Southern Animal Referral Centre

Animal Hydrotherapy

Animal hydrotherapyThis innovative and state of the art animal underwater treadmill system revolutionises rehabilitation and fitness in the canine patient. It is suitable for dogs recovering from many different injuries, surgeries and degenerative conditions.

Our animal underwater treadmill system was designed by Animal Physiotherapist Michelle Monk, and built in Australia to meet the specific needs of animal physiotherapy clients. Exercising in the animal underwater treadmill allows dogs to walk, while the buoyancy of the water dramatically reduces loading placed on healing or painful structures. This allows a shorter rehabilitation time and faster return to function by allowing exercise to commence earlier. The secondary effects of immobilisation including muscle atrophy, cartilage, ligament and bone degeneration or weakening can be eliminated or reduced by allowing exercise during periods of restricted activity. Fitness and strength can be maintained or built upon while more strenuous or outdoor activity is contra-indicated.

Recent research has shown that rehabilitating in the underwater treadmill following cruciate surgery allows restoration of stifle range of motion, thigh muscle mass and strength, in a much shorter time period than leash walking (Monk, M., et al, AJVR, 2006, 67(3): 529-536).

The Underwater Treadmill also assists in retraining walking in dogs paralysed by spinal injuries or following surgery. Dogs reluctant to use a limb following orthopaedic injury or surgery can also be encouraged to weight bear in a semi-weightless environment.

Control over speed, water depth and temperature means exercise can be tailored to suit each individual patient. Progressions can be easily made through increases in exercise intensity and time, and through alterations to water depth.

If you have any questions about the underwater treadmill at SARC, please feel free to contact us at any time.