Hydrotherapy and Veterinary Referrals
Article by Sian Norris BScAnSc, VN, CHA hydrotherapist
The word hydrotherapy literally means ‘water healing’. Hydrotherapy has a history of thousands of years, where the Ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks have been recorded to have found the benefits from its use, bathing in essential oils, and using public baths. A history of human physiotherapy and hydrotherapy has showed that hydrotherapy sessions are beneficial to animals by increasing their range of movement in a reduced weight controlled manner. Initial treatment started with race horses and racing greyhounds. Now pools, treadmills and spas are specifically designed for use with companion animals.
Many vets now use hydrotherapy pre operatively to increase muscle bulk, increase tone, reduce weight, increase the fitness of their patients, aid psychological well being and reduce pain.
Pre operative hydrotherapy is also useful as it is beneficial for animals to be accustomed to the pool environment prior to surgery as they will know the swimming routine and will be much more relaxed in a familiar environment.
A number of conditions may be made worse, or show no or slow improvement as a result of weight bearing exercise (dry land exercise). Examples of these conditions can include hip dysplasia (HD), osteochondritis dessicans (OCD), chronic degenerative radiculomyopathy (CDRM), luxating patella and cruciate ligaments, where weight bearing can be difficult. Other conditions that benefit from hydrotherapy include orthopaedic conditions ( post operative fracture repairs, arthritis or degenerative joint disease (DJD) etc), neurological conditions (intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), fibrocartilagenous embolism (FCE) etc), tendonitis, conditioning or lameness.
Hydrotherapy referral centres work by referral only. This means that they have veterinary consent to see a patient for rehabilitation purposes. Pools should be CHA approved, have warm, chemically sanitised water with easy access for animals. A hoist should be available for dogs that need to be lifted in and out of the pool.
For more information please contact Southfields Hydrotherapy on 0208 995 2060.