine the safest TENS therapy settings and times for Tripawd pain relief.
All Pets Have Different TENS Therapy Needs
Timing for TENS therapy depends on the patient’s need. Wyatt’s TENS unit runs in 30 minute cycles. We generally leave it on about an hour, a couple times each week. It’s so safe that you can apply it to your Tripawd daily if necessary.
Wyatt’s rehabilitation therapist approved this TENS unit:
TENS electrical therapy for amputee pets and people is not meant to replace pain medication. Rather, it’s an additional tool for your amputee pet’s pain relief program.
Tripawd pain is different for every cat and dog. A trained therapist can determine the safest and most comfortable level of TENS stimulation for your painful pet so please don’t try one without consulting an expert.