Warning: Use of undefined constant WORDBOOKER_SETTINGS - assumed 'WORDBOOKER_SETTINGS' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/earthmed/public_html/blog/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 366

Warning: Use of undefined constant fbwordbooker_widgets - assumed 'fbwordbooker_widgets' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/earthmed/public_html/blog/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/fb_widget.php on line 177
CANINE HYDROTHERAPY : healyourdognaturally.com

Underwater treadmill is a growing trend in canine rehab

The Stamford Times
Chris Bosak

NORWALK –Orford is on the road to recovery, thanks in part to an underwater treadmill specifically designed for dogs.

Orford, a friendly two-year-old Havanese that loves attention, is recovering from surgery that repaired a herniated disc. He has been undergoing physical therapy at Sound Paws since July. “He couldn’t use his back legs when we first saw him,” Harlan McLaughlin, canine rehabilitation therapist, said. “Now he’s getting around pretty well.”
Sound Paws, which offers canine rehabilitation and conditioning, is located within Norwalk Animal Hospital on Main Avenue in Norwalk.

The treadmill, made by AquaPaws, is filled with water up to the dog’s neck level. The track then moves similar to a regular treadmill as the dog walks in place. McLaughlin said the treadmill is also used for canine conditioning as the water offers resistance for better exercise and buoyancy to reduce stress on joints. “This treatment is really just becoming popular now. It’s been underutilized for a long time,” McLaughlin said. “In veterinary medicine it’s just starting to become recognized.” Charlie, a dachshund, eagerly waited his turn on the treadmill as Orford jogged on the treadmill.

“Some breeds are just predisposed to back problems,” McLaughlin said.

Orford does six to eight types of exercise each session as each therapy program is handled on an individual basis. The muscles on the inside of his back legs are still weak so McLaughlin uses an exercise band to force his legs outward slightly as he walks on the treadmill. “We need to strengthen the inside of his thighs,” he said. “The treadmill keeps the muscles moving and keeps the joints strong. It makes them use all four legs, too, so they can’t cheat and favor any legs. It really speeds recovery.”

Rehabilitating a dog’s injury is similar to rehabbing a human injury, according to McLaughlin, although it is now just gaining attention as an important part of post-surgical recovery. Dogs with chronic arthritis and soft tissue injuries could also benefit from rehabilitation, he added. Dogs typically do therapy three times a week shortly after surgery and two times a week as the dog gains strength. “Sometimes surgery is all they need,” McLaughlin said. “Other times they need more help.” McLaughlin has been with Norwalk Animal Hospital for 12 years. He received his canine rehabilitation certification nine months ago.

Then there is the growing problem of canine obesity.

“There are so many overweight animals,” McLaughlin said. “Fighting through the water helps them build muscle.” The water is stored in a tank next to the treadmill. Water is filtered and warmed as it flows into the treadmill area. The water in the tank is changed regularly, McLaughlin said.

The treadmill cost about $60,000, but McLaughlin thinks it will be a worthy investment for the business. That said, however, canine physical rehabilitation is not a very lucrative field of veterinary medicine as it demands a lot of time from the doctors and assistants.

“You do rehab because you like it. It’s not a money maker,” McLaughlin said. “It takes a lot of time and hands-on treatment. But it’s fun and rejuvenates your interest in medicine.”

Sar’s comment: This gives a whole new meaning to hydrotherapy! Non-invasive, therapeutic exercise therapy for dogs – What a great concept!

Yours in Health,
Sar Rooney BHSc., ND., DC., DASc., GDSc. (Hons) Zoology, MHATO, MATMS.
Canine Naturopath, Naturopathic Physician, Research Health Scientist, Zoologist 

Naturopathic Animal Services





Comments are closed.

Google Adwords Management