Hydrotherapy benefits include:
-Increased mental stiumatlation- patients with injuries/conditions that cannot excercise or take part in activites that work the mind, will find swimming a rewarding experience as it introduces a new environment with different smells, sounds and people, which will keep the boredom of being housebound at bay.
- Reduced pain, swelling and stiffness- By just being in the pool the dog can experience these benefits, they don't even have to move. The warmth of the water widens blood vessels, which allows more blood to circulate around the body, including muscles. This relaxes the muscles allowing the joint to move more easily. Pain is reduced by the buoyancy of the water, together with the natural properties of the water and the dog (and maybe some extra floatation aids), it allows the dog to excercise without any pressure being placed on the joints. Swelling is reduced by hydrostatic pressure.
- Improved gait pattern and joint mobilisation- swimming is a non weight bearing excercise, it allows joints, which may be a struggle to move on land, to move freely without pain. If a dog is injured they may not use a certain limb or may seem to walk in a strange way because they are weight bearing on the uninjured limb, but in the water they will be encouraged to use all their limbs and move them in the correct way, which eventually could alter the way they move on land.
-Increase in muscle mass and strength- When moving we all experience resistance, but in water the resistance is felt more because the water molecules are packed more closely together. The more the dog moves through the water the more resistance they will meet, they will also create their own turbulence, which will make it harder to swim, but will encourage an increase in muscle mass and strength. This can also cause the dog to become fatigued quickly, which is why they are rested at certain points and we gradually build up the amount of swimming completed in each session.
- Circulatory benefits- the temperature of the water is maintained between 28-30 degrees celsius, which allows the blood vessels to dilate and increases blood flow.
-Improve cardiovascular fitness.