PETS are unable to tell us when they are in pain – which is where veterinarian Fran Pagnacco comes in.
Dr Pagnacco recently opened Vogue Vets & Wellness Centre in Stirling, Perth’s first purpose-built rehabilitation and pain management clinic for animals.
“Animal rehab is a relatively new area of therapy for animals in WA, although it has been popular in the UK and US for decades,” she said.
“Therapies such as physio, hydrotherapy, laser, and strengthening and balancing exercises can make an enormous difference to achieving successful outcomes in animals with nerve weakness and paralysis, as well as mobility issues related to arthritis and joint injuries such as cruciate injuries.”
The centre provides all the usual vet services but has a separate space for “wellness” with an underwater treadmill and animal gym. Dr Pagnacco recruited one of WA’s two fully qualified animal physiotherapists, Lucy Engelmann, who trained as a vet nurse before honing in on physiotherapy in the UK.
“It’s helping them in ways people couldn’t before,” Ms Engelmann said.
“I love the oldies and I loved them so much I wanted to find a way of helping them.”
Labrador Negra is one of those “oldies” and her owner said the hydrotherapy treadmill had helped the 13-year-old blind and nearly deaf dog immensely.
Though they have not had a cat brave the treadmill yet, Dr Lucy said physiotherapy was beneficial for felines as they were “very good at hiding pain”.
Other services available at the centre include acupuncture and electromagnetic therapy, with treatment plans designed to alleviate pain and improve mobility in animals suffering from an illness, injury, recovering from surgery or in need of fitness training or weight management.