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Your experiences hydrotherapy

Discussion in 'Dog Health and Nutrition' started by rona, May 7, 2010.


  1. rona

    rona Guest

    Just thought a thread on our experiences of taking our dogs to hydrotherapy may help people thinking of doing it.
    I was advised to go to hydrotherapy because of cruciate ligament problems.
    Our first visit was a disaster, the hydrotherapist had no affinity with dogs at all, dragged mine about, scarring him and turning him on his bad leg :(
    She also put him in a lifejacket which he hated, and swam in tight circles trying to get it off.
    Luckily, I had heard good things about one of the other ladies that took hydro.
    The second visit, understandably, my boy was nervous, but with being treated with respect and no lifejacket he started to relax.
    By the third visit he was enjoying himself.
    I'm still not sure on the benefits of hydro on the joint, as you cannot know what would happen without it in my case, but it can keep the muscles working, flexible and toned, when other exercise is at minimum.
    Being a water loving breed, I am pleased that ours is a pool, but for non swimming breeds, I would imagine a treadmill would be less stressful.
    Why did your dog first go and how did they take to it?
     
  2. kazschow

    kazschow PetForums VIP

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    My experience of hydro was sadly very poor. I took Benny post operatively after his tplo.

    We only went once!!! The supposed seniour therapist, first dragged him up the metal ramp, washed his butt with smelly carbolic soap.. I had explained he had problems with floor surfaces etc due to early habituation. She didn't listen obvioulsy.

    She then dragged him backwards down the ramp into the water, saying this would be less stressful for him, he was flat on the floor digging his nails in trying to stop her. She then put in straight in, and dragged him againround in a circle holding him by the flotation jacket. he scrambled out the water, so she pinned him to the metal floor, saying this was going to calm him!!! This was repeated several times, though I was saying he was very stressed, eventually the last time she pinned him he bit her on the knee (frankly if he hadn't bit her I would have punched her), she let go he ran out and hid under my chair.. 30kg's of chow cowering under a small plastic chair, he then deficated himself!!!!

    I eventually got him out of the place to my car where he collapsed down at the side of my car, and was violently sick and deficated again!!! A man pasiing seen us and helped me lift him into the car.

    That evening he hid in the spare room :( For weeks afterwards he hid if he heard the bath run! We never went back, though the owner of the centre tried to convince us, we ended up exercising him in the sea and at the beach, though even now he's not as keen on going in the water as he used to be sadly... so ten minutes of therapy ended up costing us hours in behavioural rehabilitation :(
     
  3. Argent

    Argent PetForums VIP

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    What hydro centres are you people going to!? Oscar has hydrotherapy for his hip dysplasia and the staff are much gentler with him. Being a shih tzu, he doesn't really like water, and I'm sure if he had the choice, he wouldn't swim, but by taking the weight off his joints, swimming helps keep his muscles built up to make up for his lack of long walkies in the week.
    He had his first session with a lifejacket, and I don't think he uses it any more. It's not like he loves the water, but the staff don't make it a scarring experience. The people you went to see should be investigated I think - I'd have sued them for traumatizing my dog!
     
  4. kazschow

    kazschow PetForums VIP

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    TO a certain extent I suspect it's easier to handle somethng the size of a shitzu compaired to a big dog like a chow or a goldie... the therapist was squealing my dog was a dangerous animal and would need to be muzzled at it's next session!!! My dog as never turned a hair at anyone before or after this!!!
     
  5. Argent

    Argent PetForums VIP

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    Thing is, it really shouldn't take any amount of man-handling to get any size dog into the water. To make your dog so scared he'd bite out of character and soil himself and vomit with stress, I'm sure took a great deal of force that needn't have been taken if they were truly qualified and knowledgeable in dog physical therapy. I just see it as a bit much, I'm horrified and so sorry that had to happen to you and Benny.
     
  6. rona

    rona Guest

    This is why I started this thread, unless you have experienced a good hydrotherapist, you really don't know what to expect, and your dog reacting to the environment can sometimes make it seem as if some of what they do is warranted.
    I didn't realise that pulling him into the pool on the first visit wasn't a normal occurrence. I only knew that something was very wrong when she kept twisting him on his bad leg. She was also a vet nurse :rolleyes:
    I put in a complaint and was told it would be dealt with. I don't know if it was, as I have never seen her again.
    Mine is linked to a vet and is a member of CHA, can't get much more recommendation than those two!!!!!!
    I do recommend it to others, but stipulate only using the hydrotherapist I know.
     
  7. kazschow

    kazschow PetForums VIP

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    Mine was a CHA centre too, with a very good rep, I believe the woman had preconceptions of my breed, and massively over reacted (she was also a vet nurse!).

    Like you Rona, I put in a complaint, owner of the centre offered me physiotherapy as an alternative to hydro, but frankly I wouldn't get my dog through the door of the place so I declined. However I spoke at length to my vet, and she no longer refers to them, based on our experience.
     
  8. dodigna

    dodigna PetForums VIP

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    Good thread Rona, I never thought hydro could turn into such a nightmare, I suppose it makes perfect sense. You wonder if these people realize the responsibility they have when they deal with dogs...

    Hydro is something I will have go through at some point and would have already if the insurance paid for it. My dog is a bit phobic already and would not recover easy from a bad first experience. What happened with your chow is terrible, to get so stressed... poor boy!
     
  9. kazschow

    kazschow PetForums VIP

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    All that happened in less than 10 minutes :( Thankfully he's made a full recovery, and his leg is back to full fitness too.
     
  10. ChowChowmum

    ChowChowmum PetForums Member

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    Hi,

    My 2 and a half year old Chow Chow-Bella has had 2 crutiate ligament operations on both her left and right legs and after the second op I decided to try hydrotherapy to help the healing process.

    We started the hydrotherapy about 4 weeks after the TTA surgery. The hydrotherapy is a sort of treadmill in water, and the water is emptied after each dogs session.

    I have been so happy with the results, we take Bella about once a week and although she wasn't keen at first, I take a bag of treats and encourage her as she goes and can do about 40 minutes walking.

    I would really recommend the water walkers as you can really see how the leg is being used when walking.

    x
     
  11. rona

    rona Guest

    I really think you need to get recommendations on an individual hydrotherapist rather than a center.

    Most dogs will be nervous for a few visits, it's such an alien environment.
    How long have you been going?
     
  12. dodigna

    dodigna PetForums VIP

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    I understand, my dog lost his faith in vets when a new one got in a strop and rough handles him :(

    May I ask how much you pay per session? When I looked I could find at around £30 a session, maybe some £25.
     
  13. rona

    rona Guest

    Mines £25 for 30 mins, though if he's fit she sometimes gives him more if the previous one was a quick visit
     
  14. ChowChowmum

    ChowChowmum PetForums Member

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    We have been going once a week for about 7 weeks now and can really see a difference. Actually, our therapist has been on holiday for 2 weeks so Bella hasnt been getting her session and last night when she stood up she did seem stiff on her right leg (this was the second leg which was operated on) and we hadnt noticed her doing this for quite a while and i do think it is because she hasnt been to hydrotherapy for the past 2 weeks.
    Cant wait to take her back next week.

    We pay £12 for a 45 minute session and Bella wallks for the majority of the time. I think it is such good value. I would recommend it to anyone.:D
     
  15. dodigna

    dodigna PetForums VIP

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    That sounds very good value :)
     
  16. mollymo

    mollymo Life is Golden

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    When my GR had HD I took her for hydro and she hated it very much that I felt guilty every time I took her once a week....my hubby wouldnt watch.
    First of all I thought they would swim with her in the pool as some do....but no they did not....they just put a life jacket on her and dumped her in the water on a pole that she hated and tried biting the pole all the time and got herself well twisted up at some point and pushing herself under the water,I hated it and was in two minds not to continue,but thought if i didnt I was not doing her a favour in getting better and my vet suggested we carry on and she would get to like it,but she got worse as we went on.
    After her swim she would be washed and dried and that was a real performance I can tell you.
    By the the time I left the building I was more stressed than her.
    I think I may just of had a really scared girlie and unbeknown to us a very poorly girl and if she was here today to tell the tale i would never put her through that again.
     
  17. rona

    rona Guest

    I think mine would react like that if he was restricted with a pole, he is free to swim :)
     
  18. ChowChowmum

    ChowChowmum PetForums Member

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    That doesnt sound good at all. Bella can play up a bit in the water and try and jump up at the sides but generally she is ok and much better than I thought she would be.

    It has to be a good experience for both you and your dog.
     
  19. mollymo

    mollymo Life is Golden

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    Yes I think we both had a bad experience at hydro....I do think dogs benefit from hydro in the long run....but we didnt have the chance with our girl to find out....as she had another underlying cause we knew nothing about untill it was to late,so that was the possible cause of her dislike to the hydro so much was her illness.
     
  20. swarthy

    swarthy PetForums VIP

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    Not had any experience of hydrotherapy, but we are starting some 'treadmill' under water therapy for one of my girls in the near future (not one of my breeding girls) - will report back on how we get on.

    It's not cheap, but it is apparently covered by insurance, and our local clinic claims direct
     
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