It’s all about Hydrotherapy
We have a dedicated hydrotherapy suite at our Dewsbury Hospital, where nurse Kate Nettleton dedicates her time to the rehabilitation of patients.
Kate has a Level 3 Diploma in Canine Hydrotherapy, meaning she is the perfect person to guide you and your pets through their recovery. But hydrotherapy isn’t just for rehab – lots of pets love being in the water and it’s great exercise for them too.
Kate runs hydrotherapy sessions on the following days:
- Tuesday 9am to 4pm
- Thursday 11am to 7pm
The hydrostatic pressure present when animals are moving in the water helps to disperse fluid caused by inflammation around the joints, which helps to reduce inflammation and the pain associated with it.
The buoyancy the water provides means there is reduced pressure and weight going through the joints, which allows patients to move more freely with reduced pain. This translates to a more ideal gait pattern, exercising the correct muscles which need to be built up and strengthened. A bit like going to the gym where we may lift weight to help build muscle, the water creates resistance which builds up the animal’s muscle mass.
As well as helping to build muscle, hydrotherapy is great for a cardiac workout – working against the water is hard work and patients’ fitness builds up over each session.
What to expect on your first session
The most important part is, of course, the treats and toys. Kate has many years experience of introducing pets to hydro for the first time, which means she will ensure you and your pets are completely at ease during your sessions. We advise you to take your dogs out for a short walk prior to each session to allow them to go to the toilet. A short walk is all that’s needed, anything more will mean they have less energy for their swim with Kate.
If your pet has long fur, please give them a good brush before you set off to us to ensure leaves and mud are not taken into the tank.
Towels are provided, but you may want to bring spare for travelling home in your car. We recommend you prepare yourself for getting very wet as some dogs are bouncier than others!
It can be surprising to see how much energy and effort it takes for pets to walk in the water, so don’t be surprised if Kate sets the sessions to be quite short to begin with.
Kate said: “It’s great to see how patients progress from session to session. Not only does their physical fitness improve dramatically but their mental wellbeing improves significantly. Pets often become depressed when they can no longer exercise pain-free, so stop looking forward to their regular walks. Once the underlying cause improves, they start enjoying exercise again and generally seem much happier.”
Kate will have a chat with you about how your pet is doing at home, their normal exercise regime, medication and what to expect from hydro sessions. Once a thorough history has been taken, Kate will walk your pet into the tank.
This can be a little strange for your pet at first, so lots of encouragement, usually in the form of treats and toys, is given.
Once settled in the empty tank, Kate will put in a small amount of water and allow your pet to slowly walk on the treadmill, getting them used to the sensation of being in water. As they feel more comfortable, Kate will add more water.
Once the water level is where it needs to be, Kate will start their personalised hydro session. To begin with, this is usually a maximum of six minutes, building up to 15 minutes as they become fitter and stronger.
The water is then released from the tank and your pet comes out of the tank to be dried. Kate will give personalised advise about home care and physio to work on before your next session.
What conditions benefit from hydrotherapy?
- Joint disease e.g. arthritis of the elbows, stifles, hips
- Post-fracture repair
- Ligament and tendon damage
- Soft tissue injuries
- Neurological disorders
- Hip dysplasia
- Weight loss
Can I use your hydrotherapy if I use another vets?
We are happy to swim pets from other practices – all we need before your first appointment is a full clinical history from your existing vets. For more information, please call our Dewsbury Hospital on 01924 465592.