Your Healthcare Team
Your healthcare team should comprise of at least your veterinarian and your hydrotherapist, and can include additional professionals such as vet rehab therapist, nurses, vet technicians and a nutritionist. You may also include a trainer! A good vet and hydrotherapist are crucial members, they will work together to make sure that the best, most comprehensive treatment plan is developed for your dog.
Your vet will monitor the severity and the progression of the arthritis, prescribe pain medication as and when needed, and advise you on any surgical options that may be available at different points during the progression of the disease.
Your hydrotherapist will play a different, equally essential role. Below are some of the reasons why they are so important for the management of a condition like arthritis:
Form a Relationship
This may sound trivial, but it may be the most valuable thing your hydrotherapist does for you.
- Your hydrotherapist will advise you, encourage you, support you and assist you in ways you and your individual dog need most as the disease progresses.
- Your hydrotherapist will equip you with the tools to understand and take control of the condition, empowering you to manage your dog in a home program for long stretches between visits to the vet and hydrotherapist.
- Your hydrotherapist will help you become sensitive to the signs of pain your dog gives you, teach you to recognize a period of degeneration, and advise on what to do when it comes.
Through a variety of modalities – including massage, mobilization, targeted therapeutic exercise and more – your hydrotherapist will reduce your dog’s pain and keep him off pain medication for as long as possible. Pain medication can take a toll on a dog’s organs, leading to organ failure when used over an extended time. We want to prevent or reduce the side effects of pain medication for as long as possible, using pain medication for short stretches when needed, and only increasing usage when all other avenues are no longer effective.
Your hydrotherapist will improve the mobility of the joints affected by arthritis, firstly by getting the pain under control, and then by slowly improving both the joint’s ability to move through the use of joint mobilizations, and your dog’s overall ability to move the joints during targeted exercises.
Targeted exercises have two key effects; your dog will experience better mobility and therefore function, and the overall health of the joint will improve.
Joints need to move to stay healthy, but must be moved in the right way, and only after pain has been dealt with. Moving in an un-targeted way while the dog is still in pain will have the opposite effect then the one intended, it will entrench incorrect, compensatory patterns of movement that do nothing to strengthen the muscles that need strengthening.
Your hydrotherapist will help to strengthen the muscles and ligaments that surround the affected joints. This will help stabilize the joints and improve the way in which your dog moves not only the joint and limb, but his whole body – which means less pain and dysfunction due to compensation.
As your dog’s pain, movement and strength improve, so will his endurance. You may well find your dog returning to being the playful, energetic youngster they used to be! The better your dog’s muscle strength and endurance, the better they will cope with the activities of daily life in a functional, pain-free way.
For some dogs, weight is a huge challenge, with many compounding factors causing weight gain. Your hydrotherapist will help you to monitor your dog’s weight, advise you on the changes you need to make, and devise ways to keep that weight at the best possible level for your dog. This alone will have a major impact on slowing down the progression of the arthritis, and reducing your dogs pain.
Quality of Life
By now you will have gathered that everything a vet hydrotherapist does leads to a vastly improved quality of life for the arthritic dog. A dog which has been well managed by a competent & certified hydrotherapist, will once again be able to participate in family activities, play, enjoy food, and be the happy, healthy dog you long to see.
It is hard to notice your dog slowing down and losing their zest for life, something you may have attributed to old age. The reality is we can stave off these symptoms for years. Once you start treating the arthritis with the help of a competent team, you may well be astounded at the changes you see!
Stay Hopeful & Educated
We have given a few good reasons why you and your dog should have an ongoing relationship with hydrotherapist, but the truth is we have only scratched the surface of the benefits! Arthritis, degenerative diseases, rehabilitation, etc. are rare conditions that occurs on their own, and together with a competent and loving team, you will be able to monitor, treat and manage the conditions your dog is suffering from, giving them a longer, happier and healthier life.
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. Our Services include the following: Outdoor Hydrotherapy and In-Home Mobile Therapy for dogs. We look forward to hearing from you!