IS CANINE (DOG) hydrotherapy SAFE?

Because of its effectiveness, hydrotherapy, or water exercise, has become popular in Singapore. The first hydrotherapy was managed by a lady who has a big heart for dogs. She flew to UK and attended the world most popular hydrotherapist course.

Typically performed in a swimming pool or a plexiglass chamber holding an underwater treadmill, hydrotherapy stimulates the cardiovascular and lymph systems, strengthens muscles, and allows painful joints to move comfortably.

Due to the popularity of the almost non-invasive exercise, many companies have ventured into providing hydrotherapy sessions for Singapore pet owners. And even Singapore Veterinarians have began advising pet owners to bring their pets for regular hydrotheraphy sessions.

However, is hydrotheraphy 100% safe?

HYDROTHERAPY ISN’T FOR EVERYONE

Despite its exceptional benefits, hydrotherapy isn’t for every dog, such as dogs with cardiovascular issues, infected wounds, or a serious fear of water. A history of aggression can be a problem as well.

Just because a dog has never shown an interest in swimming doesn’t mean he or she won’t benefit. Many dogs have learned, with the help of a life vest and a good coach, that swimming can be fun. Dogs who are truly terrified of water because of a traumatic past event are better suited to land-based exercise such as Canine Physiotherapy.

Cost is another factor, for not every dog lover can afford hydrotherapy. Therapeutic swims or treadmill sessions with a veterinarian or Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner (CCRP) – or a rehabilitation practitioner working with an assistant – cost more than recreational swim sessions. Most clinics charge different rates depending on the attention and treatment the patient requires. Therapeutic and recreational swim sessions may last 30 minutes or one hour. Fees vary by centres and facilities, with most offering discounts for packages of five or more swim sessions.

PET OWNERS – TAKE NOTE

Despite the benefits of canine hydrotherapy, pet owners must be aware of cautions and contraindications of canine hydrotherapy.

CANINE HYDROTHERAPY CONTRAINDICATIONS

  • Incontinence and/or diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Suffering from contagious disease
  • Open Wounds
  • Prior to fibrous seal formation for surgical wounds
  • Surface Infections
  • External Skeletal Fixators
  • Certain Spinal Conditions
  • Cervical Spinal Problem
  • High Blood Pressure

CANINE HYDROTHERAPY CAUTIONS

  • Obesity
  • Breeds with elongated soft palate
  • Brachycephalic Breeds
  • Laryngeal Paralysis and tie back
  • Decreased Exercuse Tolerance
  • Cushing / Addisons Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Heart Murmur
  • Renal Failure

REFERENCES

Christine Jurek, DVM, CCRT, CVA, CVC
Associate Veterinarian

Laurie McCauley, DVM, DACVSMR, CCRT, CVA, CVC
She has been credited as one of the pioneers of veterinary rehabilitation and has become one of the most recognized names in this field.

Janet Van Dyke, DVM
Dr. Van Dyke founded the Canine Rehabilitation Institute in 2002 to train and certify veterinarians, physical therapists and veterinary assistants in canine rehabilitation.

Darryl L. Millis, MS, DVM, DACVS, DACVSMR, CCRP
Professor of Orthopedic Surgery & Director of Surgical Service

Robin Downing, DVM, MS, DAAPM, DACVSMR, CVPP, CCRP
Diplomate of the American Academy of Pain Management, is a a founder and past-president of the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management.

Ludovica Dragone, DVM, CCRP
Vice President of VEPRA, Veterinary European of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Association.

Andrea L. Henderson, DVM, CCRT, CCRP
Resident, Canine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation

Steven M.Fox, MS, DVM, MBA, PhD
President Securos. Inc

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