Underwater treadmills are becoming much more common in veterinary offices around the country. I was fortunate enough to work with a veterinarian 5 years ago that included this great therapy in her office along with acupunture and chiropractic care for her canine patients.
These treadmills are designed with rehab in mind. The dog is supported with a life jacket (when needed) and the water is raised until the dogs feet are easily moving through the movement of the treadmill. More water can be used with joints that need less compression – post surgical knees, symptomatic discs etc. Speed can be monitored.
These tools are great for rehabilitation of dogs that have had disc symptoms (weakness of hind or front ends, knuckling, sensory changes in extremities, pain in low back etc.) and have been used very extensively with ACL surgeries to get the dog back to peak performance faster.
In the veterinary clinic I am affiliated with here in Asheville, NC we have a veterinarian that is certified in rehabilitation and we devise programs for the patients appropriate for the goals of the owner and patient. Chiropractic is often included in the program as well as flexibility and toning. The treadmill is also used simply as an exercise machine when some owners are unable to get their dog the necessary exercise to maintain health. Agility dogs are assisted with recovery of minor injuries as well as specific exercises for keeping muscle tone.
It is becoming very clear that motion into fixated or surgically repaired joints is essential in the recovery of that joint system. Joints rely on muscles, ligaments, and soft tissue to function properly. The nervous system monitors this through the peripheral nerves. The combination of treadmills, other rehab tools like swiss balls, peanuts, weave cones, wobble boards, chiropractic care, flexibility/stretching are all available to assist your canine companion.
Find a veterinarian in your area today that utilizes treadmills, chiropractic, rehab and ask if those therapies might be helpful to your pet. There are many vets and physical therapists pursuing rehabilitation credentials. Also find a certified animal chiropractor – either a licensed veterinarian or chiropractor. The American Veterinary Chiropractic Association’s website is www.animalchiropractic.org and to find a certified doctor follow the link or go to www.avcadoctors.com
To view a dog on underwater treadmill check this out: