Hydrotherapy can be used in the treatment of osteoarthritis, orthopaedic conditions, neurological conditions, muscle, ligament and other soft tissue injuries. It can also help with general convalescence and fitness.
Extensive work in human physiotherapy has demonstrated that a suitably monitored course of hydrotherapy acts by encouraging a full range of joint motion in reduced weight bearing conditions, thus improving muscle tone and promoting tissue repair, without imposing undue stress on damaged tissues.
Swimming helps to improve general fitness, cardiovascular stamina, muscle tone and is also helpful in aiding recovery from injury or surgery and improves fitness, especially in the management of obesity. Muscle wastage begins within 3 days of any immobilisation so to prevent further weakness or injury it is important to rebuild, through safe exercise, any muscles that have deteriorated.
It is important to swim dogs in heated water since cold water causes constriction of the blood vessels near the skin and to the superficial muscles (those just under the skin) which restricts the flow of blood making the muscles less efficient.
Hydrotherapy is also considered to be a natural anti-inflammatory through its ability to reduce tissue swelling.
Benefits of Hydrotherapy
Hydrotherapy in conjunction with veterinary treatment can significantly improve the quality and rate of healing following surgery or traumatic injury.
After surgery the careful use of hydrotherapy can help with rehabilitation and increase the chance of a successful return to full fitness. Enhancing general health and fitness can aid convalescence and speed up recovery.
Hydrotherapy has specific effects on body tissues:
- Relief of pain, swelling & stiffness
- Muscle strengthening and maintenance
- Alleviating muscle spasm
- Increased range of motion in joints
- Improved circulation
- Cardiovascular fitness (heart & lungs)
- Increased tissue healing
- Increased speed of recovery
Safe Exercise Without Stresses
Most dogs will cope quite happily with hydrotherapy as a form of exercise. However it is essential to get advice from your Veterinary Surgeon before taking your animal for treatment. For the welfare and safety of your dog we will liaise with your Veterinary Surgeon prior to commencing therapy.
Conditions That Benefit From Hydrotherapy
- Pre and post operative conditioning
- Osteorthritis – reduced pain and increased mobility
- Hip and elbow dysplasia – especially useful for young dogs who are restricted to lead exercise
- DM – degenerative myelopathy
- Spinal injuries
- Recovering from injuries – including fracture, soft tissue and neurological damage
- Cranial cruciate ligament injuries and post operative recovery
- Muscle strengthening maintenance and restoration
- Relief of pain, swelling and stiffness
- Relaxation of muscle spasms
- Cardiovascular fitness (heart and lungs)
- Obesity (weight loss in conjunction with diet)
- Mental well being
Hydrotherapy & Pet Insurance
It depends on the terms of your insurance policy and how the insurance company defines hydrotherapy but physio and hydrotherapy treatment are usually covered.
Some insurance companies limit the number of hydrotherapy sessions per condition; others will pay up to your insurance limit. Some companies include hydrotherapy under ‘complementary’ treatment whilst others have a hydrotherapy section in the policy.
Call your insurer and ask for clarification of your particular policy.
In case of dispute it is prudent to note the name of the person you spoke to, the date and time of the call as well as any information given to you. Do check if you need to get pre-authorisation for hydrotherapy treatment. If so, get the insurance company to send you the form immediately. Check if the insurance company will require a letter of referral for hydrotherapy from your vet and be sure to tell them that all treatment is via veterinary referral.
We are happy to assist you with insurance claim forms.