Under Water Treadmill

Hydrotherapy at Skylos Sports Medicine

We recommend hydrotherapy as part of a complete rehabilitation program to treat orthopedic disease, accelerate post-op recoveries, and maintain overall good physical and mental health. Some of the many benefits of hydrotherapy include:

  • Increased mobility and limb use
  • Muscle recovery and rebuilding muscle mass
  • Pain management
  • Conditioning, toning, and cardiovascular endurance

We maintain a water temperature in the upper 80s for our Under Water Treadmill (UWT) to increase circulation and promote soft tissue relaxation and flexibility. Hydrostatic forces naturally compress around the joints, a pleasant sensation that can aid in reducing swelling while providing spine, joint, and soft tissue comfort. Higher depths of water and buoyancy provide the semi-weightless support that enables patients to move with less hesitation or guarding of surgical limbs or in a weakened state. Dogs, just like people, tend to walk with an exaggerated gait in water, which encourages the joints and soft tissues to flex and extend at their full range of motion thereby retraining limb use and boosting joint nutrition. The ‘resistance factors’ of walking against water helps determine the work intensity for the dog. Time, rate, water height, belt incline, and jets are adapted for individualized exercise goals. Most dogs are invigorated by getting to work in our UWT as a means to expend energy and feel good in a hydro environment. The benefits are numerous that carry over into the dog’s land-based activities and overall well-being, making them look forward to their next Skylos visit.

What to Expect

Our goal is for your pet to have a positive experience while gaining these benefits.  To ensure this is possible for all patients we adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Your pet has been deemed healthy and safe for hydrotherapy
    • No skin, ear, respiratory, or urinary tract infections are present, nor open wounds.
    • Cardiac, respiratory, or immune-compromised patients will be considered on an individual basis.
  • Your pet is consistently ‘continent’ – does not urinate or defecate without control or when stressed (accidents can still happen, but we do not knowingly place incontinent dogs in our water)
    • We ask that you arrive 10-15 minutes ahead of time to walk your pet, allowing time to relieve themselves and to acclimate to the setting.
    • Do not feed your pet prior to arrival as this may stimulate defecation.
  • Scheduling of water sessions are planned to allow a brief evaluation prior to exercise, getting a water harness on, appropriate exercise and break intervals, and towel dry off time afterwards. If you are unable to arrive on time for your pet’s appointment. we will need to reschedule the appointment or shorten the session to accommodate our next patient coming in.
  • Your pet is clean and brushed prior to arrival – unfortunately if we feel your pet’s coat will adversely affect water quality or equipment efficiency above average expectations we will have to re-schedule the session to prevent impacting the patients coming later in the day.
  • Your pet’s hydro-therapist will monitor the entire session to ensure safety, and to ensure that beneficial exercise occurs
    • Breaks and session length are determined by the therapist in the best interest of patient health.
    • Even though water is supportive and allows dogs to walk with more ease, time spent walking in water does not correlate to a land walk—for this reason, we start new patients off gradually or reduce the time of exercise with certain conditions.
  • Our therapists will work with you and your dog individually and adapt each session according to patient needs and goals
    • Most of our dogs do well with their guardian present; however, some focus better with the just the therapist working one-on-one.
    • Positive reinforcement and praise are important as the dog shows effort and engagement in the process.
    • It is natural to show nervousness in new settings like an UWT, but our team is experienced in coaching dogs through to enjoy themselves. Sometimes it takes until the 2nd or 3rd session for things to seem ‘routine’ to the patient and their guardian, as every dog will respond uniquely.
  • We provide harness, treats, and TLC – but if you have a favorite focus toy or preferred harness type we are all about a positive experience.
  • We also offer UWT sessions combined with other rehab therapies or as a drop off service for Skylos Rehab Patients.

We look forward to introducing you and your pet to Hydrotherapy!