Hydrotherapy is probably the oldest form of medical treatment involving the use of water; it soothes pain and treats arthritic diseases. Its use has been recorded back to ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman civilisations. The word hydrotherapy is derived from the Greek word “water healing”
The use of water to treat rheumatic diseases has a long history. Today hydrotherapy is used to treat many conditions:
HIP AND ELBOW DYSPLASIA: Hip dysphasia; the normal hip joint is a ball and socket; it should fit tightly together to produce stability. If this ball joint is small and distorted this can instantly lead to pain and lameness. There are many degrees of hip and elbow dysphasia.
CRANIAL CRUCIATE INJURIES: There are two cruciate ligaments in the knee joint, the cranial and the caudal, this is a common injury in many dogs causing instability of the knee that can lead to other more serious injuries. The cruciate ligament seems to weaken in dogs especially seen in larger breeds and may cause complete rupture. Rupture can occur suddenly or gradually and may give signs including lameness and stiffness of the knee. Full rupture causes instability of the knee and eventually swelling and wasting of hind limb muscles. Certain breeds are at risk.
SPONDYLOSIS: Degenerate diseases of the vertebral column, responsible for the formation of ‘bony bridges’ between the two vertebrae. The spine becomes immobilised in the affected area. The condition can spread and weld together. Extreme care must be taken when dealing with spinal injuries.
ARTHRITIS: There are three types of arthritis that cause joints extreme pain:
It may develop in dysplastic joints or due to old age. Arthritis can develop in a joint after infection of injury. Acute arthritis comes on suddenly whereby chronic arthritis develops over a period of time, commonly found after injury or infection of joint (degenerative joint disease – DJD). The first course of action is to relieve pain and control inflammation and to improve range of movement via hydrotherapy.
CDRM (Chronic Degenerative Rediculomyelopathy): This condition is mainly found in german shepherd and is a degenerative disease of the nervous system affecting hind limbs. This condition is incurable but hydrotherapy contributes to a better quality of life and is highly recommended.
OCD (Osteochondritis Dessicans): This causes pain when walking; the flap of the cartridge may even tear off the end of the bone and float around the joint. If this does happen the free floating cartridge is called the joint mouse.
PRE AND POST OPERATIVE CONDITIONS: Hydrotherapy benefits both before and after surgical operations from arthritis to patellar luxation. Hydrotherapy in some cases can even prevent surgery from being necessary.
OBESITY AND WEIGHT MANAGEMENT: Obesity is defined as being overweight by 15% of the normal body weight for an adult dog. 75% of all dogs are clinically obese causing stress and strain on joints and aggravating other disorders.
CARDIOVASCULAR FITNESS AND MENTAL WELL BEING: Increasing lung capacity and oxygenating the blood.