Animal rehabilitation (physical therapy) had its start in the 1960s as horse racing and other equine events grew in popularity. More events meant more injured horses, and owners and trainers began to seek rehabilitative veterinary services for their animals.
Canine physical therapy became commonplace in Europe in the 1980s and interest here in the U.S. started to grow a decade or so later.
Today, rehabilitation is the fastest growing arm of veterinary medicine. There are now 17 veterinary colleges in the U.S. offering instruction in canine rehabilitation, and over 300 people were certified as therapists in 2008. The number of veterinary practices offering rehab services is also growing rapidly.