WELCOME TO NEWCASTLE K9 HYDROTHERAPY.
Newcastle K9 Hydrotherapy offers a professional service with highly qualified canine hydrotherapists all having achieved the ABC accredited Level 3 Certificate in Hydrotherapy for Small Animals.
We work on a veterinary referral basis only so that we can ensure that your dog is suitable for treatment and that the treatment plan is designed in specifically for your dog’s conditions and in conjunction with any other existing medical conditions. If you would like to know if your dog would benefit from hydrotherapy please feel free to contact us or speak with your vet.
WHAT IS HYDROTHERAPY?
Hydrotherapy is a controlled aquatic exercise in sanitised and heated water and in conjunction with veterinary treatment can significantly improve the rate and quality of healing following traumatic injury or surgery. This increases the chance of your dog returning to full fitness. It is also of benefit to young developing dogs that have been diagnosed with developmental conditions.
The main therapeutic effects include:
- Non or reduced weight bearing exercise
- Relief from pain, swelling and stiffness
- Improved circulation
- Muscle strengthening, maintenance and rehabilitation.
- Promotion of relaxation and alleviation of muscle spasm
- Increased range of motion in joints
- Gait modification
- Increased proprioception
- Cardiovascular fitness
- Increased tissue healing
- Increased speed of recovery
Conditions that benefit from hydrotherapy
Hydrotherapy is an excellent form of exercise for most animals and helps to improve cardiovascular endurance, gait modification, proprioception, flexion and extensions of joints, muscle bulk, and core strength. Specific conditions that benefit greatly from hydrotherapy include but are not limited to:
Hydrotherapy prior to surgery can help to tone and build muscle and can be effective without further damage to affected joints. This can help to reduce the dog’s rehabilitation time post surgery as well as make the process easier.
Post-operative rehabilitation can significantly assist and speed of the rate of recovery. Common examples include total hip replacement, cruciate repair, patella luxation, femoral head and neck excision and arthroscopy.
Hydrotherapy can be particularly useful for young dogs that may have restricted exercise regimes due to hip and/ or elbow dysplasia patella luxation and OCD. Safe controlled aquatic exercise will improve muscle bulk and strength, increase range of motion of joints and reduce pain, swelling and stiffness.
These can be greatly improved by an individually designed treatment plan for Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) or CDRM, Intervertebral Disc Protrusion/Degenerative Disc Disease, Fibro-Cartilaginous Embolism (FCE), Cervical Vertebral Malformation, Spinal Stenosis, Spinal Injury/Trauma/Shock, Neuromuscular Disease, Discospondylitis and Peripheral Neuropathies.
Hydrotherapy can benefit dogs suffering form a range of degenerative conditions such as Osteoarthritis (DJD) primary and secondary to developmental conditions, Spondylosis and some of the performance and stamina problems that occur with old age.
If hydrotherapy is used in conjunction with a veterinary recommended diet it can be significantly beneficial as an aid to weight loss due to the reduced weight bearing and low impact exercise that hydrotherapy provides.
This includes muscle strains and sprains, ligament strain and tendonitis.
HOW DOES HYDROTHERAPY WORK?
The properties of heated water each exert different effects on the body, enabling safe controlled exercise which encourages an increase in range motion, muscle tone, cardiovascular fitness and tissue repair.
Muscle wastage begins within 3 days of any immobilisation so to prevent further weakness or injury it is important to rebuild the muscle through safe exercise and hydrotherapy is an excellent form of exercise because most of the muscles used in daily movement are involved but without the stresses caused by impact on land. Hydrotherapy allows the muscles to be worked whilst avoiding this potentially damaging concussion. Due to the increased resistance to movement created by the water, the muscles have to work harder than they would do on land.
Warm water relaxes muscles and increases the circulation of blood, thereby increasing the supply of oxygen and nutrients and flushing away waste products which in turn leads to a reduction in pain and stiffness and reduced swelling around an injured area and enhances healing.
The buoyancy property of water reduces the load on weight bearing joints helping to reduce pain and allow easier movement and exercise. Hydrostatic pressure applied by the to the water to the body assists in reducing swelling. As the pressure increases with depth this encourages fluid swelling (oedema) in the limbs to move away from affected areas. This is further assisted by exercising the limb and improving circulation. Buoyancy and hydrostatic pressure also help to support the body during exercise which aids the re-education of gait patterns in neurological conditions and reloading of a limb post-surgery.
Pain, swelling, or stiffness often results in a decreased range of motion. The buoyancy of water can help to gently encourage stiff joints into an improved range of movement with minimal additional pain. Increasing flexion and extension in the water allows an increase in range of motion when back on dry land.
Hydrotherapy tones most of the major muscle groups and improves the general overall fitness of the dog due to the fact that movement in water is more difficult due to the resistance of the water. Water based exercise uses 30% more oxygen than similar land based exercise. By encouraging pain free limb movement against the resistance of water, muscle bulk will increase and thus muscle wastage will be reversed.
For most dogs even a short hydrotherapy session is an extremely strenuous workout as in the water the heart is required to work considerably harder in order to meet the increased demand for oxygen and nutrients by the muscles which are being exercised. However the buoyancy of the water and the fact that sudden twists, stops and falls are impossible, makes hydrotherapy a safe and effective form of exercise and it’s also very enjoyable for most animals. Whilst immersed in water the chest is subjected to the effects of hydrostatic pressure; this means that every breath requires more effort. In particular muscles used for breathing in have to work much harder and as muscles strengthens with exercise this improves the whole respiratory system.
The Aquatic Treadmill
The aquatic treadmill is an important tool in animal rehabilitation as it allows the hydrotherapist to target specific muscles for maximum joint mobilisation.
Newcastle K9 Hydrotherapy utilise two aquatic treadmills, the Hydro Physio 200 and the Physio Tech both of which have glass sides enabling easy assessment of the dogs movement during the treatment sessions. The water level in the treadmill can be altered allowing the therapist to target flexion and extension on the effected joint and the variable speed allows the correct gait pattern to be encouraged.
For the safety of all of our clients correct management of the levels of chemicals used in the water must be maintained. In order to accomplish this, the water quality is read three times a day using a photometer. The temperature of the water is also of vital importance and at Newcastle K9 Hydrotherapy the water is maintained between 30 – 320c