Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation

What is Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation?

Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) uses electrical stimulation to cause contraction of muscle.  Electrical impulses are applied through electrodes that are attached to the skin over the target muscle.  Repeated impulses increase muscle strength and patient awareness of the muscle.

 

Who can benefit from NMES?

NMES helps increase muscle strength when the patient is unable or unwilling to use the muscle normally.

This is particularly useful in dogs with spinal injuries that can not walk, and in dogs with post surgical orthopedic conditions that are not using the affected leg.

 

How often should it be done?

NMES is usually used early in the recovery process.  It is typically repeated two or three times a week in the first few weeks after injury, but can be applied multiple times daily in hospitalized patients.  Treatment is discontinued when the patient begins actively using the muscle.

 

Are there any side effects?

Involuntary muscle movement can be scary, especially for nervous dogs.  Most dogs tolerate treatment well, but it can be painful at higher intensity settings, so the level is gradually increased until muscle movement is observed.  NMES should not be used in dogs with an implanted pacemaker.