There are a number of benefits that swimming in our resistance pool can provide whether for a dog on the mend or a canine athlete looking to maintain endurance.
“There are a lot of reasons I prescribe the resistance pool,” explains Dr. Zenoni. “There’s an overall increase in cardiovascular circulation as well as elbow flexion. Being in the pool allows the muscles more range of motion. Dogs with shoulder, elbow, or carpus issues tend to be good candidates for this type of modality.”
Swimming in the resistance pool is also good for amputees as gaiting can sometimes be difficult in the underwater treadmill. Dogs that are experiencing stiffness may find that sessions in the pool release some of that tension when they are able to float and relax their muscles. The therapist working with a patient like this may choose to guide the dog in gentle range of motion or massage while in the pool to ease muscle tightness.
The pool is also a great conditioning tool for active/athletic dogs.
“It’s a way to build muscle and work on stamina as well as overall body conditioning,” says Dr. Zenoni. Laura Krill, CCRA, likes the versatility the resistance pool can offer for patients. “For stronger patients, we might do a session without the life jacket on so that they are using more of their own body to keep them afloat. Weights or a resistance band can also be used to make it a little more challenging. On the other end, our more geriatric patients can benefit from the massage jets.”
It is important to have a rehabilitation veterinarian evaluate each patient to determine if their condition would be appropriately managed by therapeutic swimming. “There may be circumstances, health or orthopedic, that can hinder the resistance pool’s effectiveness,” states Dr. Zenoni.