Spotlight Practice

January 2020 Spotlight Practice

Pawsitive Steps Rehabilitation & Sports Medicine

Rochester Hills, Michigan

AARV Members:
Colleen Lum, LVT, CCVRN
Cathryn Adolph, LVT, CCRP
Angelia Oliverei, LVT, CVMRT
Janelle Allen, LVT
Jennie Houghteling, LVT


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Pawsitive Steps Rehabilitation & Sports Medicine logo

Pawsitive Steps Rehabilitation & Sports Medicine is an exclusively rehabilitation, sports medicine and pain management veterinary practice located in Rochester Hills, Michigan. The practice philosophy and concept grew as its owner, Dr. Tari Kern, initially provided mobile rehabilitation and acupuncture services in southeastern Michigan. The physical home for Pawsitive Steps opened in March 2013, growing as we provided top-level rehabilitation services to more than 2,000 patients. In November 2019, our facility expanded into the suite next door, allowing us to provide comprehensive rehabilitation services in a 4,550 square-foot facility. We are so excited about our newly expanded practice as we gained three more exam rooms and a 20' x 50' canine gym arena!

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The practice format at Pawsitive Steps closely follows the AARV Model Standards. Each patient is assessed at their initial evaluation session by our rehabilitation certified veterinarian, Dr. Tari Kern, who is also certified in medical acupuncture and veterinary spinal manipulative therapy. An individualized rehabilitation therapy program is then designed for each patient based on their unique needs. These rehabilitation sessions are performed according to the patient's plan by one of our licensed veterinary technicians trained in rehabilitation therapy. Three of our LVTs are also rehabilitation certified, proudly boasting credentials from each of the three major rehabilitation programs (Colleen CCVRN, Cathryn CCRP, and Angelia CVRMT). The patient programs are regularly overseen by Dr. Kern and adjusted as needed for each patient. Dr. Kern and all five LVTs at Pawsitive Steps are members of the American Association of Rehabilitation Veterinarians.

The team at Pawsitive Steps believes our patients benefit from a multimodal approach to rehabilitation offered in a comfortable and welcoming environment. The majority of our facility is covered in rolled rubber flooring, providing extra traction so that our patients can move with more confidence while performing therapeutic exercises, which is the core of most of our patients' programs. Pawsitive Steps offers modalities such as therapeutic ultrasound, laser therapy (class III and class IV), electrical stimulation, neuromuscular electrical stimulation, Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) therapy, and Piezowave Acoustic Compression Therapy (ACT, aka shock wave). In addition, we also have a variety of equipment to augment rehabilitation efforts such as a land treadmill, an underwater treadmill, and a hydrotherapy swimming pool. Many of our rehabilitation patients also benefit from additional treatment options while in the care of Pawsitive Steps, such as acupuncture, veterinary spinal manipulative therapy (VSMT), craniosacral therapy, myofascial trigger point release and massage.

Pawsitive Steps also provides veterinary orthotic and prosthetic (V-OP) options for animals with unique circumstances. The availability of V-OP care becomes more important when traditional veterinary care may not have a good treatment option available. Over the last 7 years, Pawsitive Steps has collaborated extensively with OrthoPets in providing custom V-OP options to over 160 dogs, 9 cats and 1 donkey. We are the only practice in Michigan with this level of expertise, and we see cases from all over the state and surrounding areas as a result. Many of these patients have congenital abnormalities, developmental problems, injuries or degenerative conditions, and the possibility of a viable V-OP option can significantly improve their overall quality of life. It is so incredibly rewarding to work with these types of cases, but also requires a lot of open communication and dedication to detail by everyone involved.

Athletic conditioning programs are also available at Pawsitive Steps for dogs participating in canine sports of all types. Several of our clients share their lives with dogs who have competed nationally, and also internationally, and it has been our honor to have worked with these top athletes. We offer fitness sessions for the general pet population and weight management programs for overweight patients too. Within our local community, we have had the privilege to work with several canine officers working with local police departments and Border Patrol over the years and look to continue these relationships. As we enter a new decade, Team Pawsitive Steps is excited to continue to bring the best possible rehabilitation care to our patients by continuing to learn and evolve as the practice of rehabilitation grows.

Information written by AARV member Tari Kern, DVM, CCRP, CVMA, CVSMT

Preferred Contact:
Phone: 248-564-0309


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