At the Cromwell ARC, we offer hydrotherapy for your pet on a state of the art underwater treadmill. The underwater treadmill consists of a treadmill enclosed in a tank, which gradually fills with water to a suitable height for your pet. The underwater treadmill allows your pet to exercise while taking advantage of the therapeutic and buoyant effects of the water.
Why is exercising in water so beneficial?
Exercising on an underwater treadmill takes advantage of certain properties that water possesses. The buoyancy, hydrostatic pressure and resistance created by water all help your pet on their road to recovery.
Buoyancy enables those pets who may be weak or unable to weight-bear due to pain, to exercise in a supported environment. In the underwater treadmill, weight-bearing can be reduced by as much as 60%; a huge benefit if weight-bearing is painful.
While in the water, hydrostatic pressure is exerted on your pet. This can help reduce pain and inflammation, and improve circulation and lymphatic drainage.
Exercising in water also creates resistance. The means muscles have to work harder, which helps your pet build and strengthen weak or wasted muscles. By carefully selecting an appropriate water level, the physiotherapist can target which muscles are most affected by the water’s resistance. Also, working against this resistance can significantly improve cardiovascular fitness; great for sporting or working dogs that need to improve their fitness.
What are the benefits of an underwater treadmill compared with swimming in a pool?
There are several advantages to using an underwater treadmill over swimming in a pool when rehabilitating animals. The physiotherapist is able to control many factors including the depth of the water, the speed and incline of the treadmill, and even which legs your pet uses when exercising. This means the treatment they receive can be tailored to target specific areas.
Exercising on the underwater treadmill encourages a normal gait pattern, which is often the aim if your pet has been limping or not weight-bearing due to injury, disease or surgery.
The underwater treadmill can also make hydrotherapy accessible for those pets who are fearful of water; as they walk into a dry tank and the water fills gently from the bottom, most patients tolerate this exceptionally well as their feet are always firmly on a solid surface!