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Recently a new client came to us for hydrotherapy because her dog was turning 9 years old and she was beginning to notice he was slowing down a bit. He is a larger pit bull, and definitely heavier in the front end.
She was having trouble walking and otherwise exercising him enough to keep his rear end muscles as strong as she wanted. She told us that within the past few months she saw he was beginning to have slight problems getting up and seemed stiff.
She thought he might have the beginning of some arthritis and decided to try hydrotherapy because she wanted to be proactive in keeping his hind end strong. She also wanted to look outside mainstream treatments, such as pain medication.
In the past, most new arthritis clients came to us because their dogs were very arthritic and could barely walk. Often these dogs were much older and possibly overweight, which makes it more difficult to exercise them enough to see results quickly or even at all.
Fortunately, it seems that we’re seeing more new clients like this woman with the 9 year old pit bull, people who choose hydrotherapy because they want to be proactive in their dog’s health and well-being. These people know that by keeping their dog physically fit, they are adding quality years to their dog’s life, and are potentially saving thousands of dollars in medical costs and prescription medicine.
For humans, hydrotherapy has been used since the early Greek and Roman days as an integral part of traditional medicine to treat disease. It’s still commonly used today to help relieve the pain of arthritis, help with surgery and injury recovery, and provide a means of exercise for those who can’t easily do land based exercise.
It is the use of water to treat different conditions. Hydrotherapy exercise uses the principles of water –
Hydrotherapy for dogs, while not as well-known as it is for humans, is an alternative form of treatment to help with arthritis because it’s a way to exercise the dog in an environment that’s non-weight bearing.
When dogs start to become arthritic, they begin to experience some pain. That in turn makes it so the dog doesn’t want to exercise, which begins a downward spiral of loss of muscle mass, and increasing difficulty getting up to walk or stand.
Hydrotherapy helps to keep the entire body strong, but mostly the hind end muscles, those that seem to weaken and atrophy long before other muscles in the body. Our clients report that through regular hydrotherapy sessions, their dogs often become the puppies they used to be, no matter the age!
By being proactive and beginning a hydrotherapy program before your dog has any noticeable difficulty walking, you will add quality years to your dog’s life. And isn’t your best friend worth it?