You will often find that, after orthopaedic surgery, or even in some cases, for arthritic animals or problems that they’ve had with joints, that you will be advised to take your pet for hydrotherapy or for physiotherapy. This is used very much as it is in the human world, it is all about recovery and improving the function of your muscles doing low impact exercises. So with the physiotherapy, it will involve a lot of learning how to move particular joints in a way that is not painful for your animal but encourages them to use the muscles to move that joint and to build up the musculature. And this might be because, after an orthopaedic surgery, they have had cage rest for six weeks and they’ve not been able to exercise properly, so we need to get the function of those limbs back, the ones that have been operated on, but also safely get your pet back to exercising the way that it was prior to surgery.
On the hydrotherapy side, this is a low-impact exercise. There are two types of hydrotherapy that most dogs will have, tend not to do hydrotherapy with cats, because they are not massive fans of the water. We have a pool where animals, or dogs, in particular, will swim. We also have water treadmills, so this is where an animal will be in the water as it builds up resistance for them to walk against and improve the build-up of the muscle more safer, more comfortable than it would be trying to get them just to walk on land without the water pressure there. In older animals, physiotherapy is also really, really important to keep those muscles as active as you can so that they do not get muscle wastage. And especially in arthritic animals, if you can provide them with exercises that you can do at home with them, then you can hopefully help those arthritic joints stay more comfortable for longer. We normally use hydrotherapy and physiotherapy in conjunction with anti-inflammatories or with joint supplements, depending on what the condition is that you are using it for. And I think it is all part of a holistic approach, to trying to maintain muscle function, mobility and joint health.