Just like humans recovering from a surgical procedure, dogs also benefit from post-operative rehabilitation. After the initial period of rest is completed, hydrotherapy can be one of the best forms of recovery.
Buoyancy helps to decrease pain and minimises the weight placed on joints and muscles. Hydrostatic pressure reduces oedema, general soreness and swelling of post-operative areas. It also creates phastic stimuli to the sensory skin receptors, causing a decrease in hypersensitivity. This reduction in pain perception allows patients to move with greater confidence.
Canine hydrotherapy within a HYDRO PHYSIO treadmill can improve health and conditioning. This low impact environment is supportive yet also resistive. The viscosity and surface tension of water increases session intensity. This is a consideration for treatment of elderly patients and patients with poor cardiovascular health.
Treadmill hydrotherapy can also improve circulation to joints, in-turn improving strength and range of movement. Older dogs who have lost this range of movement particularly see the benefits of slow speed treatment and often respond with increased happiness in their overall mood.
Some estimates suggest that over a third of adult dogs in the UK are overweight. This can lead to higher rates of orthopaedic, respiratory, diabetes, arthritis and cardiac problems.
Weight loss is crucial in easing these potentially life shortening issues. Often the symptoms of disease mean that dogs have problems walking on land. A program of treadmill hydrotherapy helps the dog to exercise in a low impacting but effective way, promoting safe and healthy weight loss. The overall aim of a hydro weight loss programme may be used to prepare the patient for future exercise on land.
Gait and posture can become a problem for many different reasons including; hip and elbow dysplasia, spinal conditions, hip replacement, fractures, tendonitsis, cruciate repair, osteochondritis, luxating patella and osteoarthritis, to name a few. The reduction of weight bearing stress on joints and ligaments whilst exercising in a hydrotherapy treadmill successfully helps in the re-education of gait and posture. Balance and proprioception problems caused by neurological injury can also be improved with a tailored aquatic therapy programme.
Often the trauma of surgery or serious injury can leave a dog depressed and miserable. A positive mental outlook is an important part of a speedy recovery. Hydrotherapy is usually a very calming experience for dogs. It helps to reduce stress levels and helps to stimulate metabolic functions. The immune and lymphatic system become enhanced, helping to rid the dogs body of toxins and regulates electrolytes in their system. Happy dogs are usually healthier dogs! Supportive movement for elderly patients within the treadmill can increase confidence and also improve mental wellbeing.
Exercising in warm water is very beneficial for pain management. The therapeutic effects of water are well documented. Dogs suffering from painful joint conditions such as arthritis can be helped to manage pain with a programme of treadmill hydrotherapy. The relaxing water can help to loosens stiff muscles and reduce joint inflammation. The resistance of the water helps to strengthen and build muscle to support joints.
Maintaining fitness and muscle tone in show dogs, racing dogs and service dogs can be very effectively accomplished in a canine treadmill. The same as HYDRO PHYSIO’s human treadmill is good for keeping athletes at the top of their game. Incline, speed depth and direction can be individually tailored, giving a very personalised canine workout. The low impacting exercise is gentle on ligaments and joints and can help to extend the working life of service dogs, keeping them in peak condition for as long as possible.
If a dog loses a limb due to trauma or disease, it usually has to re-learn proprioception. Adjusting to where the body is in space and how to balance can be greatly aided within a hydrotherapy treadmill. The properties of water are supportive and allow the patient greater correction time whist walking on the treadmill. One of the most important issues with limb amputees is to protect the remaining limbs from ‘over doing it’, putting undue stress on the dogs joints. A regular programme of canine hydrotherapy can aid in the recovery of limb amputation.