Swimming in a pool or at the beach is not as effective as walking through water primarily because dogs tend to swim with their legs tucked under their body and don’t extend their legs as they do while walking. An underwater treadmill provides low impact exercise in a reduced gravity environment. Exercise is done in water to help dogs regain strength, range of motion and endurance while reducing the risk of further injury. Vigorous swimming especially if a dog isn’t used to swimming can lead to increased soreness, stress and pain.

Water offers the natural properties of buoyancy and resistance taking the stress off painful joints & limbs, whilst allowing the animal to exercise. We can control the water temperature, depth and treadmill speed to individualise the treatment program to the patients and particular problem. Muscle strength and mobility can be regained after trauma, invasive orthopaedic or spinal surgery. The treadmill helps improve strength & increase endurance in overweight and poorly muscled dogs.

Pet Emergency & Specialist Centre has constructed a dedicated rehabilitation room to house the treadmill. There is non-slip flooring, floor drainage and all of the pipes and pumps and conveniently located in a separate room. Pet owners are able to become involved in their pets therapy sessions. Our therapists are often in the tank with your dog when they undergo their first few sessions. If pets become familiar and comfortable with the therapy they are often able to wade by themselves, with the owner just holding a lead from the front of the tank.

Conditions that can be managed with hydrotherapy:

  • Arthritis of the spine, hip, knees and elbow
  • TPLO – knee reconstruction
  • DeAngelis – knee reconstruction
  • Joint replacement
  • Excision arthroplasty – hip surgery
  • Muscular weakness due to lack of activity
  • Obesity
  • Paralysis due to disc prolapse
  • Postoperative fracture repair

Dr Chris Preston our surgeon was co-author on the positive effect of regular physical therapy in the rehabilitation process after cruciate ligament knee surgery in dogs: Effects of early intensive postoperative physiotherapy on limb function after tibial plateau leveling osteotomy in dogs with deficiency of the cranial cruciate ligament.  Monk ML, Preston CA, McGowan CM.  American Journal of Veterinary Research March 2006, Vol. 67, No. 3, Pages 529-536)

Case studies