Who Benefits?

All kinds of patients and cases can receive the positive benefits of physical rehabilitation.  Examples are provided below but be willing to expand this service to patients where rehab may not be the most obvious choice.

Underwater Treadmill

Pre- and/or post-operative care
The most common application of hydrotherapy is in post-op rehabilitation therapy for orthopedic procedures, particularly cruciate ligament surgery, such as Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy, Tibial Tuberosity Advancement or Extracapsular repair.   Patients are able to get into the water approximately 10-14 days after their incisions heal to begin to re-mobilize the joint.  In the early stages of hydrotherapy, the water can be kept at a higher depth and the treadmill belt kept at a slow speed to minimize the impact on the joint.   As the patient progresses, the height of the water can be gradually decreased while increasing the treadmill speed until the dog can walk with his or her full weight on the limb.  Treadmill sessions may not be very long initially, but as the patient gets stronger, the sessions should increase in time to challenge the pet further.

Other post-operative situations to consider for rehabilitation in the Underwater Treadmill:

    • Triple Pelvic Osteotomy
    • Femoral Head Osteotomy
    • Total Joint Replacements
    • Fractures
    • Laminectomies

Non-surgical orthopedic, neurologic and/or degenerative conditions

There are some conditions where surgery may not be necessary or recommended.  The Underwater Treadmill may provide an alternative option for those patients.  As part of a rehab program, the Underwater Treadmill enables the patient to safely exercise while recovering from an injury or, rehabbing certain other neurologic or orthopedic conditions.

  • Acute, severe or chronic soft tissue injuries
  • Tendonitis/Bursitis
  • Muscle Strains/Sprains/Spasms
  • Tendon/Ligament Injuries
  • Joint Issues 
  • Elbow/Hip Dysplasias
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Luxating Patellas
  • Neurologic Problems
    • Spinal Trauma or Degenerative Conditions
    • Peripheral Neuropathies
    • Degenerative Myelopathy
    • Intervertebral Disc Disease

Weight Loss

With pet obesity reaching the most frequent levels in history, exercise is more important now than ever.  Hydrotherapy allows patients to exercise in a safe, controlled, comfortable environment at a pace based on his or her health and fitness ability.  Oftentimes, these patients also exhibit signs of arthritis, making the Underwater Treadmill the optimal environment for working off those extra pounds.

Conditioning and Strength Training

An often overlooked option for utilizing the underwater treadmill is as a fitness tool.  Changing the depth of the water and exercise speed, with the option of adding an incline or resistance with jets, can provide an excellent workout to challenge the canine athlete during cold winter months or hot summer days.


Having a patient walk in the underwater treadmill can allow you to observe lameness that may not have been as obvious with the patient walking on land.  When walking underwater, the issue will appear more prominently so you can determine what the next course of action will be.

Stance Analyzer

The Stance Analyzer can be a great tool to help pinpoint where lameness exists in the patient.  It is sensitive enough to measure subtle changes in weight bearing that may be difficult to see if the dog is compensating while walking or jogging.  By being able to recognize improper weight shifting quickly and objectively, a treatment plan can be prescribed for each patient.  Reanalyzing the stance during rechecks after the treatment plan has been implemented allows a history to be created and compared over a period of time to see the pet’s progress.  The history can help determine whether or not to continue with the initial plan or try something different.

When to use

  • Wellness Exams
    Consider putting each patient that comes in for a yearly exam on the Stance Analyzer to keep track of any changes that may occur from year to year as well as his or her weight.  It is a great way to keep ahead of the curve for diagnosing and treating issues promptly while maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Lameness Exams
    One of the main reasons a patient comes in for a visit is “limping”.  The Stance can be a part of every lameness exam to see how much weight a patient is loading and/or offloading from one limb to another and if there are multiple limbs involved.
  • Physical Rehabilitation
    By obtaining an analysis for each session, the dog’s progress can be graphed to see how the rehab is progressing.
  • Pre-and/or Post-Operative
    Collecting data before surgery and after surgery can be a vital tool in providing feedback on the success of the procedure.
  • Pre-and/or Post-Treatments
    Whether laser therapy, cold compression therapy, hydrotherapy, etc., are being used, getting the before and after data will show pet owners the value of their investment in their pets.  They will be able to physically see the changes taking place in front of them.
  • Rechecks
    After a dog has been taking medications, such as NSAIDs or nutraceuticals, participating in an at home exercise program or had surgery several weeks prior, objectively acquiring the weight bearing numbers shows the patient is on the right track.
  • Geriatric Programs
    Older patients are at a higher risk of degenerative diseases so adding the Stance Analyzer to a geriatric program will be important for maintaining their quality of life and comfort through their golden years by identifying problems earlier.

Cold Compression Therapy

Pre- and/or post-operative care
The trauma to tissues that occurs before and after surgery can be minimized with cold and graduated compression therapy.  Combining the effects of icing and intermittent pneumatic compression helps decrease inflammation and edema to lessen a pet’s soreness and swelling while enhancing the healing process.

Cold Compression therapy can be used when musculoskeletal trauma has occurred due to soft tissue injury.  This provides a great addition in helping manage the pet’s pain while reducing  swelling to achieve a faster recovery.

Ice sore muscles post-workout, especially when sprains or strains have occurred, with the cold compression wrap.  Minimize muscle spasms, lactic acid build up and edema to keep the pet functioning at an optimum level.

For more information about Companion Rehabilitation products visit our products page or contact Companion and we will provide you with additional information about our industry-leading technology.

October 2018
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