Passive Range of Motion for Pets


vet is giving passive range of motion exercise to dog

Passive range of motion (PROM) exercises for pets with external force such as your hands used to move a limb through its range of motion. The range of motion refers to the controlled movement of the limbs and joints in flexion, extension, adduction (moving the limb toward the body), and abduction (moving the limb away from the body) by you with no effort being exerted by the animal.

  • Goal is to stretch and manipulate the structures around the joint
  • Prevent soft tissue and muscle contracture
  • Prevent joint cartilage atrophy and deterioration
  • PROM improves blood flow
  • PROM improves sensory awareness of the affected joints and limbs

PROM is not a replacement for normal weight bearing or voluntary active movement. PROM should be instituted immediately after surgery, trauma or event that renders the limbs ineffective. PROM should be continued until the patient begins to walk normally.

PROM exercise is performed with your pet relaxed and laying on its side. The joint or joints are flexed or extended to the point that there is resistance without pain, and held for 10–30 seconds and returned to a normal position as if the pet were standing. These cycles are repeated for 10–15 complete cycles of flexion and extension. Caution should be taken not to overstretch the joint tissues. PROM with too much force may tear the structures supporting the joint.

IVDD pets with neurologic disease need PROM to reduce muscle atrophy, and improve blood flow, more importantly are the neurologic signals that are sent from the paralyzed leg up to the spinal cord then to the area in the spinal cord where the compression or damage is. These damaged nerves will receive the movement signals generated by PROM exercise for pets causing them to secrete chemicals of healing, chemicals that attract and activate local stem cells to heal the spinal cord. PROM and other therapy modalities that improve muscle, nerve, spinal cord communication enhance the likely of a successful outcome for your pet.