Post-operative rehabilitation and physical therapy go together just swimmingly — literally! Pet parents may think of hydrotherapy as something pets need only after major orthopedic surgery, but it can also help alleviate other conditions, including:
- Pain from a previous injury, surgery or arthritis
- Neurologic conditions such as intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), vestibular disease and degenerative myelopathy
- Decreased mobility due to weakness or lost muscle mass
In addition to physical benefits, pets recovering from injuries are often put on cage rest and can get a little stir crazy. Hydrotherapy allows pets to see new faces, get back on their paws and get a much-needed break from being cooped up all day.
What can you expect if your veterinarian recommends hydrotherapy? Patients are considered on a case-by-case basis, but generally pets start with 30- to 40-minute sessions once or twice a week. Costs vary widely, ranging from $35 to $80 per session, but many facilities offer packages at a slightly reduced cost — a comprehensive pet insurance policy can help, too!
If you think hydrotherapy can benefit your pet, talk to your vet. You might not even need to visit a referral practice or canine rehabilitation facility — some general practice clinics have their own water treadmills!