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TITLE: Advancements in and Management of Degenerative Myelopathy

HOURS: Wed., Sept. 27, 2:15pm - 6:30pm


PARTICIPANTS: 20 (1 space left)

CONTACT HOURS: (4.0 RACE-approved)


DESCRIPTION: Degenerative myelopathy continues to be a challenge to owners and rehabilitation practitioners. Research has demonstrated the combination of appropriate therapeutic exercise and core strength, and photobiomodulation is able to slow down the progression. Recent clinical guidelines and changes in photobiomodulation protocols have demonstrated even more of a continued improvement with these cases. This program will review the disease process, appropriate therapeutic exercises, manual therapy, core and pelvic floor strengthening, photobiomodulation changes, and a home program.

Advancements in and Management of Degenerative Myelopathy

  • Debbie (Gross) Torraca, MSPT, DPT, CCRP, CCMT, Wizard of Paws Colchester, Connecticut, US

    Dr. Debbie Torraca began her career in human physical therapy (PT) and specialized in orthopedics, sports medicine, and pain management. With a solid foundation in human PT, she has adapted her skills (including her expertise in the Mulligan Technique) to her work with animals. Dr. Torraca is a pioneer in the field of canine physical therapy and is a founder of the University of Tennessee’s (UTN) certificate program (CCRP). She also founded and heads the Certified Canine Manual Therapy (CCMT) program at UTN.

    Following her undergraduate studies at Boston University, Dr. Torraca received her master’s in Physical Therapy from Quinnipiac College and her doctorate in Physical Therapy from UTN-Chattanooga. She transitioned to her work with animals early in her career, and has now been practicing canine rehabilitation for more than 25 years.

    Dr. Torraca has authored many chapters in veterinary textbooks and writes for professional journals and magazines dedicated to the dog enthusiast. She is a regular contributor to Clean Run, Dog Sport, Working Dog Digest, Dogs Naturally, and various breed magazines. She has been a speaker and instructor at many veterinary conferences including the International Association of Veterinary Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy (IAVRPT), American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS), North American Veterinary Conference (NAVC), Atlantic Coast Veterinary Conference (ACVC), Western States Veterinary Conference (WSVC), and many state conferences. She sits on the advisory board for Companion Animal Health and has been a key speaker at the American International Medical Laser Association, highlighting her latest research.

    Dr. Torraca is a longtime member of American Physical Therapy Association Special Interest Group (APTA-SIG) and has held the office of President. She is also a member of the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAPM). She is an active member of the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America, the American Bullmastiff Association, the Clumber Spaniel Club of America, and various other local dog clubs and organizations including the Connecticut Police Canine Unit.

    Dr. Torraca’s passions in canine physical rehabilitation include pain-free approaches to therapy, manual therapies, and photobiomodulation. She enjoys working with performance and working dogs, and those super seniors.

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