Obesity is a major epidemic in our pets and can predispose them to developing arthritis, multiple endocrine diseases, and an overall shortened life span of at least two years. To top it off, once pets are overweight they have less energy to move and do not always have proper heart and lung capacity in order to lose that weight. Underwater treadmill therapy is a way to fight this epidemic for our babies now. There are several unique characters of water that allow pets to improve their overall quality as length of life.
The buoyancy of water allows overweight pets to be able to walk in a pain free fashion because they do not have to bear as much weight. Next, as your babies walk through the water, they have to fight against the turbulence of the water water molecules surrounding their body in addition to breaking through surface tension of the water, both of which allow for increasing muscle strength and endurance. Finally, walking through water is highly aerobic, meaning it is going to improve your babies heart and lung capacity.
While similar to swimming as it is water therapy, the underwater treadmill has several unique benefits over swimming. First, it has the ability to control the level of the water, meaning your pet may bear as much as 92% of their weight to as little as 40% of their weight. Many obese patients walk much better when they don’t have to bear as much weight. As they get stronger, we would like them to bear more weight, however, to continue to build muscle and strength. The second is that the treadmill belt actually helps to improve proper extension of the hip, knee, and ankle. This movement is imperative to allow your baby to walk around appropriately. Swimming actually focus on flexion of these joints, which is not as imperative to normal day to day functions and is, therefore, not as beneficial.
We believe that every pets deserves to have a pain free quality of life. Underwater treadmill conditioning programs is a way to help them achieve that.