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hydrotherapy for arthritis(13 Posts)
My dog has quite bad arthritis in her front legs. I have been looking at the claim that hydrotherapy can strengthen her muscles without putting any stress on her joints. But surely in order to gain any benefit she would need to go several times a week.
You need to get a vet referral to a physio to assess your dog. Hydro may be the answer but what is also great is an underwater threadmill depending on what area has arthritis.
We have always started off with 2 sessions per week.
Hydro usually works alongside other exercises that you will be doing daily at home.
Most dogs only go once a week initially to build up except spinal cases who ideally need 2-3 times as they tire more quickly & are more restricted with their mobility on land,
Whether In the pool or underwater treadmill it is hard work and will likely be engaging more muscles than usual and more freely as often body is compensating for any issues, the water offers support & is heated to therapeutic levels (28-32c) so reduces any strain.
By improving mobility the dogs are able to do more daily which is building/maintaining muscle mass. Little & often with walks is better than longer that leaves them exhausted/stiff. Many clients coming for arthritis or chronic conditions opt to carry on as maintenance finding stopping had a detrimental effect, so may go fortnightly to monthly whatever works best for their dog.
Anyone can set up as hydrotherapy centre & may not be qualified hydrotherapists, the water should look like human pool not green. It’s fine to arrange to visit dogless before paying for session.
For arthritis it would also benefit combining with physiotherapy (some centres do both) & laser therapy is excellent at reducing inflammation/pain & increasing healing. I have a dodgy back so make use of laser & magnetic pulse mat at ours, there’s no sensation from them except sometimes slight warming if increasing blood flow to area, the animals often relax while being treated.
Referral is because legally need vets consent to provide treatment & know that it’s not going to be detrimental. They also provide the dogs history. Our centre has a form can download & take to your vet or contact the vets on clients behalf when they register. As long as the vets seen your dog recently most are ok with providing this.
Thanks. My vet is in favour of hydrotherapy and my insurance will pay part of the fee for up to 10 sessions. So if it is ok to go just once a week after the initial sessions we would be able to carry on. I didn't want to start hydrotherapy and find have to stop because of the cost.
Have a look at Canine Arthritis Management too, who have a great website and FB page with lots of reputable, vet professional help There may be little things you can do at home which all contribute to slowing the progression of arthritis.
I have been looking at the website of the hydrotherapy place nearby and am a bit put off because it warns about the slippery surface around the pool. Really don't want to fall. Plus my dog is frightened of the blaster so she would go home wet - and cold as we are going into autumn. She is doing well these past few days so we may reconsider in the spring.
Appreciate your help everyone.
Slippy floor may just be mentioned so people go in sensible shoes.
At ours they dry the dogs off post shower with an absorption towel, like an artificial shammy that sucks up more water than cotton one, then clients bring own towel to dry off any excess, there is a blaster to use but often dogs with heavy coats have already experienced using them. In winter dog coats are popular to help dry/keep warm on way home.
Physiotherapy/laser is likely also covered under insurance. There are various medications & treatments for arthritis available. My dog also has cartrophen injections, it depends on dog whether have beneficial effect or none but its fairly cheap to try a course (1 weekly injection x 4 is £80 at my vets).
Not trying to change your mind but just letting you know our experience.
I have an oldie who has hydro regularly. I guess the surrounds of the pool are the same as a swimming pool, so fine if you are walking (but no running or petting!) I am recovering from knee surgery so am a bit doddery myself at the moment but I wear wet shoe socks and they are really grippy around the pool but you will not need to go near the pool once your dog is happy if you don't want to
My oldie did not like the blaster but with slow conditioning he now loves it. However before he did we used to pop a double dog coat from springthings on him and he was lovely and toasty and dry by the time he got home. We still put it on him to keep him warm in the winter sessions.
We have found it is really useful to do in the winter as my guy finds it harder to exercise in the cold and the hydro is great for him. He does love it and as he is now older I like being able to have some one to one time without the young dogs.
My dog loves her hydrotherapy. They dry her with towels, as she's scared of noises. It's really helped, she goes every 3 weeks & is stronger for it.
Our dog has being going to hydrotherapy fo years now to help his arthand spondylitis. It really helps with building up muscle mass and keeping the old joints mobile!
Yes, of course it gets wet around the pool but wear sensible shoes and you’ll have no problem. Your dog is frightened of the drier? How do you know if you’ve not been. And even if he doesn’t like it at first, chances are he will get used to it.
I def recommend you give it a go, I’m sure your dog will benefit. The vet wouldn’t recommend it otherwise. And with autumn approaching, he is going to be more susceptible to joint aches and pains so it would be good to work on his mobility now.
Arthritis and spondylitis, not arthand!
Reading about all your experiences has been very helpful. I will certainly consider hydrotherapy as a treatment option. My vet didn't exactly recommend it. I suggested hydrotherapy and acupuncture when she was diagnosed and he agreed it might help.
gifaffy We tried a blaster when she was young. She's a very confident dog not fazed by anything in her life so far - other than hairdryers, fans and of course the blaster