What is Hydrotherapy?
Hydrotherapy is a treatment that uses the properties of water to rehabilitate and improve an animal’s function in a heated, sanitized pool. Dogs that are suffering from a medical condition or have had surgery benefit greatly from Hydrotherapy.
The Hydrotherapy pool allows the animal to exercise in a non weight bearing environment which relieves pressure on joints, reducing pain and encouraging movement. In the aquatic treadmill the water height can be adjusted to precisely control the amount of weight bearing as the animal strengthens or recovers.
It is difficult to move quickly within water so the water has a cushioning or protective quality reducing the risk of injury. This same quality means that the dog has to work hard to move forward when swimming and in turn this helps to increase muscle strength and bulk. Within water animals are also subject to hydrostatic pressure and this can help to reduce swelling and pain especially in the lower limbs.
However healthy dogs also enjoy the benefits of Hydrotherapy to improve their fitness. As our pool is so large you can interact with your dog and
he can have fun and retrieve toys. Afterwards we will shampoo and blow dry him
before he goes home.
In conjunction with veterinary treatment Hydrotherapy can improve the quality and rate of healing following surgery and traumatic injury. It can also help with the treatment of medical conditions.
- Reduced pain, swelling and an anti-inflammatory effect because of hydrostatic pressure which leads to an increased range of movement in water.
- Non-weight bearing environment that can help reduce pain and swelling following surgery or injury. It enables the dog to move freely in the water increasing the circulation and reducing stiffness.
- Warm water increases the circulation of the blood to the muscles increasing the supply of oxygen and nutrients and flushing away waste products. This leads to muscle relaxation and a reduction in pain and stiffness. Improved circulation reduces swelling around the injured area and enhances healing.
- Swimming tones most of the major muscle groups and improves the general overall fitness of the dog which is vital for stability. Movement in the water is more difficult due to the resistance of the water. Encouraging pain free limb movement against the resistance of water improves muscle bulk and muscle wastage will decrease.
- The heart has to work harder in order to meet the increased demand for nutrients by all the muscles which are being worked. For most dogs a short swim is a challenging work out but the buoyancy of the water and the fact they cant fall or twist makes Hydrotherapy a safe and effective form of exercise.
- As well as the medical benefits, swimming can reduce the frustration and improve the quality of life for dogs on cage rest, lead only walking or dogs with reduced mobility.
- Large breed puppies can burn excess energy and get well muscled until they can be exercised sufficiently on land without damaging their joints.