The importance of hydrotherapy and physiotherapy is increasingly recognised in veterinary medicine. Hydrotherapy (controlled swimming) is especially valuable for the veterinary patient, promoting excellent limb function in a non-weight bearing and thus minimally painful and a-traumatic environment.
Many surgical and medical disorders benefit from hydrotherapy and some examples are given below:
Hydrotherapy is applicable to almost all joint injuries of dogs and can occasionally be of use in other species. Its most popular and perhaps most productive use is in aiding the rehabilitation and repair following cruciate ligament ruptures.
These patients may be managed with surgery or conservative techniques; in either case limb disuse due to pain, habit or sensory changes can lead to reduced range of movement at the knee joint and wasted or even scarred muscles. Such changes may lead to permanent and irreversible limb dysfunction despite healing of the original injury and this can be restricted through appropriate hydrotherapy.
Hydrotherapy helps to maintain range of joint movement and muscle mass by encouraging effective non-traumatic limb use. It manages to do this in a non-weight bearing environment.
Hydrotherapy reduces exercise related discomfort and protects any surgical repair from excessive strain during the healing period.
Limb disuse can be a problem after surgical repair of fractures, especially smaller dogs that can easily carry an affected limb. Controlled use of a fractured bone encourages healing, but too much can jeopardise a surgical repair. Hydrotherapy helps to strike the right balance.
Dogs with arthritis are often sore after rest following exercise, as excessive joint use causes inflammation in the affected joint and subsequent pain.
Lameness progressing to longer-term limb disuse, muscle wastage and poor joint range of movement is the result. Hydrotherapy allows joint range of movement to be maintained and muscle function to continue with minimal trauma and inflammation to the joints.
Always ask your vet first whether hydrotherapy is appropriate for your pet.
We have several local hydrotherapy pools all of whom may be able to offer professional services to you and your pet. One local hydrotherapy pool is registered as a veterinary treatment site and we have had excellent results from animals attending it.
Carlton Kennels and Hydrotherapy Pool, Yeadon. Tel: 0113 250 5113