Hydrotherapy and physiotherapy are very beneficial for showing, working and sporting dogs as they can help to:-
* repair soft tissue injuries
* provide the dog with suppleness, stability and strength in order to start the working/sporting season
* promote balance and stability
* improve core stability and strength
* encourage focus
* enable return to work/sport faster
* improve range of motion in joints
* increase suppleness of muscles and soft tissue
* increase muscle tone and strength
* promote body awareness and improve gait
to name a few
Dogs who compete and train in agility put their bodies through an amazing range of positions and stress.
Just like professional athletes, these dogs need proper warm-ups, cool-downs, nutrition and training management.
Without the correct routine of health care, these dogs can get injuried which can affect their performance and can even shorted their working life.
Even injuries received in the past can affect the performance and this can be improved by hydrotherapy and physiotherapy.
These treatments can either be to help prevent injury or as rehabilitation following damage. The sessions can be used as part of the dogs own training program especially when working to improve core stability and proprioception.
Fly-ball dogs use straight line speed and fast tight turns to excel at their sport. This can lead stresses and strains on their backs and shoulders especially as they tend to turn one particular way on the box each time. Just like agility dogs they need structured care and training routines.
These photos show the spinal flexion an agility dog uses to go through the weave poles at speed.
All this flexion control comes from the spinal muscles and core while the legs provide the push against the ground.
These few photos show the take off and landing of jumps which require the dog to turn in mid air as well and jump over the pole. These positions can cause stresses in the shoulders, lumber back and neck areas.
These couple of photos show the angle of the wrists upon landing after a jump. You can see the amount of extension that take place. Hydrotherapy can help strengthen the wrists to prevent stains and can help the body deal with the impact of landing better.
You can see here the distance a dog takes away from the jump in order to clear it at speed.
He takes off nearly 2 m before the jump and lands a good 1m the other side of it.
This puts a lot of pressure on the muscles of the hind legs and lumber spine as they have to provide the lift and power upon extension to propel the dog forward and upwards.
Another couple of pictures to show lateral flexion when jumping. This also shows how close to the jump the dog has take off in order to be able to turn effectively and safely. Hydrotherapy will help in core stability which will give the dog the power and control to be able to turn and land
This picture shows the extension upon take off
A dog can travel along the dog walk in less then 2 seconds. Core stabilty is very important as is awareness of paw placement and excellent body balence. Hydrotherapy sessions can help build up these qualities to improve performance and speed.
These photos show Taz enjoying himself at fly-ball training.
As he lands on the box it is his right front paw which lands first, followed by his left paw. At this point all his weight is on his front legs as his hind legs are still airborne.
As he starts to turn his head and neck, his elbows and shoulders start to absorb the shock of impact and this then is taken up with his spine and back muscles.
You can see the angles of his wrists as he turns on the box.
His hind legs are tucked up underneath him ready to land on the box.
This causes his back to arch and his right shoulder to abduct away from his body to take up the strain.
As Taz puts his hind legs on the box his wrists and elbows are starting to straighten and push his front end off the box.
At this point Taz's body is still being carried forward by the momentum of his entry to the box.
The lower hind leg is more flexed than the upper so therefore take sup more power to extend out to push Taz away from the box.
His front legs lift off the box and his lumber back muscles tighten to help lift his front end up. By pushing with his hind legs and twisting his neck and upper body he will leave the box and twist over to allow his front legs to touch the ground ready to take up running.
Fly-ball dogs can suffer from strained shoulders and lumber spine areas, as well as inpact damage to the wrists.
Hydrotherapy can help in recovery and also help prevent further damage and increase the fitness level of the dog.
Here are some of the dogs who have had hydrotherapy treatment at muppets canine therapy.
Leo the Lowchen enjoys his hydrotherapy and it has helped to tone up his muscles and strengthen his posture ready for the show ring.
Max competes at agility shows and uses hydrotherapy sessions as a way to keep fit and toned and to improve core stability, body awareness and suppleness.