What are the advantages of the aquatic treadmill over a pool?
The aquatic treadmill allows land-based exercise intolerant animals to exercise.

  • It allows for semi-weight bearing exercise in a pain free environment
  • Allows load bearing and correct use of muscles and joints whilst being supported
  • Protocol development is specific
  • It is controlled, safe and accurate. The speed, duration and level of difficulty is precise, there is no guesswork.
  • It expedites recovery times to land-based exercise

How is the water maintained?
The water is continually filtered and heated. I change the entire storage tank of 1100 litres weekly and test the water sanitisation after every dog. I use chlorine but am fastidious in ensuring that the balance is correct and also the ph balance is correct for the dog’s skin. The water is heated to a temperature (30 -32F) which I have found to be the optimum for a dog to be able to exercise whilst gaining the benefits from its thermal properties.

How does the aquatic treadmill work for rehabilitation?
Common mobility conditions can be improved both pre and post surgically. Pre-op, it can assist in reducing muscle wasting and post surgically it will improve muscle development to the contra lateral limb in addition to overall conditioning. Cardio vascular fitness is improved and there is improved blood supply to the surgical site. If weight loss is required pre surgery, the aquatic treadmill can expedite this process particularly if land based exercise has been contra indicated and the dog is relying on weight loss through diet alone. The aquatic treadmill is beneficial for dogs for whom swimming is not an option i.e. extremely large breeds or hydrophobic dogs. The aquatic treadmill allows for semi-weight bearing exercise in a pain free environment and faster conditioning of the joints and muscles.The dog has to work correctly and it recruits muscles in a much more functional way, more akin to walking on land.

How long are the appointments and what is involved?
Your initial appointment will be approx 1hr . Please allow plenty of time to arrive and allow your dog to relieve himself. During this appointment I will take some history and discuss the treatment plan with you. Your dog will have some massage treatment before introducing him/her to the aquatic treadmill. This can take some if your dog is nervous. However, some take to it straightaway. I will give your dog plenty of time and be patient until he/she is confident enough to put some water in the tank. I find that very few refuse to co-operate and most grow to enjoy their sessions.

All further appointment times are approximately ½ hour. I will devise a protocol of treatments so that your dog progresses at a rate that he is comfortable with until we have reached our target goal. This will depend on variables such as age, condition, fitness level and mobility prior to start of treatment.

Why do you need a vet referral?
Before I agree to see your dog it is essential that your vet has approved that this treatment is suitable and advantageous for him/her. Your vet will also be able to provide me with relevant information, plus any other useful history relating to the condition/injury or other areas where there may be cause for concern. With a vet’s referral I am then happy to treat your dog and offer feedback to the vet as to your pet’s progress.

How is massage different from ‘stroking’?
Massage has many benefits that go beyond stroking. It is the manipulation of the soft tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, skin) in order to help relieve pain, improve flexibility, increase circulation, reduce tension and spasm and restore mobility after trauma (injury/surgery for example).

What conditions can massage help with?
Massage can greatly assist your dog during recovery and aid in the management of, or recovery from, musculoskeletal problems and painful or debilitating conditions. For example, Chronic Osteoarthritis (although not a cure it will help relieve the pain and muscle tension), OCD (Osteochondritis Dissecans) in fast-growing large breeds, back problems (post spinal surgery, spondylosis, muscle pain and spasm), Hip Dysplasia and orthopaedic procedures especially cruciate ligament surgery.

What types of dogs would benefit from a massage?

Whether he is an agility competition dog, a racing dog, a show dog, a working dog or a treasured family pet any dog can benefit from massage. Not only dogs with muscular problems but used as a maintenance therapy it can keep all dogs fit and flexible, improve older dogs circulation and have a calming effect on over boisterous puppies.

Are there any side effects of the massage?

Massage uses no drugs or aids and is a totally natural, holistic therapy. There are no side-effects. However, certain systems within the body may be stimulated i.e. digestive system and circulation.

How long is a session typically?

Treatments can be from 30 mins to 1hr depending on how your dog relaxes and also the type of condition being treated. Some dogs can only tolerate 30 mins to start but eventually will build up to longer sessions as they become accustomed to being manipulated.

What are your charges?

HandsOnHounds fees are:
Initial Consultation and treatment £60.00 for an hour
Further treatments @ £48.00 for up to 45 minutes.

How many sessions does my dog need?
This varies depending upon the individual case and what the treatment is for. For example 6-8 sessions is not uncommon for post surgical rehabilitation. In a normal, healthy dog a maintenance massage is often beneficial once every 4-6 weeks.

Does massage combine well with any other therapy?
Massage can complement other therapies, again depending on why the dog is receiving treatment. It is very often used in conjunction with hydrotherapy for post surgical patients, arthritic patients or other conditions that require gentle exercise and rehabilitation. Osteopathy also works well with massage as it works on the skeletal system, whilst massage concentrates on the soft tissues, thereby combining the body as a whole.