How Rehabilitation Improves Quality of Life for Patients

Sheila is a Veterinary Technician who specializes in animal Rehabilitation, who was inspired when she had to get care for her own dogs. “I was a dance teacher for more than twenty-five years and had a couple of Dalmations of my own,” said Sheila. “As they became senior dogs, they required a lot of nursing care. And during the process of nursing my Dalmations, I realized that I really liked the profession and it was something that I really wanted to do. I knew at some point I was going to retire from teaching dance, so when I did, I went back to school to become a Veterinary Technician so that I could help. I did my externship from school here at NorthStar VETS and absolutely fell in love with the place. I stayed and never left.” She laughs. “I spent time in different departments around the hospital, particularly in Surgery and Radiology. And then one Summer, they asked if I would come and help out in the Rehabilitation department and I said, ‘Sure!’ It just seemed like the perfect fit from the dancing career to Rehabilitation so I decided that I wanted to specialize in it.”

Sheila performing a laser therapy session on a patient

Sheila performing a laser therapy session on a patient

NorthStar VETS sees hundreds of pets each week and Sheila is always staying busy. She remarked, “We run two or three appointments simultaneously. I help assist the doctor, who is a Veterinary Physical Therapist. I am a Technician Physical Therapist. We see all of our post-operative Neurologic cases as well as Orthopedic cases. It’s actually part of their surgical packages. Their suture removals are done with us and then we start them on an exercise program. It helps to speed up recovery, it helps to build that animal-owner bond, and also helps to build their relationship with us as well. Often, those patients will come back to us years later and now they have some arthritis or some pain in other places and they end up seeing us for other modalities such as our therapeutic laser, acupuncture or underwater treadmill. And we can always redo their home exercise program. We combine this with medications as well to help everything work synergistically together to help improve our patients’ quality of life.”

The water treadmill is another tool that Sheila uses to help patients get back to full strength. “Our underwater treadmill is wonderful in that it gives them support so that an animal that cannot stand is often able to stand when they’re in the treadmill. And then when the belt moves, it causes their legs to move which gives them that exaggerated range of motion. They also get proprioceptive feedback when their feet strike the belt every single time. It works really well with our neurologic patients. It’s one of the top therapies that we use with those patients.”

Sheila, and the team an NorthStar VETS, will continue to provide the best in veterinary medicine for you and your pets. “Every single day I love seeing the patients and we get to see a lot of them on a regular basis so we become very attached to them. They’re just a joy! And it’s wonderful when you see a patient completely paralyzed and unable to walk transform over six to eight weeks and get back to normal. They’re playing and having a normal life again which is very rewarding.”

Sheila Mills, CVT, CCRPSheila Mills, CVT, CCRP
Mills is a native of New Jersey with a Bachelor of Science degree from Houghton College (Houghton, NY) in Business Administration. After a long career as a dance instructor, she obtained an Associates of Science degree from Manor College (Jenkintown, PA) in Veterinary Technology. In 2012, Sheila completed an externship at NorthStar VETS and was licensed by the state of Pennsylvania to become a Credentialed Veterinary Technician (CVT). She joined the NorthStar VETS team that same year as a full-time technician spending much of her time in the Radiology, Surgery and Rehabilitation departments.

In 2014, Sheila completed a specialty in Canine Rehabilitation from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine to become a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner (CCRP). She currently focuses her efforts in the Rehabilitation department providing therapeutic treatments, including Laser Therapy, Therapeutic exercises and Underwater Treadmill, for both in-patients and out-patients.

The information presented on this web site is not intended to take the place of your family veterinarian’s advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Discuss this information with your own veterinarian to determine what is right for your pet. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. We can not and do not give you medical advice via this blog. The information contained in this online site and emails is presented in summary form only and intended to provide broad understanding and knowledge. The information should not be considered complete and should not be used in place of a visit, call, consultation or advice of your veterinarian. We do not recommend the self-management of your pet’s health problems.

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