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Physical Therapy: It's For Pets, Too

(CBS) – Once pain or injury may have sidelined your pet for the rest of its life, but there are new alternatives.

CBS 2's Vince Gerasole reports physical therapy isn't just for humans anymore.

The sight seems odd at first: a dog in a glass-enclosed underwater treadmill. But it's helping Chewy bounce back from cancer and back surgery.

"He's going through chemo, but he can't go on walks. This lets him exercise without putting stress on his muscles," owner Amanda Santowski says.

For the family dog, she is willing to dedicate time and money to rehabilitation and physical therapy.

"It's available for people so it just makes sense," Santowski says.

At 14, Coach, a naturally energetic dog, injured his ACL. Now, he's undergoing acoustic compression therapy to relieve the pain.

"It's been a game-changer for him," says owner Laurie Hunken, who already employs other types of therapies for her pet.

Once considered strictly for humans, physical therapy is now a growing alternative for pets coping with ailments like arthritis or an amputated leg. The new rehabilitation center at Buffalo Grove's Veterinary Specialty Center is dedicated to the practice. For Dr. Lindsay Seilheimer, it's personal.

"That's how I came to love rehab, because my own dog is an orthopedic disaster," she says.

Penny got through an amputation and two leg surgeries with similar therapy. More dog owners are discovering the benefits.

These treatments are available for dogs and cats but aren't always covered by pet insurance. Individually, they cost about as much as a regular visit to the veterinarian; so, just as medicine is helping people live longer and more comfortable lives, it's a growing possibility for pets, too.

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