Atlas Rehabilitation for Canines

Atlas Rehabilitation for Canines is Santa Barbara's only free standing, full service animal rehabilitation facility led by certified professionals. In June of 2017, Karen Atlas, MPT, PT, CCRT, teamed up with Dr. Bill Otto, DVM, to open ARC and offer physical rehabilitation services to pets. ARC is fully equipped with the latest underwater treadmill, cold laser therapy (class 3b), therapeutic ultrasound, Alpha-Stimulation (CES and MET), pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF), electrical stimulation (NMES and TENS), as well as innovative land based exercise equipment.

Rehabilitation Evaluation


The rehabilitation evaluation at ARC consists of a brief assessment by our onsite veterinarian, a comprehensive physical assessment by our rehabilitation therapist, as well as any treatments that our therapist feels would be beneficial to your pet.

Veterinarian Assessment

To stay in compliance with California state regulations, we do require a brief veterinary assessment with our onsite managing veterinarian, Dr. Bill Otto. During this portion of the evaluation, Dr. Otto will discuss your pet’s condition and do a brief exam to ensure that your pet is in good medical condition in order to undergo physical rehabilitation.  Even though your primary veterinarian and/or specialist veterinarian already cleared your pet for rehab through our referral requirement, the California Veterinary Medical Board (CVMB) wants a veterinary-patient-client-relationship (VCPR) to be established by an onsite veterinarian.  We understand that you may see this as an unnecessary barrier and expense to receive services (we certainly believe it is unnecessary...), but please know we are actively working to change state laws and regulations to increase consumer access to trained professionals and prevent a veterinary monopoly of this specialty practice.   In fact, we'd love for you to join us in our fight to increase consumer choice and access to animal physical therapists in California (

Physical Assessment

Once the veterinarian assessment is complete, our rehabilitation therapist will do a comprehensive assessment of your pet’s musculoskeletal system. This includes an assessment of joints, muscle flexibility and tone, functional ability, strength, gait, neurologic function, and more. Even if your pet is coming in for one specific issue, our therapist will still assess his or her entire body to identify other areas of pain or decreased mobility and treat your pet as a whole.  By doing this comprehensive assessment, our therapist is able to develop a treatment plan specifically suited for your pet’s needs.


Treatment options include: hydrotherapy (underwater treadmill), land-based therapeutic exercises, balance therapy, neuromuscular electrical stimulation, cold laser therapy, manual therapy, therapeutic ultrasound, microcurrent electrical therapy (AlphaStim), and brace and cart fittings. After the assessment portions of the evaluation, our therapist will inform you of the specific treatment options that your pet could benefit from and discuss a treatment plan that will benefit your pet. If you have any time or financial restraints, our therapist is happy to work with you to find a plan that suits both yours and your pet’s needs. We will then do a trial of the appropriate treatment options to determine how your pet tolerates them.