Range of motion exercises (where joints are fully flexed or fully extended to the limits of their anatomy or scar tissue) are best performed in water.
The advantage of hydrotherapy is that the activity of swimming provides the greatest stimulus for moving joints throughout their complete range of motion. We can do passive range of motion activities with our pets throughout their recovery, but we will often meet with resistance at the ‘end point’ of the range, and our dog will likely object to us stretching them any further.
However, in the pool, you dog will move their joints in an active manner and extend their range of motion, or the flexion and extension of each of their joints in a natural way. The resistance of the water provides the additional ‘stretch’ while your dog is swimming, and all of this while they are largely unaware of the enormous benefit of the activity.
Swimming is particularly good for chronic shoulder, elbow, stifle (knee) and hip injuries.
Videoing your dog while they are swimming will allow you to literally ‘see’ and record their improvement week to week.
Recovering a full range of motion is essential to normal movement and hydrotherapy is the perfect way to rehabilitate range of motion in joints. If you want to know about veterinary rehabilitation check out our contact page, or head over to Dog Overboard for some information on swimming at Dog Overboard