Mental stimulation & general convalescence in the geriatric patient

The research shows that pain, especially if it is experienced over a long duration of time (Chronic pain), can actually be hazardous to a dog's health. Pain is a stressor so in response to this signal the body begins to release a set of stress-related hormones. As a result virtually every system in the body is affected. Over time this alters the rate of metabolism, neurological responses, the heart, thymus glands, adrenal glands and the immune system causing a high state of activity. Where this situation continues long enough for example in the older dogs these organs can become dysfunctional. On top of this the state of pain related stress induces can decrease the animal's appetite, cause muscle fatigue and tissue breakdown, and also slow down healing and reduce much needed sleep the body requires to heal itself. In the end the dog is exhausted as well as distressed, and this reduces the body's ability to heal.

Some breeds are more sensitive to pain because they carry less body fat and will display pain more than others for example the Greyhound.

It is therefore essential that pain management is controlled to ensure that maximise the effectiveness of the treatment.

We would use the treadmill for mental stimulation & general convalescence in the geriatric patient because:

  • The buoyancy of the water supports the limbs
  • Reduced stress as its just like walking in a deep puddle so no increased stress from not being able to feel the floor underfoot
  • Pressure of the water reduces inflammation and swelling
  • The heat of the water increases the flow of blood around the body and is a natural pain relief
  • It provides maximum flexion and extension of the limbs
  • Quickly increases muscle mass
  • Re educates the gait pattern following the muscle atrophy in the fore or hind limbs
  • Provides an earlier return to activity which improves the overall mental state of the dog
  • Very easy to observe the range of movement (ROM) through the glass sides
  • The dog is unable to cheat unlike in the pool where they have a tendency to tuck their hind legs up making it difficult to get a good rom.

If you believe your dog is in need of Hydrotherapy, or your Vet has recommended treatment, first thing you need to do is call us on 01635 521915 or send us an email at

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