Prehabilitation Before Surgery

21st Jan 2024|Dog Health|Safety

Is your dog heading towards orthopaedic surgery?

Gain an advantage by beginning a programme of Hydrotherapy prior to the surgery.

Preparation for your rehabilitation is important. Here at K9 SWiM we have many patients who visit us prior to their operation, and then return after the surgery is completed. Even though post-surgery rehabilitation is very important we feel pre surgery patients are just as important for a better chance of recovery and to assist in strengthening their systems for the surgery itself.

If your dog is overweight this is a great form of gentle exercise to help tone, strengthen and condition so the risks are reduced when going under anaesthetic during the surgery.

Strengthening before surgery is important as it assists in regaining some range of movement in the areas of weakness, builds and maintains muscle mass as muscle atrophy will be inevitable after surgery.

Prehabilitation also conditions the cardiovascular system (heart and lungs) and it will also assist in a smoother and faster recovery time post-surgery.

Following most surgeries dogs can lose up to one third of their muscle mass in a matter of days/weeks and if not doing any rehabilitation it may take up to a year before they regain that muscle and strength.

Just like us, dogs need rehabilitation for orthopaedic surgeries/procedures for better healing and to transition the dog back into normal day to day activities by strengthening and rebuilding the muscles around the affected areas. It assists in improving the performance and range of movement and provides positive psychological effects.

Why Hydrotherapy is so good for your dog

  • The body’s natural buoyancy in water relieves body weight, allowing for easier functional movements. Being totally non weight bearing to an injured dog allows them to move freely, stretch out and start to rebuild muscle and strength.
  • The hydrostatic pressure of the water has positive effects on reducing swelling in joints which in turn helps regain more range of movement and reduces pain.
  • Further positive influences on pain regulation are due to the relaxation effect of warm water and suppression of the sympathetic nervous system associated with water submersion.
  • The sensory input of the water can also increase body position sense enabling improved feelings of balance and confidence.
  • Your dog will be more relaxed and have an understanding of what’s happening for the post-surgery rehabilitation.

K9 SWiM - Prehabilitation Hydrotherapy Before Surgery

The Benefits of Pre & Post-Op Hydrotherapy for your dog

  • Improves exercise intolerance
  • Speeds up recovery & healing.
  • Keeps muscle mass strong before surgery.
  • Reduction in pain perception
  • Increased circulation
  • Increase lymphatic drainage, rid the body of toxins and improve the immune system.
  • Encourages better digestion and better sleep.
  • Reducing inflammation and pain after surgery
  • Promoting early weight bearing.
  • Strengthening supporting tissues
  • Decreasing compensatory muscle, myofascial, and back pain
  • Providing mental stimulation for pets who have had restricted activity.
  • Improving coordination and balance
  • Reversing muscle atrophy
  • Promoting weight loss (if needed)
  • Safely promoting faster return to function

We would be very happy to talk to you about your dog’s needs before and after surgery. Please fill out a veterinary referral form and email it to

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