PET HYDROTHERAPY AND UNDERWATER TREADMILL

As part of our physiotherapy treatments, we offer animal 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 Pet Hydrotherapy:

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

Walking underwater requires much more effort than walking on land. The canine underwater treadmill has made an appearance on many popular veterinary television series, as it is a popular and highly effective method of treatment for dog rehabilitation. 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, the duration can be extended to a maximum of 20 minutes. One should bear in mind that more time or faster speed is not necessarily better for the patient.

Hydrotherapy May Be Suitable For:

  • Dogs and cats with arthritis
  • Dogs with hip dysplasia
  • Overweight dogs and cats
  • Dogs and cats with muscle or ligament tears
  • IVDD and spinal injuries in dogs and cats
  • Dogs and cats with mobility issues or joint pain

Important points:

  • It is very important for the dog to develop a positive experience before, during and after the animal 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 and off the underwater treadmill.
  • Towels and hair dryers will be provided for you to dry your pet. You are more than welcome to bring your own towels and hairdryers.
  • Not every animal is fit for pet hydrotherapy. Animals 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 or cat for hydrotherapy?

  • Bath your dog in advance.
  • Bring your dog outside to the toilet before the session begins.
  • Bring your pet’s favourite treats and/or toys to attract them to move on the underwater treadmill.
  • It is not advisable to feed your pet 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.