Swim to recovery
Hydrotherapy. It’s a seriously good way to rehabilitate dogs. And it’s fun too. Jane Dale paid a visit to Hill’s Canine Hydrotherapy in Grendon Underwood.
Healing with water, Hydrotherapy is a non weight bearing exercise utilising the therapeutic properties of warm water. Swimming sessions are carried out by trained Hydrotherapists to improve a dogs fitness and function. There is a huge range of conditions that benefit from hydrotherapy. These include:
- Pre and Post operative conditions.
- Pain, swelling and stiffness (arthritis, veteran dogs).
- Hip and elbow dysplasia, OCD, cruciate ligament injuries.
- Spinal injuries, paralysis, amputation (strengthens muscles, increases range H of movement, promotes overall blood circulation).
- Cardiovascular fitness (improves heart and lung function). Excellent for working, agility, racing and show dogs.
- Obesity (weight loss in conjunction with diet) and weight management.
- Behavioural problems. Swimming allows your dog to release their energy in a safe and healthy manner. This in turn helps to rebalance their mental well being and may help reduce unwanted behaviour.
- Because swimming is totally non weight bearing it is extremely useful with young large breed dogs where exercise may be restricted due to possible joint damage.
Established 2009. Katherine Hill bought the business in 2018. Passionate about working with animals, Katherine went from doing a weeks work experience to having a Saturday job, then working full time. Before becoming the new owner of the business which was previously known as Hamilton’s Canine Hydrotherapy. “When I first started, we were happy to be treating just two dogs a day, now we can be seeing up to fourteen,” says Katherine Katherine holds a current Canine First Aid certificate, and has completed theory modules in Canine Anatomy, Spinal Conditions and Orthopaedic Conditions. She regularly attends seminars and lectures relating to hydrotherapy to further her knowledge and expertise in this field of exercise and rehabilitation. Katherine and her team always allow plenty of time for your dog to get familiar to its surroundings, they never rush them into the pool. All dogs will be required to wear a canine life jacket or a simple harness that Hills provide. The length of each swim will depend on the condition, ability of your dog and the recommendation of your vet. On my visit, a Spaniel called Chelsea was loving her time in the pool.
A trained Hydrotherapist will always be in the water with your dog as this allows immediate support, provides extra resistance and reassures the dog if needed. It is a very effective way of monitoring the dogs condition while swimming.
I can’t help but admire the team at Hills. Dog lovers naturally, you can see how much they enjoy their work. They spend hours a day up to their waists in water.
As for the pool itself, it is a polypropylene pool, custom built and measures 3.8m x 2.4m and is 1.2m in depth. There is a built in internal ramp which is also used to rest the dogs during their swim. Access up to the pool edge is via a sturdy, gently sloping external ramp. Extra staff will be used to safely assist severely disabled dogs into the pool.
Swim jets are used to create a variable water flow. These can be adjusted for position and strength depending on size, condition and fitness of your dog. Jets help encourage movement in the water particularly useful for neurological damage, limb paralysis or fitness work.
The pool water is kept at a constant 30-32 c. Warm water is proven to promote blood circulation, relaxing muscles, easing pain in the joints and tendons, helping to reduce swelling and aiding overall healing.
“Our pool is sanitised to the highest standard and the water is tested at least twice a day in line with CHA and IRVAP regulations and adjusted accordingly. These measures ensure a totally safe swim for each and every dog,” explains Katherine.
A shower area next to the pool means your dog can be washed before and after their swim. Fresh towels and a dryer are provided so that Hill’s can ensure your dog leaves the centre as warm and dry as possible.
Why not let your doggie paddle back to fitness. Call Katherine on 07770 319739
You can read more articles like this one in the latest edition of Thame Out.