A well planned course of hydrotherapy treatment encourages joint movement in non-weight bearing conditions, improving muscle tone, promoting tendon repair without imposing undue stress on damaged tissues and improving cardiovascular stamina. Almost every muscle of the anatomy is exercised whilst avoiding impact to joints and bones.
Derived from the ancient Greek word 'hydro' meaning water: hydrotherapy includes swimming, use of an underwater treadmill and therapeutic spa treatments. Hydrotherapy
Hydrotherapy differs from swimming because it involves special exercises that are undertaken in a warm-water pool. The focus of the exercises can be adjusted to help improve a range of movement or strength, depending on the dog’s symptoms. Hydrotherapy is generally more focused on slow, controlled movements and relaxation.
Canine Hydrotherapy can be used for the treatment and rehabilitation of arthritis, orthopaedic conditions, muscle, ligament and many other types of injury. It can also help with general convalescence, obesity and fitness training. It is ideal for building muscle both prior to an operation and after the stitches have been removed and skin healed. Where walking is too painful and strenuous, hydrotherapy swimming allows the "working out" and strengthening of muscles while avoiding potentially damaging concussion shocks of footfalls on hard surfaces.
Hydrostatic pressure applied by the water assists in reducing swelling by causing excess body fluid movement away from the affected area. This is enhanced when exercising the limb to enhance circulation. Pressure on the chest makes breathing more difficult, resulting in the lungs and heart working harder. This leads to an improvement to the respiratory and cardio-vascular system.
If all this sounds like hard work - it is - that's the idea!
For a dog, a 5 minute structured swim program is equivalent to about a 5 mile run, but the natural buoyancy of the water and the protection from sudden twists and falls makes Canine hydrotherapy a safe and effective and enjoyable form of exercise.