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Canine hydrotherapy is a water based therapy that is a great way to improve mobility and provide relief from pain and stiffness. Both the underwater treadmill and hydrotherapy pool use heated water which prevents the muscles cramping from weak and tight muscles. The limbs are able to move freely through full range of motion with no weight bearing, avoiding further injury and building strength. Hydrotherapy is a gentle form of therapy which is surprisingly effective when used in the correct way by a qualified and experienced hydrotherapist.

A canine hydrotherapy (or feline!) session at Synergy Small Animal Rehabilitation involves a physical assessment, looking at how the dog moves. Once this has been completed, your animal will be put into a harness or buoyancy jacket depending on the injury and what level of fitness they have. During the session your animals movement will be monitored, examined and changes made to ensure optimal movement and benefit is achieved. 

Treadmill or pool?

Dog hydrotherapy in general is a great way to re-introduce exercise into your pet’s life to improve mobility and quality of life when day to day activities become just too uncomfortable or when recovering from injury. The decision about which method is used for a particular case is usually made by our qualified veterinary physiotherapist or canine hydrotherapist. However, there are many reasons why we may recommend one over the other.

Hydrotherapy Pool:

  • The use of a hydrotherapy pool is ideal for dogs and cats which have conditions affecting their ability to move freely and comfortably. It is a non-weight exercise which is aided by the use of flotation jackets to aid support and buoyancy. Arthritis is one that many people associate with old age but sadly it can affect animals of all ages. The knock-on effects of arthritic type conditions are that muscles start to weaken and become tight not only around affected areas of the body but in general as daily exercise is reduced in an attempt to keep your pet comfortable.

  • By allowing your pets to swim in a heated pool with an experienced hydrotherapist they can enjoy physical exercise within a controlled environment without causing further injury or pain.

  • Not only does hydrotherapy allow limbs and muscles to stretch, extend and strengthen but the use of the pool is a great way to improve cardiovascular fitness and ait in weight loss too, something we don’t always think about when exercise is reduced.

  • The pool is a fantastic way to remain and improve general fitness for dogs who lead active lives whether that be in life in general or because they are working dogs in the field or agility world. Working dogs are just as prone to injury as pet dogs and need to keep a good level of fitness. 

Our hydrotherapy pool:

  • Our large pool is 6 metres by 3 metres. Whilst this can be used for a lot of our rehab patients, this size makes it ideal for fitness sessions and large dogs that take much bigger strokes in the pool.

  • There are jets to provide additional resistance to those dogs that are swimming for fitness, be that cardiovascular or weight loss, or at a later stage of their rehab and need an additional challenge.

  • Just like human swimming pools, our pool is always kept at a warm temperature to help keep our patients supple whilst they’re swimming.


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