Hydrotherapy (swimming), Hydro Physio (walking on a treadmill in water) and Physiotherapy (hands on massage, manipulation and heat/infra red) are all complimentary therapies that can help dogs recovering from injuries and make the healing time faster and more comfortable.
Chi had an injury to a hind leg last year. The injury itself has recovered well but it has caused him to alter his gait slightly and this in turn has left him with quite a stiff back in places. We called in to see the Physio (with the blessing of our lovely vet) and had a session with her.
Chi had massage and lots of hands on stretching and manipulation. He also had a heat pack applied and infra-red therapies. The difference was a lovely loose, relaxed Chi. It was recommended that we might also see benefit from hydro physio to ie, walking on a treadmill in shoulder-deep water. This method of exercise makes the dog walk at the correct speed to best stretch the muscles you are wanting to treat with the added bonus of the resistance the water brings. It also gave us the opportunity to watch his gait closely through the side of the treadmill and this footage, in slo-mo will be passed on to our Physiotherapist she knows exactly how he is responding for his next session.
For those of you who know Ridgebacks, you will no doubt be aware that the vast majority of them DO NOT do water – it appears they expect to dissolve like sugar mice or perhaps that the rain is acid – either way, water an RRs is often not the best mix so this type of therapy was always going to be a little stressful for him, at least at first.
Here’s a video taken at the time of his first session to give you an idea of what happens. Make sure you get your vet’s blessing before embarking on this form of therapy and find yourself a professional who is calm, kind and gentle so as not to rush and scare your dog.