IVG Newsletter – February 2016 Edition
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Advancing the Standards of Veterinary Care
Treadmills are used in the veterinary physical therapy and rehabilitation world to encourage the patient to redevelop their gait and body position while walking. While a person can be asked to bear weight on a post surgical limb, a dog or a cat will compensate in order to avoid pain.
Two types of treadmills are used in veterinary sports medicine and rehabilitation: the conventional treadmill and the underwater treadmill. Each is used for a different function and to encourage different behaviors.
Your sports medicine team will work with you to ensure all exercises, even those you may be performing at home with your pet, are conducted in a safe and carefully monitored environment. As with human physical therapy, a slow and steady recovery is the best approach to long term success.
In veterinary sports medicine and rehabilitation conventional treadmills are used to improve gait characteristics and to promote weight bearing following surgery or injury. The treadmill challenges balance, sense of leg position and coordination for the patient, thereby helping to normalize hip and knee range of motion.
If a patient has sustained an injury to either the hip or the knee, or has had surgery to either joint, exercising the pet in a safe and supervised environment on a conventional treadmill can be very well tolerated and effective.
An underwater treadmill is a self contained unit allowing for buoyancy and resistance training while walking on a treadmill submerged in 80 – 84 degree water.
The unit itself is comprised of:
The dog (or cat, if they are comfortable in water) walks into the dry treadmill unit with the therapist, the door is closed behind them and water enters the chamber to the desired depth and buoyancy. Depending on the size of the patient this can take from thirty seconds to two minutes. The treadmill is turned on and your dog or permissive cat walks for a prescribed time and speed, both of which are based the patient’s rehabilitation needs.
Following the aquatic therapy session, the water is drained, the dog (or cat) and the therapist leave the treadmill and the patient is towel or blow dried.
Combining the properties of water and excercise in a controlled environment allow for a number of wide ranging benefits.
Benefits of the underwater treadmill include the following: