Unfortunately, if your dogs are predisposed to arthritis, or have been diagnosed with a condition such as hip or elbow dysplasia, there is not a lot that can be done to prevent the onset of arthritis. However, there are plenty of things that can be done to slow it down and manage it so that your pet can move around and be as pain free as possible for as long as possible.
Some insurance companies will include a few sessions in a variable buoyancy environment as part of the physical therapy.
If it is treated surgically, hydrotherapy encourages joint mobility and stabilises the joint through building up muscle mass quickly and safely so it is a very effective management of hip dysplasia in conjunction with regular medication and dietary supplements.
Water-based therapy is a perfect environment for a dog with elbow dysplasia. The warm, supportive medium provides pain relief and allows mobilisation of joints in a buoyant / semi-buoyant environment, maintenance and strengthening of specific muscle groups and enhancement of general cardiovascular fitness which on land might not be so easy. The effect of buoyancy allowed increased flexion and extension when in the water, allowing further range of movement when back on dry land. Furthermore, hydrotherapy increases circulation, reducing pain and allowing muscle relaxation.
Is your pup showing symptoms of discomfort in his lower body or a reduction in mobility? He could be suffering from early signs of canine hip dysplasia.
Hydrotherapy, in particular, the underwater treadmill can be a useful tool for strengthening specific muscles and improving gait patterns. The buoyancy of the water provides support to the body which in turn reduces the load on the affected joints whilst exercising the necessary muscles.