The Benefits of Underwater Treadmills in Pet Rehabilitation

Recently, pet water therapy has become common practice in veterinary clinics and amongst pet rehabilitation specialists. Underwater treadmills now help cats, dogs, and other pets get back into good health. Aquatic therapy uses the therapeutic properties of water to improve range of motion, strengthen muscles, and boost endurance, while reducing the risk of injury. Pet water therapy can aid in the rehabilitation from soft tissue injuries, postoperative fracture care, neurological impairments, osteoarthritis, muscle weakness, geriatric care, weight issues, and postoperative amputation. Pets all over the country are being introduced to hydrotherapy and reaping the rewards. The practice is officially here to stay.

The Advantages Of Walking In Water

Using the thermal effects of water helps dogs, cats, and other pets relax during physical therapy. Warm water can lessen pain and make connective tissue flexible, facilitating a better range of motion and deeper stretching. The warmth of the water can also increase blood flow and motivation to speed up recovery. Since water aerobics and various forms of water therapy are considered “low-impact,” many pet rehabilitation specialists opt for this method of rehabilitation.

Pets enjoy many advantages from underwater treadmills, also referred to as hydro-treadmills. The buoyant properties of water minimizes the weight placed on fragile bones and joints. Reducing the weight put on the bones and joints is vital to increasing a pet’s endurance and strength without adding excess stress.

Pet water therapy also provides another major benefit. With the help of a water rehabilitation specialist, the speed of the treadmill can be customized to each pet based on the length of the pets’ legs and how much exertion the pet exudes. For example, a small breed dog would normally require a slower pace, while faster speeds are better for dogs with longer legs. While the size of the pet will help determine the starting speed, the rate of the exercise is always dictated by the pets’ specific needs and physical condition.

Getting Started with Pet Therapy

Many pets are initially frightened when introduced to water therapy, but over time they generally get used to the water and equipment. In most cases, pet therapists will allow the dog to run or walk on the treadmill inside the tank before filling it with water. Cats require extra special care when participating in water therapy. They require a relaxed, quiet environment and water set between 88 and 92 degrees Fahrenheit. The pet therapist will usually enter the tank first and remain with the cat for the entire duration of the rehabilitation appointment.

Pet rehabilitation is a relatively modern facet of veterinary medicine. Many veterinarians now offer this service, but not all of them. Consult with your veterinarian about their use of an underwater treadmill and other hydrotherapy equipment. If your veterinarian believes that your pet could benefit from pet water rehabilitation, they may refer you to an appropriate clinic.

Enjoying Therapy Advantages

Underwater treadmill rehabilitation is an effective form of medical treatment for pets. While water therapy can be beneficial to many pets, it is generally not recommended for pets with respiratory or cardiac disease due to the increased resistance which can be stressful on the body. It is also not ideal for pets that have skin sutures from recent surgeries. As with any new form of treatment, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian before undergoing therapy to ensure that your pet is evaluated properly.

For the right pets, water rehabilitation with equipment such as water treadmills can be highly beneficial to your pet. At first, water therapy can be very slow and the pet may tire easily. With regular exercise, the pet will be able to increase its stride and exercise without assistance. Many signs of pain will decrease over time and the pet will most likely obtain better health and wellness.

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