Essex Animal Hospital provides physical therapy for dogs using hydro treadmills. Hydrotherapy allows your pet to have fun, lose weight, and alleviate pain from injuries and chronic conditions. Some benefits of hydrotherapy sessions include muscle strengthening, improved flexibility, improved cardiovascular fitness, weight loss, early return to exercise after surgery.
Hydrotherapy and Weight Management
A recent study showed that dogs kept lean lived longer and had fewer medical problems. Similar studies in people and lab animals have similar findings. It seems so simple however love for our pets sometimes leads to excessive treats, table food and uncontrolled feeding.
Managing your pet’s weight with diet alone often results in less than rewarding results. A proper diet along with regular, controlled exercise are a much more promising and proven way of weight management. Unfortunately, for some obese pets, exercise is not possible due to the effects of deconditioning and/or other medical concerns. Controlled exercise programs using the underwater treadmill and or swimming pool are a great solution in these situations as the natural buoyancy of water decreases the demand on the bones and joints. This not only improves mobility, but helps in strengthening the muscles, cardiovascular conditioning, and success with weight loss.
Land Treadmill Training
Like our underwater treadmill therapy, we use a specially developed land treadmill for dogs to increase strength, balance, and coordination. This form of therapy has advantages such as:
- Strengthening and bone growth stimulation
- Development of specific muscle groups is possible due to ability to vary incline/decline of treadmill
- More beneficial at certain stages of post-joint surgery rehabilitation (cruciates, hips, elbows)
One of the limitations of the land treadmill is that there is no ability to reduce pressure on the joints as there is with the hydro-treadmill therapy. Therefore, hydro-treadmill therapy is used primarily for patients with joint pain, whereas land treadmill therapy is used primarily for strengthening in the absence of pain, or for gait training.