Small Animal Hydrotherapy

What is Small Animal Hydrotherapy?



Hydrotherapy in its basic form is controlled exercise in heated water. It uses the the properties of water hydrostatic pressure, resistance, buoyancy, viscosity, cohesion, turbulence and water temperature to work together to achieve the optimal environment for treatment. At Kernow Paws we have both an underwater treadmill and a hydrotherapy pool.


The underwater treadmill allows us to change the depth of the water to control the amount of weight that is being put through your pets limbs, so we can work towards full weight bearing. We can also vary the speed of the treadmill to achieve desired treatment outcomes.


The hydrotherapy pool allows swimming with zero weight bearing so this is particularly good for arthritic or overweight dogs who need to get moving to help build back their supportive muscle mass.

Benefits of Small Animal Hydrotherapy

  • Improve range of motion and mobility


  • Minimise weight on arthritic joints or during post op recovery


  • Enhance cardiovascular function and performance


  • Accelerate return to function after injury


  • Provide stability and confidence whilst exercising


  • Intensify conditioning/muscle strengthening


  • Boost weight loss


  • Relief of pain, swelling and stiffness


  • Gait modification


  • Increased proprioception





What to Expect at Your First Appointment

Before you attend for your initial appointment I will ask you to get your vet to fill out one of our veterinary consent forms (in accordance with the Veterinary Surgery (exemptions) Order 1962). This ensures that I am aware of any significant conditions your dog may have and if there are any conditions that may prohibit treatment.


Then on your initial appointment I will go through this form with you to ensure the information is correct as far as you are aware and obtain your consent to treatment. I will ask some basic questions about your dogs regular routines so I can gauge their activity level and environment.


Then I will conduct an initial assessment of your dogs gait (walking pattern), this will involve me observing your dog moving as directed.


Next I conduct a nose to tail examination to ensure there aren't any obvious problems that may mean we cannot go ahead with treatment.


Then your dog will be fitted with either a harness or float coat dependant on wether they are going to be using the hydrotherapy pool or underwater treadmill.


Your dog will then be showered to ensure there isn't any debris in their fur before entering the water. This warm shower also promotes blood flow to the skin and extremities which helps prime the muscles prior to their treatment. (This will happen at each subsequent session.)


The next step is to introduce your dog to the underwater treadmill/hydrotherapy pool. This is done at their pace and if they are particularly anxious we may not even get them in the water on their first visit. Our aim on the initial appointment is to make them feel at ease in what is quite a foriegn environment to them. If they are able we will try a controlled swim or slow walk on the treadmill.


Once their familiarisation is complete the dog will be showered again to rinse off the chlorinated water (this is at the same levels as a normal swimming pool to ensure the water stays sanitised). We will then towel dry your dog and can also use a blaster to dry them if you would prefer this. If it is cold weather it may be advisable to bring a blanket or coat for your dog to ensure they stay warm after treatment particularly if they are short haired.


This initial session will take approximately 60-90 minutes.



Initial Session £35


Follow up Session £30


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