Horse and pet rehabilitation center EQUUS VITALIS was founded in January 2008 with the purpose of  rehabilitation to animals who suffer from walking difficulties. Walking difficulties that occur in horses are often a result of sport horse injury, injury related to running across a field, inadequate training or as a result of using inappropriate equipment. Regarding the dogs, difficulties in walking can develop while in puppyhood as a result of hereditary disorder of the musculoskeletal system. The most common are skeletal and joint disorders such as hip and elbow dysplasia. In later years common problems become injuries or problems with the spine, while older dogs often experience problems with arthritis and degenerative disorders of the spinal column and cord. Rehabilitation can prevent or prolong the appearance of some problems, especially injuries in sport horses and working dogs as well as hip and elbow arthrosis in young dogs diagnosed with dysplasia. Postoperative rehabilitation speeds up recovery time allowing a quicker return to normal life. Great results can be achieved in working with senior dogs as regular rehabilitation treatmants keep them vital and active.


is the missing link between surgical and medical treatment and full recovery.

After surgical treatment of the musculoskeletal system, including spinal surgery, or the completion of medical therapy in veterinary practice, in most cases therapy is usually finished although the recovery is not always complete. With animals we do rehabilitation treatments which aims to speed up  healing proces, recovery, to improve quality of movement and increase stretch and endurance.

Work methods

Rehabilitation treatment include a variety of non-invasive physical methods such as thermotherapy, light therapy (including infrared light and low-level laser therapy that uses light to stimulate cell regeneration and increase blood circulation). Commonly used modality in physical therapy are alsoelectomagnetic field therapy,  ultrasound and infrasound treatment and electrical stimulations. All of these methods use non-invasive and effective approach focusing on different tissue and body cells, but with the same final result; stimulating cellular metabolism which accelerates tissue repair and cell growth of structures resulting in faster recovery.


Exercise, both passive and active, plays a big role in rehabilitation in the form of restoring range of motion, balance, agility and strenght. Educating owners is also important in order to incorporate exercise in their day to day life, as well as informing them on the proper handling of pets in order to prevent any injury or delay recovery. The rehabilitation plan is done individually for each animal, taking into account a variety of factors; diagnosis, age, temperament, conditions and way of life.

Rehabilitation treatments

are compatible with all veterinary therapies, and can be used simultaneously or independently


Lameness problems in horses can have very different etiologies; hoof ailments, joints and tendons difficulties or problems with muscles . The most commonly affected are back and neck muscles. Rehabilitation treatments give the best results with this kind of issues.

Horse can display back pain in very different ways, which at first glance seems totally unrelated to problem:

  • Discomfort or dissatisfaction while cleaning  and saddling
  • Stiff movements, especially at the beginning of training
  • Reluctant to move to one side
  • Head tossing while riding
  • Headshaking
  • Teeth grinding
  • Kicking and resisting to go forward

It is necessary to assess and examine the condition of the horse while moving and standing still. Painfull areas, muscle tension as well as passive joint range of motion can be examined while the horse is standing still. In order to examine the way he uses his body, equine conformation is assessed while the horse is standing and moving. If necessary, checkups can be also completed with thermal imaging.

The treatment is done in the stable or some other pleasant and well-know surroundings, at least 2 hours after training. It includes massage, acupressure, stretching, electrotherapy, magnetic therapy, ultrasound and light therapy (infrared light, low-level laser therapy). Depending on the type of the problem treatment may last from 45 to 90 minutes. It is recommended to rest and avoid training for the next 24 to 48 hours.

Results and improvements are visible after a few days; movements are more flexible, easier, pain is reduced. By reducing pain and discomfort, the horse’s mood and willingness to work significantly increases. Their energy level balances out, so that nervous horses become calmer and those with lower energy become more vivid.

Check ups, if needed, should be made after 10 to 14 days. It would be ideal to do the treatments once a month for maintenance and prevention, for all horses.  As for the horses in sport, ridding scools, and  for hippotherapy it would be optimal to do the treatment before or after intensive strain due to training or competition.


The following conditions may indicate the need for treatment;

  • Disorders of the spinal column and cord (discopathy, herniated or prolapsed disc, degenerative myelopathy, etc.)
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Osteoarthritis
  • After spinal or orthopeadic surgery 

Treatments may be used for therapeutic purposes, when the conditions mentioned above lead to mobility difficulties or as a prevention in cases where symptoms are not yet obvious. The goal and purpose is to reduce pain, restore mobility, to speed up recovery after injury or surgery and to slow down the progression of chronic inflammatory or degenerative conditions as well as act preventively. Treatments can be used independently or with any veterinary therapy.

Each treatment lasts an average of 45 minutes and is individually adjusted to each dog, depending on the condition, the problem itself and dog’s current mood. All the treatments are completely painless, pleasant and relaxing. The whole body is included in the treatment (massage, acupressure, passive exercise, stretching) with additional focus on the painful areas (muscles, joints, ligaments).

The results can sometimes even be seen after the first visit, but it usually takes 3 to 5 treatments to initiate regenerative processes of the body. The recommendation would be to start the treatments 2 times per week after which it can be changed into weekly visits in order to maintain the improvements or until the problem is solved. Although the treatments are primarily intended to relieve mobility problems, years of experience showed that regular weekly or biweekly visits can significantly improve the general health and vitality along with mobility. Various chronic conditions are significantly alleviated, as a result of regular stimulation of the body’s ability to heal itself  and to maintain the optimal balance.

Senior dogs are prone to bigger problems thus  have more benefit from the therapy.

Regarding the purpose of maintenance and injury prevention, significant results have been achieved with regular treatment for sporting and working dogs.

Inflammation of the right tendon
Inadequate saddle
What is equine thermography?

Thermography is fast, painless, safe and non-invasive diagnostic method. Infrared camera records the surface temperature of the body: skin, muscles, tendons, joints, hooves. Metabolism accelerates where the tissue is damaged which results in higher body temperature, although other simptoms, such as pain, swelling or lameness, may still not be visible. This is why thermography should be the first step in prevention and diagnosis, as it can reliably indicate the location of the problem and help to determine further diagnostic and therapeutic methods, thus saving both time and money.

Problems thermography detect: Painful muscle inflammation, Strained and damaged tendons and ligaments, Inflammation of the joints, Back pain and resistance to saddling, Inflammation in the hoof (laminitis, abscess, navicular), Dental disease and sinus problems

Back pain

Since 1975 horses are an everyday part of my life, in the past through riding, competition and breeding and today as my job but still as an immense pleasure.

Center manager

Deana Basar, dr.vet. med.

I was born in Zagreb, where I finished elementary school and veterinary medicine high school.  After receiving my degree from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in 1992 I completed my internship in small practice, although my first jobs were related to food and pet equipment. I was a part of Hill’s team for six years where I gained invaluable knowledge of nutrition and diseases of dogs and cats, which were of immense value when returning to small animal practice. Working at a small animal clinic, and using spare time dealing with horses and riding, I realized that the link between the completion of medical or surgical therapy and full recovery was missing.  In 2007 I gained initial knowledge of physiotherapy and rehabilitation work at the Amanda Sutton Psysiotherapy Animal Clinic, in Winchester, Great Britain. All of the further education and continuous training were in the same area.

In addition to acquiring professional knowledge, because of comprehensive and holistic approach, this work requires considerable self awareness to improve yourself. Veterinary medicine has given me the knowledge of anatomy, physiology, health and diseases which are  measurable figures (which can be measured). However, making the right diagnosis requires not only laboratory findings and recordings, but inner peace and harmony to be able to “see” and “hear” the animal, to feel her energy and recognize the imbalance. Especially demanding are the horses because working with them requires mindfulness, to be present in the moment, so you don’t lose that fine relationship that makes these treatments so different, special and successful and yet seemingly so simple. Every new patient is a new lesson, a new opportunity for growth in this life’s calling.

More about me →


In addition to direct rehabilitation treatmants with animals, Equus vitalis center has an important role in educating the owners and their mutual communication for the purpose of acquiring and sharing knowledge, skills and experience in their daily lives with animals in need of temporary or permanent special care and nurture. Education can be organised individually or collectively through lectures and workshops.


Equus Vitalis
Vinogradarski put 5, 10370 Dugo Selo
P: + 385 (0)91 1648 525


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Email: equus-vitalis@net.hr
Phone: +385 (0)91 1648 525
Vinogradarski put 5
10370 Dugo Selo, Croatia
Due to field work with horses, working hours with dogs can be arranged by phone.