Swimming vs Treadmill & how often?

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I’m having a few problems getting my vets to sign off on my dogs hydro due to a bit of a mix up but just had a few questions..

If I need to start paying for them myself,  I can’t afford to go every week, but is every 2 weeks too far apart to be doing much good – whats the most time can leave between sessions to have benefits?

I think I know the answer, but nothing much worked before he went onto Previcox and Yumove Advance and those have worked so well for him does he still need the hydro will it be helping behind the scenes still.

Also is there much difference between treadmill and swimming.  He is not a water baby and I really don’t think he would like swimming but he does well on the treadmill.

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Hydrotherapist here! All of the above advice is sound 🙂 As a preference dogs with spinal conditions would be put in treadmill if possible/available to avoid excessive movements either side to side or up and down and keep the spine in a neutral position. That is not to say you can’t use a pool providing great care is taken and support provided, it may be that 2 therapists would need to be hands on to be able to do this.

And as has been mentioned already individual preference of the dog would be taken into consideration too, some may be totally freaked out by not having their feet on the ground and others may not be happy in an enclosed space, time should be taken to ensure that the dog is as happy and relaxed as possible in whichever option is used.

Regarding training, I can’t speak for CHA as I’m not a member, but NARCH require therapists using the treadmill to undergo additional training in its use before treating dogs in an underwater treadmill.

With regards to the original post, I’d advise fortnightly as the minimum frequency, I know it’s hard when finances come in to play. I always advise clients it’s like going to the gym; once in a blue moon isn’t going to make much differnce! It would be better to do 10 sessions over 10 weeks than 10 sessions over 20! 🙂

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I second everything Hannah and Gwen have mentioned. I also am not a hydrotherapist, and I treat many dogs who have hydrotherapy via free swimming and/or treadmill. One thing I would mention regarding free swimming is that the lateral (side to side) movement in the lower back that can occur more with free swimming can exacerbate some lower back issues. The importance of seeking out an experienced and well trained hydrotherapist (all hydrotherapy training is not equal) who will monitor your dog well and work with your vet is key.

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So update on my experience with Holly and her lumbosacral disease… free swimming is certainly suiting her emotionally…. she went this am .. had a great time and has been a bouncy little frog of a dog since…. we are about to start 2 x per week so I will then get on with measuring thigh thickness etc…it has been too intermittent till now for me to pursue measuring improvement

Hannah xx

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It sounds like Scout is in good hands. If once a fortnight is what you can afford it will still be highly beneficial. We have evidence that exercise itself creates a pain relieving effect as well as mental stimulation do keep his emotional state positive. Hydro pool vs treadmill is an eternal debate in which many experts have different opinions. The advantage of treadmill, as Hannah says, includes more control, the benefits of buoyant weight bearing exercise and proper training of the neuro-muscular links (and proprioception) to get the best return to function. We want dogs to learn to walk well again, not swim. Having said that, swimming is often good for increasing flexion, but you have to be very careful do not overdo it. Like Hannah, I am not a hydrotherapist, but I have seen many dogs get huge benefit and some who have got worse without an experienced therapist.

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We have found far more hydro places with swimming pool than treadmill around here  but knowing Scout (Staffie x Boxer ) he is not a water baby and both ourselves and physio think he wouldn’t like swimming.

He does the treadmill with a qualified physio too which is great and I believe she is a member of the group.

He didn’t like it at first but seems to quite enjoy it now .

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