Arthritis basically is inflammation of the joint which is caused by cartilage being damaged which leads to the bones rubbing together causing excruciating pain.
Arthritis affects 4 out of 5 older dogs and is now being seen much earlier on in life. It’s the most common chronic pain in dogs which can cause behaviour changes and unfortunately arthritis is the cause of the highest elective euthanasia in dogs which is incredibly sad.
Arthritis is the silent disease which often you do not realise is there until it is in the latter stages when it’s harder to maintain.
Capability and gait issues ← Chronic Pain → Postural changes
Things you as an owner may notice:-
Things you as an owner can do to help:-
How Hydrotherapy can help your dog with arthritis
The hydrostatic pressure can help to reduce inflammation, the warm water will get the blood circulating and the fact that there is zero impact going through the joint when swimming in a pool will mean that your dog will be able to exercise in the pool without the pain associated with land based exercise. Please check out my OAP sessions for your elderly dogs.
So there a quite a few of you out there that would think my dog has fur why on earth would it need a coat? However in the case of hydrotherapy especially in the colder months a drying coat is most beneficial after a hydrotherapy session.
When performing hydrotherapy on your dog your dog is in water which is heated to 28-32 degrees which is like having a warm bath. The dog is exercised in the warm water which allows the muscles to relax and eases any pain in the joints which will in turn increase the range of movement in the joints and muscles.
If the joints and muscles are allowed to get cold after hydrotherapy this will limit the movement and pain may be quicker to return and the benefits of hydrotherapy may be reduced. It is therefore important that we keep your dog warm after hydro so that they don't seize up. Adding a drying coat means that this can be put on after the hydro session and help keep them warmer for longer but also assist with the drying process. The drying coats draw the moisture from the dog's fur through the towel lining and it sits on the top of the fleece outer layer. I have used a number of drying coats in my time with dogs but the best one by far that I have found is the Dog & Field drying coat. This is the only one I stock and although it only comes in two colours they cannot be beaten in my eyes for the job they do.
If you don't have a coat available to use, I do have drying coats available to purchase or alternatively you can purchase these directly from Dog & Field by clicking here.
Hydrotherapy to aid weight loss in dogs
If you have noticed that your dog has put on some extra pounds you may not think that this is a problem however having an obese dog can become a problem quite quickly.
Carrying excess weight puts extra pressure on the joints which will eventually lead to joint issues such as arthritis or possible ligament damage meaning expensive surgery may be recommended. Where puppies are still growing and become overweight this can affect their growth and cause further issues later in life. Not only does the excess weight put pressure on the joints it also puts pressure on the lungs and heart an increase in blood pressure making every day activities more difficult.
A dogs’ life span can be shortened if they are overweight so it is really important to keep them as fit and healthy for as long as possible.
Obese dogs are more likely to contract diabetes which can be costly when it comes to medicating not to mention the impact that this can have on your dog’s life. If your dog ever has to have an operation dogs who are carrying more weight have increased risks when it comes to anaesthesia.
Older dogs who are less active find it harder to shift the weight because they are less active.
So first thing’s first, visit your Vet and create a plan with them.
It is important for the weight to come off at a steady pace rather than a massive weight loss in a short period of time as they are likely to keep it off. Dog food guidelines on the back of dog food packs are guidelines only and each dog is individual so it is a case of monitoring them on a weekly basis.
Your Vet may recommend a diet, a change to a low calorie food or extra exercise such as hydrotherapy.
Hydrotherapy can be added to your dog’s usual routine to help aid weight loss. Because of the resistance of the water hydrotherapy sessions are equivalent to a much greater amount of land based exercise as well as having other benefits such as reducing pain, increasing strength, muscle and mobility which will then help with land based activities. If there is any swelling around the joints hydrotherapy can also help to reduce this. Most importantly as hydrotherapy is non weight bearing exercise this helps reduce the pressure on the joints.
If you have an overweight dog and think hydrotherapy can help with your dog’s weight loss then please get in touch.
So I have decided that it would be great to have a blog to let you know what is going on at Loyalwill Canine Hydrotherapy Centre, case studies of the patients I have treated and also I shall be blogging with some topics close to the heart of dog owners in order to try and help you with your dogs. Keep checking in as I have so many topics I would like to cover. I will be back soon.