Have you heard of hydrotherapy for animals?
Has your vet recommended that your pet swim?
Hydrotherapy, or therapy with water, is beneficial for certain body ailments and helps to maintain your pet’s good health. Water can be used to alleviate ailments that your pet suffers from such as osteoarthritis, neurological problems, muscle pain, excess weight, etc., that in the long term can have negative effects on their health.
Furthermore, many behaviorists and canine educators recommend it as a relaxing therapy for nervous and hyperactive dogs.
Hydrotherapy provides us with many benefits: relief from pain, stiffness, swelling, strengthens the muscles, relieves muscle spasms, improves the range of mobility of the joints, improves circulation, improves cardio-respiratory resistance (by improving tolerance to exercise), and thanks to the floating phenomenon that occurs, it helps to mobilize and retrain the gait of animals that have difficulties or an inability to walk and move on dry land (severe osteoarthritis, neurological surgeries, fractures…) Hydrotherapy can be used for both acute and chronic cases, and depending on the animal’s state and ailment, the number of sessions, duration and intensity of the therapy will vary.
Water therapy can be done in pools (the animal can do any type of exercise), underwater treadmills (essential for retraining locomotion problems), jacuzzis (provides a massage and relaxation effect), and contrast baths (to treat circulatory problems). Hydrotherapy is beneficial for your animal’s care provided it is accompanied with a healthy diet and exercise. It can help accelerate the recovery process and maintenance in animals with certain diseases. For severe conditions in the kidneys, liver, heart, lungs, skin, cancer, etc., this therapy is not recommended and you should seek your veterinarian’s advice.
Marta Subirats Laguarda
Dog Physiotherapist: degree from the University of Tennessee