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Is hydrotherapy right for you pet?


Controlled swimming helps to improve cardiovascular stamina, muscle tone, range of movement and is particularly helpful in aiding recovery from injury or surgery whilst also improving general fitness, especially in the management of obesity.

Muscle wastage begins within 3 days of any immobilisation so to prevent further weakness or injury it is important to rebuild, through safe exercise, any muscles that have deteriorated.

It is better to treat dogs in heated water since cold water causes constriction of the blood vessels near the skin and to the superficial muscles (those just under the skin) which restricts the flow of blood making the muscles less efficient.

Hydrotherapy is also considered to be a natural anti-inflammatory through its ability to reduce tissue swelling.

Hydrotherapy can be performed in either a pool or aquatic treadmill in which JCB Animal Physio Rehabilitation offers both

Hydrotherapy in conjunction with veterinary treatment can significantly improve the quality and rate of healing following surgery or traumatic injury. Post surgery the careful use of hydrotherapy can help with rehabilitation and increase the chance of a successful return to full fitness.

Enhancing general health and fitness can aid convalescence and speed up recovery

Hydrotherapy has specific therapeutic effects on body tissues



Hydrotherapy is an excellent form of exercise because most of the muscles used in daily movement are involved – without the stresses caused by motion on hard ground. On land, each footfall creates a shock wave which travels up the limb and is absorbed by bones, tendons and joints. While these stresses are necessary to maintain healthy strong bone, if these shock waves are severe or repetitive they can actually damage or weaken the limb, particularly an arthritic joint or one recovering from an injury or surgery.


Hydrotherapy allows the “working out” and strengthening of the muscles while avoiding this potentially damaging concussion. Due to the increased resistance of movement created by the water, the muscles have to work harder than they would do on land.

At JCB Animal Physio Rehabilitation Centre we are striving to be able to offer your pets all the options of rehabilitation under one roof. New to Autumn 2021, we have now installed an underwater treadmill to be able to offer the complete package of physiotherapy and hydrotherapy under one roof! Take a look at the specs below:


Hydrotherapy Pool
2.2m x 2m swim space
1.2m swim depth
Twin jets
Easy access ramp in and out
Resting platform


Pool therapy provides:

  • Therapist with 360 degree control

  • Better control of humidity and temperature

  • Proprioceptively rich therapies

  • Ability to undertake dynamic & static handling

  • The ability to walk and swim dogs

Can be limited in…

  • Supporting nervous dogs

  • Provision for compact treatment centres

  • Single therapist treatment of paralysis conditions


8mph speed
forwards and backwards

Low viewing panels on each side

Low entry

Touch screen control

Water depth markers


Underwater treadmill therapy provides:

  • Ability to quickly control water height

  • The ability to walk and swim dogs

  • Ability to undertake dynamic & static handling

  • Compact space compatible treatment

  • The need for just one therapist

Can be limited in…

  • Therapists access to all areas of the dog

  • Ability to control humidity

  • Ability to control overstretch of the spine

  • The ability to vary rehabilitation techniques

How do you make the right choice

As you can see from above, both formats provide the ability to undertake extensive portfolios of dynamic and static handling techniques however ultimately the decision should come down to the Behaviour and Breed Standards of your animal – not the marketing ploys of hydrotherapy businesses.

So, in our opinion, choosing a hydrotherapy type should be based on:

A Hydrotherapy Pool

If your dog:

  • Is a brachycephalic breed due to the humidity risks of a treadmill

  • Is nervous of enclosed environments due to the nature of a treadmill

  • Is an amputee as a dog losing balance in a treadmill could be catastrophic

  • Is a large breed that simple won’t comfortably fit in anything other than a pool

An Underwater Treadmill

If your dog:

  • Is nervous of large open environments due to the nature of a hydrotherapy pool

  • Is nervous of water as treadmills can be filled slowly

  • Has significant access issues due to the ability to enter and exit easily or where second therapists are unavailable

Here at JCB Animal Physio Rehabilitation Centre we strive to provide the correct care and rehabilitation to your animals needs taking many factors into account from injury or ailment, to temperament, health status and conformation

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