Underwater Treadmill TherapyPhysical therapy has long been a part of an integrated approach in the treatment of many human medical conditions. More recently, rehabilitation of our canine patients, particularly following orthopedic procedures, has been recognized to significantly accelerate healing, prevent problems related to post operative downtime and return pets to full function more quickly. In 2004, Packerland was the first clinic in the region to recognize this importance and take steps to offer underwater treadmill therapy to our clients.
Underwater treadmill therapy is much more than just taking a dog for a swim. Our trained staff creates an individualized rehab program, specific to each pet's needs and current status and monitors these patients in a very specific, controlled environment.
Our treadmill is specialized with many features that are required of a successful rehab program. Our staff can choose a treadmill speed and water height and monitor the patient's time and distance throughout their session, changing any of these parameters as needed. The water in the treadmill is heated to provide relaxation for the muscles during work. The buoyancy of the water also plays a major role in the success of treadmill therapy. Patients who have undergone orthopedic surgery, for example, often need to be kept strictly confined to allow the surgical site to heal correctly. During activity restriction, lost of muscle mass, reduced joint mobility and weight gain can occur. Buoyancy in the underwater treadmill prevents overstress of the surgical site during controlled activity. This then allows for the correct amount and type of stress to the surgical area and can accelerate healing. Most surgical patients may start accelerated rehabilitation once the sutures have been removed from the surgical site.
In addition to accelerated healing and faster return to function following surgery, our treadmill offers advantages for other patients as well. Patients with spinal disease can benefit greatly from assistance in the underwater treadmill. We can utilize this technology for our overweight and geriatric patients. It offers an ability to increase activity in a reduced stress environment even during times of the year when weather often prohibits regular outdoor exercise. Additionally, physical therapy applications can be used for conditioning purposes in working or sporting/performance dogs. Conditioning applications help enhance patient stamina, muscle mass and coordination.
Underwater treadmill therapy works best when following a specific schedule. In order to see the results of accelerated healing, our surgical patients will often require a regular schedule of two sessions per day, three times per week. Because many of our clients travel to see us, we do offer boarding during the time of rehab to alleviate the need for additional travel. Non-surgical patients will also benefit from a schedule, but typically this is less formal and would be discussed as a part of their individualized treatment plan.
If you are unsure if your pet would benefit from underwater treadmill therapy or have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us!