Joy, our Border Collie puppy, injured her left rib cage, resulting in a large hematoma behind her front leg. Her primary veterinarian, Dr. Betsy Gray placed a drain in the area and then as healing began to take place, I took her to Mountainside Veterinary Rehabilitation. Dr. Carlson began Integrative Medicine involving acupuncture, chiropractic and stretching exercises to assist Joy in her healing so that the injury would not inhibit her ability to fully extend and utilize her left leg. Joy is now in herding training and is fully healed with no evidence of her previous injury.
The underwater treadmill (UWT) main use is to increase muscle strength while decreasing the concussive force at joints. We can use the variable levels of water to change the amount of weight bearing, the resistance and the compression benefits of the water, it encourages passive hip extension, exaggerates the step height, increases general strength and allows us to focus on hind limbs and will help with proprioceptive/body awareness training. This varies from swimming in that swimming doesn’t allow weight bearing, requires increased elbow ROM (range of motion), requires increased carpal flexibility and stifle flexibility and it primarily builds front limb strength. The underwater treadmill can be used to decrease neuropathic pain, increase analgesia, increase circulation, increase elasticity of soft tissues, increase flexion/range of motion, treating orthopedic disease/dysfunction, weight loss, respiratory/cardiovascular health, increase strength and can help edema.