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Hydrotherapy for Dogs After TPLO Surgery: A Healing Lifeline

When a dog undergoes TPLO (Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy) surgery, it marks the beginning of a challenging journey to recovery. TPLO surgery is often recommended to treat cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) injuries, which can leave dogs in pain and with limited mobility. One powerful tool that veterinarians often incorporate into post-TPLO recovery plans is hydrotherapy. In this article, we’ll delve into why and how hydrotherapy is used to aid dogs on their path to healing after TPLO surgery.

Why Hydrotherapy After TPLO Surgery?

  1. Low-Impact Exercise: One of the primary reasons hydrotherapy is employed post-TPLO surgery is its gentle, low-impact nature. TPLO surgery involves altering the angle of the tibia to stabilize the knee joint. This can result in discomfort and muscle weakness, making conventional exercises challenging. Hydrotherapy provides an environment where the dog can move freely with reduced strain on the recovering limb. The buoyancy of water minimizes the weight-bearing load, facilitating a gradual return to mobility.
  2. Pain Management: After TPLO surgery, dogs may experience pain and discomfort as they heal. Hydrotherapy in warm water is known to have a soothing effect on muscles and joints. The warm water helps relax tense muscles, increases blood circulation, and provides a natural pain-relief effect. This complements pain medications prescribed by the veterinarian, contributing to a more comfortable recovery.
  3. Muscle Strengthening: Muscle atrophy can occur during periods of inactivity following TPLO surgery. Hydrotherapy sessions involve controlled movements in water, offering resistance that engages various muscle groups. This helps to rebuild and strengthen muscles, aiding in the dog’s overall recovery process.

How Hydrotherapy Works After TPLO Surgery

Hydrotherapy for dogs post-TPLO surgery typically involves specialized equipment and the guidance of trained professionals:

  1. Underwater Treadmill: One common method is the underwater treadmill. In this setup, a dog walks or exercises on a treadmill submerged in a water tank. The water level can be adjusted to control buoyancy and the level of resistance. This controlled environment allows for a gradual increase in exercise intensity as the dog heals.
  2. Swimming: Swimming is another form of hydrotherapy that can be beneficial after TPLO surgery. In a hydrotherapy pool, dogs are encouraged to swim under the supervision of a trained hydrotherapist. Swimming engages the core and limb muscles while providing cardiovascular benefits, all in a low-impact environment.
  3. Professional Guidance: Trained hydrotherapists play a crucial role in the process. They assess the dog’s condition, develop a tailored hydrotherapy plan, and monitor the dog’s progress during each session. Adjustments in water levels and resistance are made to ensure the therapy aligns with the dog’s specific needs and recovery stage.

The Benefits of Hydrotherapy After TPLO Surgery

Hydrotherapy offers several key advantages for dogs recovering from TPLO surgery:

  • Reduced Pain and Discomfort: The warm water and gentle exercise alleviate pain and stiffness, helping the dog move more comfortably.
  • Faster Recovery: By maintaining and improving muscle strength and joint mobility, hydrotherapy can expedite the recovery process.
  • Better Range of Motion: Hydrotherapy helps restore the dog’s natural range of motion in the affected limb, enhancing their overall quality of life.

Overall, hydrotherapy is a valuable component of the rehabilitation process for dogs following TPLO surgery. Its low-impact, pain-relieving, and muscle-strengthening properties make it an ideal choice for helping dogs regain their mobility and lead active lives once again. With the guidance of a skilled/certified hydrotherapist and a commitment to consistency, dogs can experience a smoother and more effective recovery journey after TPLO surgery.

About Dip’ n Dogs Hydrotherapy – Orlando, FL

At Dip’n Dogs Hydrotherapy, we are certified and caring professionals devoted to restoring and enhancing the health and happiness of your beloved pup. Encompassing a pool, as well as a certified hydrotherapist, this can provide effective and long lasting results for your pet’s injury or illness. We are conveniently located in Winter Park, FL. Contact us today at (407) 227-0030. We look forward to hearing from you!

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