Sylvan Veterinary Hospital

3520 Roselle Ave.
Modesto, CA 95357
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(209) 551–4527
Hablamos Español

Multi-Modal Pain Management
for Your Pet

rehab services

At Sylvan Veterinary hospital, we understand that your dog or cat's natural state is to be in motion. If your pet is reluctant to move or moves less often, that may be a signal that something is not right. In animals, as in humans, there are two kinds of pain: acute and chronic. Acute pain is the type that is experienced quickly after an injury or a surgical procedure. Chronic pain is usually brought about by degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis or degenerative disc disease. Whether acute or chronic, pain can greatly affect your pet's quality of life.

A multi-modal approach to pain relief

The term "multi-modal" refers to a focused approach for managing or eliminating pain by employing multiple therapies and modalities including:

Dogs and cats do not show pain the same way that humans do. Dogs are very good at hiding their discomfort and cats are masters of disguise. As a result, we must be aware of subtle changes in our pet's behavior that might indicate they could be experiencing discomfort or pain and be in need of veterinary treatment.

Signs of canine pain:

  • Decrease in activity level
  • Changes in behavior (less alert than usual, restless, abnormal aggression or apprehension when handled, difference in how dog responds to people)
  • Shivering
  • Increased panting
  • Biting, scratching, or guarding a particular area of the body
  • Abnormal body position (not lying down naturally or favoring a part of the body)
  • Unusual posture
  • Decrease or lack of appetite
  • Changes in vocalization (unusual whimpering or howling, unprovoked growling, quieter than normal)

Signs of feline pain:

  • Un-groomed appearance
  • Changes in facial expression
  • Irritability when approached or handled
  • Hiding more than usual
  • Decrease or lack of appetite
  • Incessant licking
  • Aversion to being petted or brushed
  • Unusually quiet
  • Limping or favoring a limb
  • Stiff or abnormal body posture
  • Avoids jumping onto things or has difficulty doing so

Rehabilitation Aides Post-Op Recovery & Improves Veterinary Surgery Success

Post Op

Advances in veterinary surgical procedures for orthopedic and neurological injuries and diseases have led to extended lives for our beloved companions. However, some loss of muscle mass is a natural after-effect of some of these surgeries and may even start long before surgery due to decreased muscle use. Post-op rehabilitation therapy can help pets recover quicker, making it easier and less stressful for patients to return to functional activities in their day-to-day lives.

Upon referral from your primary veterinarian, Dr. Magnussen certified in canine rehabilitation will carefully review your pet's medical records and history prior to performing a full physical evaluation. Based on your pet's history and physical exam assessment, an individual rehabilitation program will be designed targeting your pet's needs and capabilities. Careful attention to slow increases in exercise duration and difficulty is very important for post-op patients. Sylvan Veterinary Hospital employs a multi-modal approach when designing an individual rehabilitation program. Some of the modalities that you might see in your pet's custom rehab program are therapeutic exercise, therapeutic massage, hot and cold therapy, electrical stimulation, therapeutic laser and ultrasound treatments, and aquatic therapy.

Benefits of post-op rehab therapy

  • Reduces inflammation
  • Promotes early weight-bearing
  • Decreases discomfort (reducing the need for pain medication)
  • Strengthens muscles to reverse muscle mass atrophy
  • Increases range of motion
  • Improves return to normal function

Contact us for more information about our post-op rehabilitation therapy services

Veterinary Rehab: Easing the Effects of Aging in Pets


Old age is not a disease, but it can come with some baggage. It is estimated that, in the United States, more than 18 million dogs and 22 million cats are considered senior citizens. Advances in veterinary health care have resulted in our pets living longer, healthier lives. However, senior pets can develop symptoms of old age, like osteoarthritis and neuromuscular diseases, which can greatly diminish their quality of life. Many clients assume that old age is slowing their pets down, when it may actually be pain.

Most people are aware that dogs can develop hip dysplasia, spinal disc disease, and arthritis, but cats get arthritis and back pain too. A recent study showed that more than 90% of cats over age 10 showed signs of arthritis on their X-rays. However, cats are much less commonly diagnosed with arthritis than dogs because they hide their discomfort so well.

Limping, difficulty in sitting or standing, and favoring one limb over another could be signs that your pet is suffering from the chronic pain of arthritis. Therapy programs designed with the elderly pet in mind can help to reduce pain and improve movement.

Manage Your Pet's Weight for a Longer, Healthier Life


Canine and feline obesity has reached epidemic proportions in America. A survey conducted in 2010 estimated that 54% of all dogs and cats in U.S. households were either overweight or obese. The health risks associated with excess weight are alarming and can include osteoarthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart and respiratory disease, ligament injuries, kidney disease, cancer, and decreased life expectancy up to 2.5 years.

Senior pets are particularly susceptible to excessive weight gain due to the natural slowing of their metabolism. Obesity can also worsen already painful conditions, such as arthritis and degenerative joint conditions, causing a vicious cycle of inactivity due to pain, which leads to more weight gain.

Proper nutrition and regular exercise are the keys to maintaining a healthy weight for your pet. At Sylvan Veterinary Hospital, our approach begins with a thorough evaluation of your pet's overall physical condition. An individualized therapy program can then be developed based on each patient's needs. Additionally, home exercise programs can be developed to help patient progress between visits.

How to tell if your dog is overweight

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention offers a great visual aid to help you determine if your canine comrade needs to lose a few pounds: Dog scoring chart.

How to tell if your cat is overweight

If you are not sure if your feline friend needs to lose a few pounds, The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention offers a visual aid: Cat scoring chart.


For any questions or more information about any of the veterinary rehab services we offer, please contact us.

Rehabilitiation Services
Rehab Services
Multi-Modal Pain Management
Regenerative Medicine

AAHA accreditedAmerican Animal Hospital Association’s process of accreditation is similar to what human hospitals go through.

Fear Free Certified

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Just wanted to let you know that Allie is doing great after Lap Spay on 4-10-12. Took her one day and she was back to normal. What a great way to get a dog spayed- I will recommend it to all my friends. Here is a photo of Allie that I took yesterday in our pasture with California Poppies. I thought it was cute! Thanks again!!
Karin Wickstrom

I have been taking my Beagle, Destiny, to Sylvan Vet for the last 10 years. She has had many medical problems throughout her life. There were times that I didn’t think she was going to pull though, yet, with wonderful Veterinarians like Dr. Tiffany Cardoza and Dr. Kipp Magnussen, she is still here with me today. I am grateful for their expertise in knowing exactly what she needs and for their compassion towards the both of us, in our hour of need. We are very blessed to know that compassionate help is always there. My deepest thanks and appreciation.
DeAnna Bingham

Sylvan Veterinary Hospital has been an important part of our family’s life for several years now. Most recently they helped to preserve our pug Sweetie’s vision with a new surgery technique. Everyone in the hospital works diligently to serve our needs. There is open communication with the front office staff, the technicians and the doctors whenever necessary. Our concerns and questions are always addressed quickly and the doctors are always available to us whenever needed.
Roger and Diane

What a great neighborhood veterinary clinic! I love the convenient hours and boarding facility. They have a nice, friendly staff and team of doctors who involve me in making the right choice for my pet.
Karin Mcknight

I can’t say enough about the miraculous results you can get from laser therapy. I used it for my puppy’s foot wound that wouldn’t hold stitches. The wound was completely closed in three treatments-without a scar! Also, this pup has elbow dysplasia and laser has helped him quickly regain soundness when he played too roughly. And the best part- it’s not expensive. I’m a tried-and-true believer of this technology.
Lee Nudo and Jagger La Grange, CA

Eleven years ago, Dr. Kipp Magnussen saved the life of my young kitten and I was genuinely impressed with his compassion and competence. Over the years I have been extremely happy with the care all the vets and vet techs have provided for my various dogs and cats. In addition, it is a mark of commitment to the highest standards of quality medical care that Sylvan Vet is accredited through the AAHA. I continue to highly recommend this clinic.
Page Riskin, MD

We have been a client of Sylvan Vet for the past 20 years. Just recently, Bodie, our Chocolate Lab experienced a wound to his back that was quite serious. After two months of patience, determination and constant care by Dr. Kipp Magnussen, Bodie has been nursed back to health. Kipp's staff has become family to us. Each and every one of them is kind, friendly and compassionate! Bodie just celebrated his tenth Birthday and is even swimming again. Thank you Sylvan Vet!!
Anita Bauer

I love the doctors and staff at Sylvan Veterinary Hospital for the care and compassion they have given my dogs over the years. From luxating patella surgery to nail cleaning, the care level is the highest. I would recommend them to any and all pet owners.
Pat Osdahl