What Is Hydrotherapy?
Virtually impact free, swimming in clean, warm water in a controlled environment exercises nearly every muscle in the body without the constant jarring to joints caused when walking & running. For this reason alone swimming is an ideal exercise for lame, injured, arthritic, overweight dogs, and pre and post-operative dogs. As well as providing benefits for dogs with injuries or other physical problems, it can help improve muscle definition in show dogs and increase stamina and fitness in agility dogs, over all mental well-being is improved, swimming can just be for fun too – a healthy dog is a happy dog!
The benefits from swimming as an exercise are well-known. But what is less well known is the benefit of warm water stimulating all the nerve endings and opening blood vessels all over the body. Improved circulation brings more oxygen, nutrients and elements of the body’s immune system to the body’s cells. It helps remove waste products, increases blood flow and assists cardiovascular activity helping many common canine ailments.
Some people say ‘why not take your dog to the nearest lake or to the sea to save money?’ but this may end up causing more discomfort, due to the many hazards such as poisonous algae, injury from slipping down muddy banks or the danger of them getting out of their depth, twisting in the surf and sustaining further injury etc. Also the cold water can reduce blood circulation, whereas in a controlled environment the warm water of the heated pool combined with the jets has a massaging effect which promotes circulation and helps to reduce swelling.
Physical issues are relatively straightforward, but the lack of exercise, whether due to injury or the advancement of years, also has an effect on the mental health of the dog. Any animal/mammal, including man, feels exhilarated through the practise of exercise, especially vigorous exercise.
Hydrotherapy in conjunction with veterinary treatment can significantly improve the quality and rate of healing following surgery or traumatic injury. After surgery the careful use of canine hydrotherapy can help with rehabilitation and increase the chance of a successful return to full fitness. Enhancing general health and fitness can aid convalescence and speed up recovery.
CONDITIONS THAT BENEFIT FROM HYDROTHERAPY
- Pre and post-operative conditioning
- Osteoarthritis – reduced pain and increased mobility
- Hip and elbow dysplasia – especially useful for young dogs who are restricted to lead exercise
- DM – degenerative myelopathy
- Spinal injuries
- Recovering from injuries – including fracture, soft tissue and neurological damage
- Cranial cruciate ligament injuries and post – operative recovery
- Muscle strengthening maintenance and restoration
- Relief of pain, swelling and stiffness
- Relaxation of muscle spasms
- Cardiovascular fitness (heart and lungs)
- Obesity (weight loss in conjunction with diet)
- Mental well being
HYDROTHERAPY HELPS BY:
- Relief of pain, swelling & stiffness
- Muscle strengthening, maintenance and restoration
- Alleviating muscle spasm, promoting relaxation.
- Increased range of motion in joints
- Improved circulation
- Cardiovascular fitness (heart & lungs)
- Increased tissue healing
- Increased speed of recovery