Just like us, dogs need rehabilitation too after surgery or an injury. Rehabilitation can speed up recovery and achieve strength, balance, cognition and can increase function and mobility of joints and muscles. It can reduce pain and inflammation and enhances a better quality of life for your pooch. Rehabilitation therapies are also great for degenerative diseases, age related conditions and obesity.
Canine rehabilitation can be traced back to the early 1980’s in Europe and the United States, where Equine Rehabilitation was introduced back in the 1960’s. Australia is slowly starting to catch up with the USA and Europe on all the fabulous rehabilitation therapies and modalities that are now on offer to help our four legged friends achieve optimum mobility.
Rehabilitation therapy should be a standard feature of the complete care plan for post surgery, injured, disabled or otherwise debilitated dogs as the benefits will make the world of difference to their health and well being.
Detecting that your dog may have an issue may sometimes be hard, but you may start to notice some of the following:
Common Problems Associated With Musculoskeletal Issues
Common Conditions Treated
Why is Rehabilitation Important
Quality of life is the focus for the patient and optimising movement. Low impact cardiovascular training is used for rehabilitation to ensure pain relief and management. Canine rehabilitation can return a dog’s range of motion and strengthen injured or weakened areas.
Forms of Rehabilitation
Hydrotherapy treatment is used to effectively rehabilitate animals after injury or surgery, as well as used for fitness and performance enhancement, weight loss and to maximise functional movement in the older arthritic dog.
Tego, a Doberman, having a hydrotherapy lesson
Non-weight bearing conditions are treated with swimming, as the flotation supports the entire body weight and the limbs move freely without the “jarring” effect of exercising on hard ground.
Under Water Treadmil
UWT achieves 60-70% weightless exercise without changing normal movement patterns.
Controlled speed and water levels improves benefit to your dog, supporting them and shortening recovery time.
Proprioceptive and balance exercise teaches the body to control the position of a compromised or an injured joint.
Therapeutic exercise can provide a wide range of benefits for rehabilitation patients.
Proprioception and balance exercise is becoming one of the most valuable modalities used in animal rehabilitation for recovery and strengthening, increased pain free range of motion, flexibility, building muscle strength and muscle mass, endurance and preventing further injury. Therapeutic exercises can help animals recover faster from surgical procedures or injuries and will help with the animal to return to its best functional independence as possible.
The main emphasis in strengthening is mainly resistance training. In a recovering patient strengthening needs to start slowly and gradually build up as the patient progresses. Core strengthening assists in preventing injuries.
There are many rehabilitation/mobility devices out in the market ranging from wheel chairs, harnesses to toe grips that are wonderfully helpful for both dogs and their humans.
Herbal Medicine and Supplements
Herbs and supplements can be added to the diet to assist in joint issues, mobility, immune problems and muscle atrophy.
Photonic Therapy is a scientifically advanced form of acupuncture using light, instead of needles, to stimulate recognised acupuncture points. It offers a safe, painless & effective method treatment, which promotes healing and largely eliminates the need to suffer pain.
The energy of light (photons) is transformed into electrical energy by the connective tissue under the skin. This electrical energy is transmitted to the brain by the nerves.
Acupuncture points are known to be areas in the skin of increased electrical conductivity, the stimulation of which can change a body function. By stimulating these certain skin areas, we can change the perception or messages the brain is receiving. This causes the brain to release certain chemicals, painkillers and anti-inflammatories, which activate the body's healing processes.
In Summary: Each dog will be individual so their rehabilitation program will vary on each particular patient. Rehabilitation allows better quality of life, restores strength, mobility and speeds up recovery as well as assisting in pain management and pain relief.
K9 Swim is a state-of-the-art rehabilitation centre and the only one of its kind in Australasia which offers many of these therapies under the one roof.
We have our Hydrotherapy indoor heated pool and Under water treadmill,
Photonic Therapy, Massage, Herbal remedies as well as the latest supplements, rehabilitation aids for many conditions and our inhouse Osteopath Dr Samantha Sherrington and our alternative Vet Dr Rob Willis.
A Vet referral form will be necessary for your dog to come to us for rehabilitation and we do offer rehab packages
Our next “Learn to Massage your own Dog” course will be run on Sunday 23rd February
Date: Sunday 23rd February 2020
Time: 10:00am - 3:00pm
Address: K9 Swim Training Room, 853 Kurmond Road North Richmond
Total cost: $150.00
Learn with your own dog.
Upon completion you will be awarded with a Statement of Attendance.
Hydrotherapy is a form of non-weight bearing, low-impact exercise that is extremely effective in the rehabilitation of painful, weak and sore joints. The non-weight bearing conditions are first treated with controlled swimming movements. The entire body gets proper support from the floatation. The limbs are able to move very freely and there is no jarring like that which occurs while exercising on any hard surfaces.
Swimming is proven to be one of the best forms of exercise because almost all the muscles that are used in movement are also involved in this activity. You don’t have to worry about any stresses that come from running on concrete or any other hard surfaces.
The Impact of Walking on Hard Surfaces
Why Canine Hydrotherapy is a Great Option
It isn’t uncommon for the terms swimming and hydrotherapy to be used interchangeably. But the fact is that these are essentially different in terms of the effects and benefits they offer. When a dog is swimming it means they are completely buoyant in the water and this is very different from hydrotherapy.
The latter is an aquatic exercise that is carried out in a much more controlled manner, which means the pet’s body isn’t overburdened in any way. Hydrotherapy is water healing and its value lies in the buoyancy, warmth and pressure that it provides. Some of the primary benefits of this form of exercise include:
Dogs that require improvement with core strength,cardiovascular strengthening, flexion, proprioception, extension, gait improvement, muscle building, will surely benefit from hydrotherapy.
The Positive Impacts of Hydrotherapy
Here are some facts about hydrotherapy and why it is the best form of exercise for our canine friends:
Hydrotherapy for Arthritic Joints
If your pet has arthritis, that can lead to painful & swollen joints. These conditions can make it very difficult for them to exercise or even walk comfortably. In fact, your dog may find it challenging to get up if they have been lying down for a very long period of time.
The inactivity ultimately takes its toll on your pet’s body and they may start to gain weight as well. This impacts their health even further and adds more pressure on the joints. All of these problems can be addressed very effectively with hydrotherapy.
Swimming your pet in a special indoor heated pool is one of the best ways to speed up recovery post-surgery as well. It helps improve general fitness, stamina and muscle tone and conditions and strengthens the body. Your dog will also learn how to swim and will begin to shed those extra kilos if they are overweight. A five-minute swim is equivalent to a 5 kilometre walk.
Other Conditions That Can Be Helped by Hydrotherapy:
Hydrotherapy typically begins 4 to 6 weeks after their operation. Consult your vet about when the best time is to start hydrotherapy for your pet, post and pre-surgery. Your vet would need to fill in a Vet Referral form . You’d have to give this to the Hydro-therapist before starting on any treatment. This will help ensure your Hydro-therapist designs the perfect treatment plan for your pet. This treatment is extremely effective and can reduce your pet’s recovery time by at least 50%.
Some Additional Facts
Many pet parents wonder whether swimming their dogs in rivers, oceans or dams has the same benefits. If your pet has a condition, swimming in these settings has a number of disadvantages. While it’s true that a dog can swim very freely in these waters, the temperature of the water is cold and some of the points you need to consider include:
Hydrotherapy for Fun and General Exercise
Swimming is a great form of exercise for pets young and old. Hydrotherapy isn’t only for pets that have become injured, are recovering from surgery or are overweight. These sessions can be a source of entertainment and fun for your healthy pet as well. It helps them burn energy, stimulates their mind and canines have a ton of fun retrieving a Frisbee or ball in the water. K9 SWiM has also hosted dog parties where clients have booked the pool for their dog’s birthday and invited some of their pooch friends along.
Enquire at K9 Swim for hiring the pool for your club or party. Conditions Apply.
Hydrotherapy at K9 Swim
The low-impact therapeutic effects of hydrotherapy make it the perfect form of exercise for pets that are suffering from arthritis, aching and inflamed joints. It helps your canine friends gain muscle tone and fitness and also offers a safe and fun way to get a full body work out.
At our centre you can rest assured that your pet will be treated with the utmost care and safety. We are very passionate about what we do and your pets can enjoy some time in the warm water of our indoor pool. Our centre is unique and the modern complex has been purposefully designed and built for dogs’ fitness, fun and rehabilitation. In fact, we are one of a kind in all of NSW.
Different Hydrotherapy Programs
The indoor heated pool and underwater treadmill is great not just for rehabilitation and fun but for conditioning swims as well. While it’s a great place for older dogs, we also run classes for puppies as well. Based on the specific needs of your pets, you can choose from:
When it comes to maintain the long-term wellbeing of your dog, ensuring they are in peak physical condition is what matters the most. The positive muscle toning, strengthening effects and overall fitness benefits that hydrotherapy provides is a whole lot of fun and a great way to get your pet to expend his energy in a healthy and consistent manner. When you choose to bring your dog to K9 SWIM you know that they are getting the best attention from certified and professional Hydro-therapists. No matter what age or size your dog is, we have a program for them.
Focus on Canine Holistic Health at our K9 SWiM Hydrotherapy and Wellness Centre
The Hydrotherapy Centre has an indoor heated pool along with an underwater treadmill and provides services from fun or conditioning swims to rehabilitation. Courses and seminars will be run in the training room within the centre in the near future.
The Wellness Centre is all about Holistic health with the following practitioners practicing out of the centre:
For more information, feel free to browse our website.
Or why not drop by and check out the new centre for yourself.
We are excited to share with you that our Canine Underwater Treadmill has been installed at our new K9 SWiM Wellness Centre at North Richmond. Bookings will be available for Wednesdays starting from February, 2017. Dogs can benefit greatly from this form of Hydrotherapy for rehabilitation, fitness and health.
What is a Canine Underwater Treadmill?
The Canine Underwater Treadmill is a walking treadmill enclosed in a tank of water specifically designed for dogs. The resistance and speed can be adjusted along with the depth of water this allows for a progressive therapy program to be tailored for each dog, from the smallest to the largest.
How the Canine Underwater Treadmill Works
The dog walks into the tank and warm water gradually starts to rise to the correct level for their size and condition. The treadmill belt will then move and the dog will walk for a set period of time. The treadmill’s resistance and speed is controlled and adjusted for each dog’s condition. Once the dog has finished their session, the water then drains out of the tank and the dog can easily walk down the ramp.
Benefits of the Canine Underwater Treadmill
Hydrotherapy sessions with the Canine Underwater Treadmill provide resistance and buoyancy, which alleviates the pressure off your dog’s limbs and joints. The reduced weight-bearing load increases the functional use of their limbs. The warm water used in the treadmill helps reduce pain and inflammation, which can also make connective tissue more flexible and increase blood and oxygen in muscles. Programs are specifically designed for your dog’s condition to gain the maximum benefits such as:
The Canine Underwater Treadmill is great for rehabilitation in dogs especially for orthopaedic or neurological conditions. It encourages walking or jogging with a more normal gait pattern, which is beneficial to dogs.
Below are some conditions that dogs that the underwater treadmill can assist with:
Conditioning and Training
Competition, Athletic and Agility dogs will benefit on the underwater treadmill in conditioning, strengthening and cardiovascular fitness from the water’s resistance. It boosts endurance and helps reduce the risk of injury.
Overweight dogs can exercise safely, improve their cardiovascular system and muscle strength quickly without the jarring effects of exercising on land.
Keep in Mind
As with any new form of treatment, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian before undergoing hydrotherapy. If your dog has had surgery or is recovering from an injury a Vet Referral Form is required before making your booking with us. If you have any questions please contact us.
Book your consultation and session now
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Hi I'm Sharon Osmond the owner and founder of K9 Swim. The Splash Blog is where I share tips and information on dog's health and safety and some fun facts and stories.