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What is Hydrotherapy? 

Hydrotherapy is defined as ‘the use of water to achieve therapeutic benefit and relaxation’. Formerly known as hydropathy, it involves the use of water for pain-relief and treating illness. In recent times, hydrotherapy has also been a popular option for fitness training.
How does it work?

Water has a natural property called ‘buoyancy’. Hydrotherapy uses this property of water to its maximum potential and provides a low impact, soothing workout to patients.It is often referred to as an alternative, integrative, complementary, natural and / or holistic medicine for cats, dogs and other pets.
Why Hydrotherapy for Dogs?

 Hydrotherapy is an extremely effective rehabilitation method.Studies have shown that, with hydrotherapy, animals recovering from surgery or injury heal up to 50 or 60 percent faster than with other therapeutic methods. How? Well …

  •  The buoyancy provided by water lessens the weight-bearing load on an animal’s limbs.
  •  This helps reduce pain and lets the animal start therapy earlier.
  •  Water applies pressure on an animal’s limbs, which helps decrease inflammation and improve circulation.
  •  By changing the water level, resistance and buoyancy can be changed to target individual muscle groups and injuries.  
  •  Water temperature can be changed as well to help the animal relax and further alleviate pain.
  •  Muscle conditioning in water is not only an effective way of building up cardiovascular strength and endurance, but animals often find it fun.
What are the benefits of Aquatic Therapy?
Benefits for Dog Arthritis

Dogs with arthritis require exercise. Hydrotherapy provides a zero impact and pain free physical activity for arthritic dogs. It is effective in strengthening the muscles and is a great aid in managing your dog’s weight.
The water is very helpful for arthritic dogs. First, the water pressure on the limbs helps prevent the blood and other liquids in the body to gather in the lower extremities. This helps whenever your dog’s joints such as knees are inflamed due to arthritis. Second, the water pressure provides stimuli to the sensory receptors of the skin. This constant stimulation desensitizes the whole nervous system, lessening any pain the dog is experiencing.
The most important benefit is that water is both calming for both dog and dog owner, and since dog owners are recommended to be part of therapy, it can be an opportunity for more moments to bond with your furry best friend.
Hydrotherapy can help different systems of Pets
Integumentary System:

This system is our skin, the largest organ of the body which wraps and protects our entire being. Water increases circulation which can help skin and coat condition and can help stimulate all the touch receptors.

Muscular System:

Water increases relaxation which can help pain and spasms. When moving in water, the resistance is 15 - 20 times that of moving in air so muscles are being used without the stresses of weight bearing. It is an efficient and safe way to exercise and build muscle.

Nervous System:

Water can calm and sooth the nervous system, in turn decrease stress. Water can stimulate the sensations of joint position and re-establish sensation channels.
Circulatory System:

Warm water can increase body temperature, causing blood vessels to dilate and increase circulation and detoxification, delivering nutrients and oxygen and carrying away wastes. Buoyancy and hydrostatic pressure counters the effects of gravity, increases return from lower extremities, increases blood volume centralization. Soft tissue is compressed which increases circulation, lymph movement, oxygen in the blood and respiration.
Endocrine System:

Water can increase metabolic functions and hormones which regulate many processes in the body.
Lymphatic System:

Water can increase lymph drainage, decrease inflammation and improve the immune system.
Respiratory System:

Water can increase the depth of respiration through pressure on the lungs. Providing oxygen and disposing of carbon dioxide.
Digestive System:

Water can increase smooth muscle activity (digestion) which provides nutrients to cells and eliminates through the feces.
Urinary System:

Water can increase blood flow through the kidneys (which filters the blood), ridding the body of toxins (including anesthetic) and removing waste products. This process can help regulate and balance water and electrolytes in the body.
Reproductive System:

Water and its stimulating effects on the body can help enhance the role of hormones which influence all other systems of the body.
Skeletal System:

The skeletal system supports the entire body and moves one in space via a framework, it also protects internal organs. Water can decrease inflammation, increase circulation and in its safe and supportive ways, increase range of motion as the non-gravity environment can enhance stretches and movement.
What are the conditions in which animal can get benefits from hydrotherapy?
Hydrotherapy is most often used to treat the following conditions animals suffer:
  •  arthritis
  •  gait disruption
  •  muscle stiffness
  •  muscle atrophy
  •  range-of-motion loss
  •  spinal injury
  • paralysis
  • hip dysplasia
  • weight problems
  • coordination disorders
  • overall physical deterioration
  • injuries
  • pain
In addition, hydrotherapy is used …
  • in post-operative rehabilitation
  • in retraining to compensate for nerve damage or other deficiencies
  • in general conditioning programs
  • to help prevent injuries
  • to provide intensive conditioning for sports animals
  • to provide calming, healing hydro-massage

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