Originally published May 8th, 2008
A hydrotherapist and her client
at Integrative Pet Care in Chicago
According to the Canine Hydrotherapy Association, extensive work in human physiotherapy has demonstrated that a suitably monitored course of hydrotherapy acts similarly in canines by encouraging a full range of joint motion in reduced weight conditions, thus improving muscle tone and promoting tendon repair without imposing undue stress on damaged tissues and improving cardiovascular stamina.
It has long been established that hydrotherapy is beneficial in a comprehensive recovery program for certain injuries in the veterinary field including arthritis, hip dysplasia and other degenerative joint diseases. Until recently the use of hydrotherapy in animals was restricted to performance horses and racing greyhounds.
However, hydrotherapy can be very beneficial for our companion animals in many ways. From rehabilitation after surgery or an accident to the treatment of an acute or chronic condition as well as the prevention of injury for dogs that participate in competitive sports. While hydrotherapy is low-impact, the water creates resistance that greatly intensifies a work out at both a cardiovascular and musculoskeletal level. Hydrotherapy also engages additional muscles and joints beyond those used for your pet’s daily walks and can also increase normal range of motion.
Trained hydrotherapists always take a full patient history before any treatment and talk with you before before each hydrotherapy session so they can determine if adjusting speed, duration and water height is appropriate according to your pet’s progress.
If you live in the Chicagoland Metro area, you will find an excellent hydrotherapy center at Integrative Pet Care. To find a rehabilitation specialist in your area visit The Canine and Equine Rehabilitation Gateway.