In 2002, 13-year-old Evan watched his dog run into the path of an oncoming SUV. His beloved retriever looked too broken for hope. He wept as his parents gently the dog into their car. At the veterinary hospital, they learned their dog would survive, though it would take several surgeries and extensive therapy. Their retriever came home, but he never regained the vivacity or range of motion that Rocky 3, another retriever also hit by a car achieved The difference? The available range of therapies their caregivers could offer.
Rocky 3’s story, featured on his hospital’s website Hydropaws.com, highlights the value of offering a wide range of therapies: high tech and manual, including microcurrent electricity, cold laser, balance therapy, and the latest – underwater treadmills. An underwater treadmill for canines is relatively new. H2OForFitness has supplied a growing number of animal rehabilitation centers with its industry-leading Oasis Canine Underwater Treadmill. In 2002, this option was unavailable in Evan’s hometown of Indianapolis.
[ Also Read: Underwater Treadmill for Canine Rehabilitation ]What is an underwater treadmill?
Long used for animals, but an underwater canine treadmill advances hydrotherapy. Once hydrotherapy consisted only of pool work. The underwater treadmill improves upon traditional hydrotherapy by leveraging water’s natural buoyancy and resistance in combination with standard treadmill features. The water treadmill for dogs encases the treadmill with a tub that slowly fills with water with some models allowing for a dry entry which is helpful for dogs who are averse to water. Underwater treadmills allow therapists to customize water height, adjust incline, and, in some models, turn on jets.
Water levels and Buoyancy
The ability to adjust water levels allows therapists bring the water level up slowly enough for a dog to become comfortable. Water heights compliment the region of injury or condition being treated. For an animal with lower leg injuries, water might come only high enough to encompass the injured area. For a canine needing to lose weight or an animal with severe injuries like Rocky 3, high water increases buoyancy and reduces impact while dogs regain walking muscles and strength. Water’s natural resistance provides enough strength training for animals who’ve lost muscle mass. Adjustable water levels accommodate canines of all breeds.
[ Also Read: Build Your Treadmill ]Speed, Incline and Resistance Jets
Water alone is only partially effective for strength training. Swimming, walking and running are not enough. Features like incline, speed and resistance jets extend the gains. Just as a runner needs both speed and muscle work to improve health and avoid injury, so too canines need combinations of physical therapy. In place of squats, canines need resistance and incline to build muscle. These features combined with other PT help fix gait problems and balance. Therapists can speed up recovery and improve quality of life by incorporating a treadmill, particularly an underwater treadmill for canines, in physical therapy programs.
How much does an underwater treadmill for dogs cost?
Animal hospitals and clinics offer classical pool hydrotherapy at about $30 per session. Underwater treadmill therapy sessions for dogs are only slightly more, around $40-50 dollars. The treadmills themselves provide excellent health rewards worth the investment.
Clinics and hospitals can build their underwater treadmill at different sizes. The Oasis comes in the Mini Oasis, Oasis Classic and Oasis Pro. At a median investment of about $34,000 dollars for the Classic, your clinic can serve canines of all sizes and needs. Additional customizations may be added. The Classic features programmability, energy saver mode, large touch screen controls, variable motor speeds, speeds from .2 mph to 9mph, and a low profile design. Resistance jets, additional incline features, a second door walk-through, therapist bench and entry ramp are add-ons. The Mini offers many of the same features, but takes up less floor space. The Pro includes most of the features of the Classic, including some add-ons as standard. Professional and business training are included in the price.
As hydrotherapy treadmills for canines become increasingly popular, veterinarians find the features and training of models like the Oasis Pro facilitate faster and better integration into therapy services. Whatever your space, budget and needs, the value of underwater treadmills in your practice will speed up healing for beloved pets.