Comprehensive Care + 24 Hour Emergency

Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation

Canine, Feline
A dog holds a ball in its mouth while walking in an underwater treadmill.

The Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Service specializes in diagnostics and non-surgical management of canine lameness, injury prevention, conditioning, rehabilitation, and pain management. We help a wide spectrum of patients with various levels of mobility issues ranging from performance lameness of canine athletes to rehabilitation and pain management of osteoarthritis in older dogs and cats. Furthermore, we work closely with Cornell’s Orthopedic Surgery and Neurology Services as needed to improve function, reduce pain, and accelerate recovery from various injuries and diseases including catered post-operative rehabilitation programs. Services are provided in a newly renovated state-of-the-art facility within the Cornell Companion Animal Hospital.

The team includes 3 faculty members, two board certified Diplomats of the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation (DACVSMR) and one Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner (CCRP).  All faculty are experienced and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturists (CVA).  Our licensed veterinary technicians (LVT) have advanced training and certification as animal rehabilitation practitioners (CERP and CCRP).

Meet Our Specialists

Services Provided:

Musculoskeletal diagnostic imaging

  • Ultrasound
  • MRI
  • CT
  • X-ray
A veterinarian and technician perform an ultrasound of a dogs shoulder.

Kinetic gait analysis walkway and force plate

  • Establish athletic baseline
  • Identify subtle lameness
  • Monitor lameness and response to treatment
Sports medicine and rehabilitation facilities
Rehabilitation Center

Regenerative medicine

  • Stem Cell Therapy
  • Platelet-rich Plasma

Interventional pain management

  • Guided musculoskeletal injection therapies
  • Acupuncture
  • Novel therapies
Two clinicians use a physioball to provide physical therapy for a dog.
Outpatient Exercise Therapy

Therapeutic modalities

  • Extracorporeal shockwave (no sedation required)
  • Therapeutic laser
  • Transcutaneous electrical stimulation (TENS)
  • Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES)
  • Therapeutic ultrasound

Rehabilitation (post-surgical and non-surgical conditions)

  • Hydrotherapy - Underwater treadmill
  • Hospitalized patient therapy
  • Out-patient exercise therapy
  • Boarding care for rehabilitation and conditioning
  • Catered home exercise plans
  • Orthotics (braces), Prosthetics, and Carting for animals
  • Canine Athlete: baseline evaluations, conditioning, and nutrition plans
  • Weight management and joint supplementation
A dog jumps over a hurdle at an agility event.
Canine Athlete

Specialized Equipment:

  • State-of-the-art Rehabilitation Center
  • Underwater Treadmill
  • 2 Land Treadmills
  • Gait Analysis Lab
  • Regenerative Medicine Lab
  • Piezoelectric Extracorporeal Shockwave (no sedation required)
  • Therapeutic Laser
  • Electrical Stimulation (TENS, NMES)
  • Acupuncture and Electro-acupuncture
  • Therapeutic Ultrasound
  • Cryocompression (Game Ready - icing and compression unit)
  • Cart Rentals and other assistive devices (harnesses, booties, therabands, splinting)
Under water Therapy
Hydrotherapy – Underwater Treadmill

What to Expect During Your Appointment

Your scheduled visit to the Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Service at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals begins with check in at the reception desk. Preferably if any diagnostic imaging is necessary it is a good idea to not feed your dog or cat in the morning before the appointment in the event that sedation is needed for imaging.  Following a small amount of paperwork, you will be greeted in the waiting room by our resident or technician and brought to a private examination room.

A dog gives a veterinary technician a high five. Your pet's history and a physical examination will be perform by either a student or technician and further assessment of the cursory physical exam by  resident or faculty member will occur before a full orthopedic and soft tissue examination of your dog happens from the resident or faculty member.  We may recommend further testing, and will discuss with you potential diagnosis, next steps, cost and logistics.

Often, you will be asked to leave your pet in our care for the day so that we can begin appropriate testing, which can include blood tests or diagnostic imaging.   Given our busy schedule and consultations with other specialists regarding your pet's care, you may be asked to return to discuss our findings later in the day.

Depending on the outcome of the appointment we will discuss many therapeutic options and will help you choose the best course of treatment for you and your companion.

Medical Conditions

Treatment specialization revolves around an integrative approach to treating a variety of disorders pre A chesapeak retriever performing field trial work.
and post surgically including elbow dysplasia, cruciate ligament tears, intervertebral disc disease, calcaneon tendon rupture, intervertebral disc disease, degenerative myelopathy, other neurological impairments, hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis, sporting injuries of joints, tendons and muscle including iliopsoas strain.

A dog is walked over elevated poles.

Related Information

American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation
The American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation advances the art and science of veterinary medicine by promoting expertise in the structural, physiological, medical and surgical needs of athletic animals and the restoration of normal form and function after injury or illness.

American Association of Rehabilitation Veterinarians
The American Association of Rehabilitation Veterinarians (AARV) is a national association of veterinarians and veterinary technicians dedicated to improving the quality of life in animals through physical medicine and rehabilitation.

Cornell University Hospital for Animals Companion Animal Nutrition Service
The Cornell University Hospital for Animals is among a small number of animal hospitals across the nation that offers comprehensive nutrition services provided by boarded specialists in the area of veterinary nutrition for hospital and clinic patients, as well as nutrition consultations for animal owners across the country.