Hydrotherapy can be hugely beneficial as it allows good aerobic exercise with buoyancy supporting their joints and body weight
Excellent results for weight loss when combined with a controlled diet plus they love it!.
How does it work?
Canine hydrotherapy is an extremely useful tool in rehabilitation; however, it is important to understand its benefits, in particular how the hydrotherapy pool and the underwater treadmill work, what they achieve, how they can help the canine patient both independently and in conjunction with one another.
Hydrotherapy, as a whole, works to help a variety of conditions including orthopaedic, neurological, and soft tissue injuries. Walking and moving around on land can sometimes be quite painful or strenuous for your dog during their rehabilitation, due to the concussive forces placed through the joints.
The underwater treadmill provides a low weight bearing environment, which can be altered by the therapist. Factors such as speed, duration, incline, and water level can be altered to target different areas. and achieve optimal results.
The concussive forces created through moving on the treadmill belt alongside the resistance of the water makes this a very useful rehabilitation tool, that is more comfortable than land-based exercises due to the water properties reducing the pressure on the joints.
The underwater treadmill provides a more controlled environment in which the therapist When implemented into a rehabilitation programme, this is chosen to build and increase muscle mass, encourage gait re-education and proprioception. This is often used in cases such as soft tissue injuries, neurological conditions, and post-surgery to promote early muscle building and gait re-education.
Moving in water is a very different and potentially more positive experience Hydrotherapy uses water at a therapeutic temperature of approximately 29-32º C.
The warmth of the water alongside the weightlessness properties that it offers, allows exercise to be performed comfortably and safely to achieve muscle building, strengthening, and overall improvement in comfort levels.
This can help dogs that may be suffering from musculoskeletal injuries or other conditions to exercise in a comfortable, non-weight bearing environment to increase soft tissue flexibility and strength as well as reducing pain.
Overall benefits of hydrotherapy:
- Relief from pain, swelling, and stiffness
- Increased sensory perception
- Relaxes muscle tension and spasms
- Less concussion on the joints
- Increases range of motion
- Increase and maintains muscle strength
- Improves cardiovascular fitness
- Improves mobility
- Mental wellbeing levels
There are various therapeutic properties of water that work to allow canine hydrotherapy to be as beneficial as it is. Understanding these properties allows for the therapist to appropriately and effectively tailor the session to the needs of the patient for maximum benefit.
The main water properties and their effects include:
Creates a weightless environment that alleviates pressure on joints and supports weak muscles
Creates pressure against the body to decrease pain and swelling
This can be beneficial for building muscle and increasing cardiovascular fitness
Warm water allows an increase in elasticity of tissues, circulation, and relaxation which therefore contributes to pain relief and improving movement
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