Monday, 13 May 2019

How Hydrotherapy Can Save Your Dog Life

My dog's Back story & Experience 

Hugo was born on 1st of June 2016 and is a red fawn bullmastiff.  He was diagnosed with severe elbow dysplasia and a loose vertebra which was causing wobbly back legs and 'wobbler syndrome' symptoms in January 2018.  They had no idea how my sweet boy was even walking because he basically had no elbow joints (no over-exaggerating).  

We then spent the next 6 months and thousands of pounds (thank god for insurance!!) at different specialists to be told every time 'put him down'.  We were got very annoyed at one vet who charged us £2500 for one day and then heartlessly told us he needed to be put down.  

I really couldn't believe it, Hugo was still walking, playing and happy.  He was only 1.5 years old.  I wasn't about to put him down unless he stopped enjoying life.  


In the summer of 2018 we found a canine hydrotherapy business on Facebook near us.  Honestly, I didn't know what to except and the first day didn't go so well.  Hugo was booked into the water treadmill and he couldn't walk on it.  It was the combination of not understanding that the floor was moving AND being so weak.  

The next few weeks we changed it about and found swimming.  He really only floated about and did a few tiny doggy strokes but that week we saw a difference.  After that, it has been a blur of my beautiful boy getting better.  We started with about 5 months of only swimming with the occasional physiotherapy appointment.  He got strong enough to go back to the treadmill and now alternates each week between swimming and treadmill.  

He quickly lost fat and gained muscle to help with his elbows.  He quickly got control of his back legs again too.  This was an actual miracle!  

What Hydrotherapy can and can't do

It is first important to know that although our hydrotherapy was and still is amazing, it completely depends on the dog's condition and the place you take them.  

Hugo has gone from 4 gabapentin tablets PER DAY to zero (although he does still get CBD).  He has changed from hardly being able to turn around without falling over to an almost normal dog.  He is now 3 years old and loving life (and his weekly hydrotherapy appointments).  

Another thing that is important for me to mention is that we never really know how long this will continue to help our dogs.  Sometimes it will only last for a year or so before the dog starts to go downhill again.  Other times, it could completely cure your dog's problems.  Again, it really does depend on your dog's condition.  

Hydrotherapy improves the movement of joints that may be fusing or already fused (Hugo's elbow and shoulder joints were are almost fused and now are almost the same as a normal dogs range of motion) and it builds muscle to help the joints without high impact.  


I am not any type of animal expert but instead only an animal lover who wants to share her tips.  Please consult relevant animal specialists and do not only take my advice.

 The Rider's Pets


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