Facilities at Fourpaws Hydrotherapy

It is always determined by your hydrotherapist which particular piece of equipment your dog will be most suited. Some dogs are more suited to one than the other and some may benefit from both the pool and the underwater treadmill. This can depend on a great deal of factors such as lameness, handling ability, fitness, breed, hydrophobia, pre or post-surgery and most importantly what it is that we want to achieve from the patient’s rehabilitation.

The pool

Fourpaws Canine Hydrotherapy has a partial in ground pool measuring 4.2m by 2.5m with a depth of 1.2m. The chlorine sanitised water is kept at a constant 30 degrees and is tested three times a day by a photometer and treated accordingly to ensure that a safe level of chemicals are present at all times.

The pool is equipped with two anti-swim jets which can provide increased resistance for the dogs to swim against. The session is made as fun as possible with various toys, massage and plenty of praise to get the best possible outcome for your canine friend.

Why the pool?

One of the main differences is that the pool allows for complete non weight bearing exercise whereas the underwater treadmill encourages partial weight bearing exercise. This makes the pool more suitable for dogs who suffer with multiple limb arthritis as it allows the feeling of weightlessness as well as increased pressure onto the joints for pain relief and reduction of swelling. It can also encourage improve the range of elbow and shoulder motion, a greater extension of the hip joint and improved cardiovascular fitness.

Underwater treadmill

At Fourpaws Canine Hydrotherapy we also have an underwater treadmill. We are fully qualified and hold the Advanced Treadmill Certification. The temperature in the underwater treadmill is kept at a constant 30 degrees and the chemical levels are tested three times a day for optimum sanitisation.

Why the underwater treadmill?

The underwater treadmill enables the therapist to have greater control over the patients movement as well as exertion levels as we can control the depth of water and the speed that the dog walks. This allows us to target the range of movement of particular limbs or joints and alter this as the session progresses. We may use the underwater treadmill for our more serious cases which include spinals, stroke patients and cruciate ligament recovery. It is also a fantastic tool for gait analysis to evaluate the dog’s movements to highlight aspects of their gait which may be less evident on land. Agility and competition dogs also benefit from specific sessions aiming to improve the dogs high levels of fitness.

What to expect from an introduction to the pool or treadmill

We will fit an appropriate harness which could be either a floatation jacket or standard harness used for safely swimming dogs.for safely swimming dogs.

The pool

The patient will be gently led up the ramp to the pool. Some dogs are extremely enthusiastic about this however it’s not uncommon for some to ‘put the brakes on’ at this stage and refuse to go any further, this is part of the reason initial assessments are so long. We want the experience to be as enjoyable as possible for our dog so we don’t mind spending the extra time building up their confidence and trust when getting into the pool. Once in the pool, we will use one of our resting platforms before encouraging them off the platform and into the water. A variety of toys can be used to motivate your dog.

The treadmill

We will gently lead the patient up a ramp to the open door of the treadmill where we will walk them through from one side to the other to get them use to walking up and down the belt and familiarise them with the equipment. On the next entry into the underwater treadmill we will close the doors and begin to fill the chamber with the desired water level based on the condition and aims of the session. The underwater treadmill will then start at the appropriate speed selected to encourage a steady walking gait.

After the session

We have washing and drying facilities which you are welcome to use.

Please note: Each dog responds differently and it is important to us to ensure the experience is as positive as possible for your pet whilst we build their trust and assess their responses to the session, therefore the initial time in the either the pool or underwater treadmill can be quite short.