As part of our physiotherapy treatments, we offer hydrotherapy. For many years, hydrotherapy has been used for rehabilitation and pain relief in humans suffering from neurological, musculoskeletal and orthopaedic conditions. It has recently been applied to horses and dogs based on the following three principles:

  • Buoyancy: The upward flotation force helps to reduce weight-bearing on joints thus potentially reduce pain during exercise in water.
  • Hydrostatic Pressure: Pressure exerted by water provides mild anti-inflammatory effects and improves blood circulation.
  • Water Drag: Water resistance helps to improve muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness.

Hydrotherapy is great for animals with arthritis or recovering from surgery because it allows them to exercise without putting pressure on a sore limb, while the warm water can be very therapeutic.

Benefits of Hydrotherapy:

  • Increase in range of movement of joints.
  • Decrease in pain.
  • Increase in blood circulation.
  • Increased metabolic requirement.
  • Muscle mass building and strengthening.
  • Improvement in proprioception (i.e. the sense of relative position of body parts and strength of effort being employed in movement)

Walking under water requires much more effort than walking on land. Our specially trained team will assess and decide how much time a patient should spend walking on the treadmill. In general, during the initial sessions, your pet will walk less than 5 minutes on the treadmill. Depending on the individual case, duration can be extended to a maximum of 20 minutes. One should bear in mind that more time or a faster speed is not necessarily better for the patient.

Important points:

  • It is very important for the dog to develop a positive experience before, during and after the hydrotherapy session in order to maximize the therapeutic effect. Our team will spend a lot of time getting the patient comfortable and relaxed inside and outside the water tank.
  • Towels and hair dryers will be provided for you to dry your dog. You are more than welcome to bring your own towels and hairdryers.
  • Not every dog is fit for hydrotherapy. Dogs with hydrophobia, concurrent skin disease/infectious disease and open wounds are not suitable. In addition, if acupuncture is to be done at the same day, it should be done after the hydrotherapy session.

How to prepare my dog for hydrotherapy?

  • Bath your dog in advance.
  • Bring your dog outside to the toilet before the session begins.
  • Bring your dog’s favourite treats and/or squeaky toys to attract the dog to move on the treadmill.
  • It is not advisable to feed your dog for 6-hour prior to therapy session.

If you wish to discuss the benefits of acupuncture for your pet, please call and speak to one of our KVH nurses, or make an appointment with Dr. Amanda 2382 3300.