It has long been the case that dogs have been sent to hydrotherapy swimming pools to aid recuperation. We have an underwater treadmill, and these are now felt to be equal to if not superior to the use of a pool. There are many reasons for this including:
- In a pool you have no control over the amount of buoyancy provided. In a water treadmill you can alter the amount of water, so the buoyancy level can be tailored to the patient's individual conditions and fitness level.
- The use of a treadmill encourages a rhythmic motion of the limbs, whereas in a pool the dog can thrash around, potentially causing more problems.
Why use Hydrotherapy?
Joints, muscles, nerves and bones require nutrition for healthy growth and maintenance, this is aided by movement to encourage circulation. During recuperation or treatment of an injury or illness, it is common for dogs to limp or favour one leg. This can result in poor bone healing, nerve degeneration and muscle wastage. If a joint is encouraged to move in a normal motion it will also aid to reduce inflammation and in turn discomfort will decrease. The warmth of the water also encourages muscles to relax, which again can be soothing for the patient.
All dogs must be checked by a veterinary surgeon prior to hydrotherapy to ensure they are suitable candidates, dogs with open wounds, neoplasia or gastroenteritis are not allowed into the treadmill.
We have various pieces of rehabilitation equipment at our disposal to help tailor your plan, these include:
- Therapy bands
- Balance balls
- Wobble cushions
- Peanut balls
- Balance pads
- Low level laser
- Ice packs
All of this can be teamed together with therapeutic exercises, such as leg lifting, figure of eight walking and food stretches.
The total rehabilitation plan will be designed for your dog depending on their condition and individual needs.