Canine Hydrotherapy

In simple definition, canine hydrotherapy is the use of water as a cure or treatment for an ailment. These treatments are generally used for aiding in the healing process of recovery before and after a surgery, as well as the health and fitness of the dog in general.

Canine Hydrotherapy as a Cure

Physical therapy has been found to be affective, though many conditions only become worse when being forced to handle weight. Some of these sensitive ailments include osteochondritis dissecans, hip dysplasia, luxating patella, chronic degenerative radiculomyelopathy, and injuries that affect the cruciate liagment or any other liagments.

Adding the weight of exercise on the already tender and sensitive areas after a surgery can irritate and increase the chance of worsening the existing conditions, as well as making new ones or causing new injury. When adding the weightless environment of water, it allows for the ease of physical therapy while leaving behind the thought and worry of adding weight onto areas that cannot handle it.

The Pool Design

The designs of the pool used in canine hydrotherapy vary, but for the most part they look like a normal swimming pool. The water is warmed because it has been found that your dog will benefit from the soothing affects of warm water on their muscles. Generally there is a sort of ramp so the dog can be slowly eased into walking into the pool, and there will be harnesses to attach your dog to in order to keep him or her in a maintained position in the water. The water will be either chlorinated or have some other cleaning element, and some hydrotherapy pools even include water jets to add resistance and cause your dog to swim strongly.

History of Canine Hydrotherapy

In the case of humans, hydrotherapy has been used since ancient times, and it has also been used on horses for centuries. It is financially beneficial to those who race horses to use hydrotherapy as a means to prevent and treat leg injuries, which means that the owners do not need to go out and buy themselves a new star horse. The next step was found in the greyhound dog racing industry, which saw the benefits found in using equestrian hydrotherapy treatment and decided to use it on their racing dogs. From there, this therapy moved on to extend its services to dogs as well.

Uses of Canine Hydrotherapy

Canine hydrotherapy has been proven to speed the recovery process after surgeries and slow down the effects and progression of diseases and conditions that cause degeneration. It can also be used before surgeries to help strengthen and maintain physical conditions before a time when your dog will be unable to exercise as it normally would. In immediate cases of congenital conditions in young puppies who are still too young for surgery, it can be used to help keep the condition from becoming worse.

Injuries of the spine may cause motor function impairment and can be treated simply by hydrotherapy. During the sometimes slow process of regenerating and healing nerves, it can provide support and let your dog continue to exercise freely and without discomfort.

Hydrotherapy also relieves the weight given on joints, so if your dog has a condition that bearing weight might aggravate, canine hydrotherapy will not only relieve the stress of the weight on joints but will also allow your dog to exercise when it would normally be too weak or in too much pain.