Why Hydrotherapy – Underwater Treadmill is not for all Dogs

Underwater Treadmill or Hydrotherapy is not a complete Rehabilitation Program

We get regular enquiries from people who have been advised to book their dogs in for Underwater Treadmill therapy to assist in recovery after orthopaedic surgery or other musculo-skeletal conditions.

While aquatic therapies such as Underwater Treadmill (UWTM) or pool swimmingHydrotherapy for Dogs can be extremely beneficial as part of a rehabilitation program – they are not suitable for all musculo-skeletal conditions.

Aquatic therapy should not be seen as a standalone therapy for these cases. Instead it should be a small part of a larger rehabilitation program incorporating multiple modalities & therapies.

We’ve had dogs referred to us for UWTM that couldn’t even stand following spinal surgery – let alone walk. In these cases – UWTM therapy ALONE is not a good starting point for therapy.

Others have just had orthopaedic procedures which involve healing of delicate tissue and internal implants – in these cases – the powerful forces generated by walking through water in a Underwater Treadmill would have done more harm than good. This is because – at this stage we need to concentrate more on strengthening the stabiliser muscles rather than the locomotor muscles.

What is a Rehabilitation Program?

A rehabilitation program is one that is made up of modalities & therapies that are specifically selected based on your pet’s condition. The program may or may not initially include any aquatic therapies such as UWTM or swimming. These may be introduced at a later stage in the program.

How do I know Hydrotherapy is right for my Dog?

In the Human world – your orthopaedic surgeon or Doctor doesn’t prescribe a recovery plan. They would refer you to a Physiotherapist who creates that program for you.

In pets – it works the same way.

Our Certified Rehabilitation Veterinarians conduct a full Rehabilitation Assessment from which a tailored program is prescribed. This might include multiple modalities – specifically designed for your pet’s needs.

We encourage you to seek out a qualified professional – a Rehabilitation Veterinarian or an Animal Physiotherapist to assess your dog first before just booking a Hydrotherapy session in yourself with a place that has those facilities.

If You Like Our Articles, Subscribe To Our Newsletter!