Hydrotherapy

Our Equipment

At Snowy's we have a hydrotherapy pool and an underwater treadmill.

HYDROTHERAPY POOL

The pool is a specially designed  pool, measuring 7mtrs by 4mtrs; heated to a minimum temperature of 29oC. The pool is also equipped with jets providing additional resistance in the pool if required.

UNDERWATER TREADMILL

The treadmill is a Hydro Physio Underwater Treadmill, with various ramp sizes and it is the extended version to suit the individuals abilities and conditon, allowing us to work with a high standard of animal welfare.  Our treadmill allows for the therapist to exercise their techniques inside the treadmill and has visibility all the way round. 

The water quality is tested a minimum of 3 times a day, maintaining cleanliness and ensuring the water is always of the highest standard. 

How does Hydrotherapy work?

Hydrotherapy or water therapy is the use of water to relieve discomfort and promote physical wellbeing. The warmth of the water will relax muscles by initiating an expansion of surface blood vessels therefore increasing the skin temperature, which can bring about a decrease in pain and muscle spasm. A dog may have a decreased range of motion; this may be caused due to pain, swelling, or stiffness.

The heating of the pool aids in providing comfort, relaxation, and pain relief. In addition, hydrotherapy provides excellent therapy for dogs in need of careful rehabilitation after injury or those suffering with general orthopaedic conditions. The size of our hydrotherapy pool enables dogs to come for fitness and enjoyment swims too. It is far better to swim dogs in heated water since cold-water cause’s constriction of the blood vessels near the skin and to the superficial muscles, which may restrict the flow of blood making the muscles less efficient. It is understood that Hydrotherapy is a natural anti-inflammatory through its ability to reduce tissue swelling.

It is an ideal exercise for any dog whether recovering from an injury, on an exercise programme to lose weight or simply to swim for fitness and enjoyment. Many people think “ah well my dog can swim in the local lake”. This has it’s down falls, not only from a safety point of view, as you can never be sure what is in the water, or are able to see how tired the dog may be becoming.

There are four forces working on a dog immersed in water, these assist in a variety of ways:

Gravity: Water level can be adjusted to increase or decrease weightlessness
Buoyancy: decreases the loading onto weight bearing joints. Removes the impact associated with walking on dry land. Aiding with balance, as well as the rehabilitation of weak muscles and painful joints.
Hydrostatic pressure: assists in reducing swelling by causing a bodily fluid movement away from the affected area instead of to it. Can be beneficial for swollen joints and oedematous swollen tissue and can aid in circulatory problems
Surface Tension: Resistance to movement is slightly greater on the surface. This will have a greater effect on smaller dogs who will have to work proportionally harder

Hydrotherapy and the working dog

Hydrotherapy is a great way to improve the performance and stamina or your working dog. The performance and stamina can be improved through regular workouts in the pool. A 5-minute swim is equivalent to about a 5 mile walk.

Hydrotherapy uses the properties of water — buoyancy, viscosity, resistance, and hydrostatic pressure this enables the dog to move their joints without the addition of impact. Water makes the body buoyant, so when submerged, the weight of the body is supported. This means the dog is not fighting gravity. The buoyancy of water reduces stress on the joints, and this creates a much safer environment for the dog to improve his fitness and maintain muscular strength.

Swimming tones most of the major muscle groups and improves general overall fitness of the dog. Movement in water is more difficult due to the resistance of the water. Water based exercise uses 30% more oxygen than similar land-based exercising. By encouraging pain-free limb movement against this resistance, muscle bulk can be improved.

Under water, the chest is under pressure from the force exerted by the water squeezing inwards. This means that every breath requires more effort – the muscles used, particularly when breathing in, have to work much harder. As any muscle will strengthen with exercise, this improves the whole respiratory system. The heart has to work harder in order to meet the increased demand for nutrients required by all the muscles, which are being worked.

Examples of what Hydrotherapy can aid:

Pre and Post-Operative Conditioning and Recovery
Recovery from muscle sprains/strains
Cruciate ligament operations
Spinal Injuries
CDRM  (Chronic Degenerative Radiculomyelopathy)
Joint pain relief and increase in joint movement
Arthritis
Hip Dysplasia
Recovery from fractures and neurological damage
Mental wellbeing
Weight loss
Increase fitness for all types of dogs (inclu. Show, Agility and Working Dogs)
Puppy swimming – 6 months+ (unless referred by the vet for medical reasons)
It’s Enjoyable!  

Benefits of Hydrotherapy:

Short term effects:
Easier to move as non-weight bearing
Less joint concussion as non-weight bearing exercise
Builds core muscle strength to increase mobility for spinal injuries
Support for weakened muscles/joints
Release of endorphins gives a feeling of wellbeing
Immediate / short term effects:
Decreased pain perception
Increased sensory perception
Relaxation of muscle tension and/or muscle spasm
Decreased heart rate at rest
Reduction of oedema
Long term effects:
Increased joint range of movement
Increased muscle strength
Improved muscle patterning and recruitment
Prevention of secondary complications
Improved cardiovascular fitness
Decreased pain and inflammation
Potentially earlier return to normal function
Slowing of progression of degenerative disease processes
Improved quality of life.