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Canine and Small Animal Rehabilitation Referral Clinic

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Hydrotherapy?

It is the treatment of conditions using the therapeutic qualities of warm water. Hydrotherapy treatments can be performed in either a pool or using an underwater treadmill. Stage1hydrotherapy will design and follow a program suited to the individual client’s needs.

How does the hydrotherapy work?

Because your dog will be exercising without bearing weight or with reduced loading of limbs, they can work their joints without the damage or associated pain caused by walking, running etc. Swimming also develops the muscles, strengthens the heart and respiratory system and improves general fitness levels.

Pool Vs Aquatic Treadmill

The hydrotherapy pool allows your pet to exercise in a non weight bearing environment which relieves pressure on joints reducing pain and encouraging movement. The pool is very useful for animals with severe osteoarthritis.

In the underwater treadmill the water height can be adjusted to precisely control the amount of weight bearing. The degree of weight bearing can be increased as the animal strengthens or recovers. The speed of the underwater treadmill can also be changed to achieve the best possible movement of the limbs. The dog can be viewed from all angles and this is very useful for assessing how it is moving and to make adjustments to get better quality movement. Re-educating gait or correct limb use is very important for dogs learning to walk again after spinal problems.

What results can I expect to see?

Initially your dog may be a bit tired after their hydrotherapy treatment but over a period of time you will notice increased muscle tone, suppleness and fitness.

How will I know if hydrotherapy is working?

A written assessment of your dog’s condition will be made and the treatment given at each session will be recorded. By doing this the progress that your dog makes can be monitored. All being well you will see the improvement for yourself in the improved mobility, fitness level and well being of your dog. The rate at which such progress is made will be dependent on the individual dog and their condition.

Does my vet have to refer me?

Here at Stage1hydrotherapy we do require confirmation from your vet that your dog is fit enough to be treated and does not have any conditions that may adversely affect your pet in the water.

How long is each session?

Session times vary depending on each dog’s needs. It is not unusual for initial treatment to last as little as 1 or 2 minutes. Thus reducing the risk of potential adverse reaction post treatment. As the patient’s conditioning improves the duration of each session is likely to increase. Sessions lasting 15 to 25 minutes are quite common.

How many sessions per week are needed?

There are no hard and fast rules and much depends upon the dog’s breed, age, weight, capability, medical condition and medical history and the reason for treatment. Stage1hydrotherapy will design and discuss the appropriate protocol with you.

Will the Bromine in the water harm my dog?

Canine hydrotherapy pools have used bromine safely for many years, and hydrotherapists are fully trained in water management so that chemical levels are monitored constantly throughout the day. Bromine is used because it is the most effective method of ensuring the water is free from bacteria.

Are all breeds of dog suited to hydrotherapy?

There are certain dog types who enjoy the swimming part of the hydrotherapy more than others, however, we here at Stage1hydrotherapy are equipped to deal with all shapes and sizes of dog from a Yorkshire Terrier to a Great Dane.

Why can’t I just swim my dog myself in the river?

Swimming in cold water restricts blood flow around the body. By coming to Stage1hydrotherapy Referral Clinic your pet will have the full benefit of a fully trained hydrotherapist on a one to one basis. Your pet will be swimming in water heated to a constant 30 degrees to allow the blood vessels to open and increase blood flow. This in turn promotes healing and rehabilitation on a much faster level.

How soon after surgery can I bring my dog in?

Always check with your vet who will recommend the appropriate course of treatment required.

My dog is overweight. Can hydrotherapy help with the weight loss my vet has recommended? 

Yes, many dogs attend and reach target weight when hydrotherapy is used in conjunction with a suitable diet.