Ollie started attending the centre for hydrotherapy in May 14 for weight loss and mobility issues with the diagnosis of osteoarthritis. Ollie’s condition has been managed with a calorie controlled diet, prescription medications, joint supplements and hydrotherapy.
Osteoarthritis (OA) also known as degenerative joint disease, is a group of mechanical abnormalities involving the ‘wearing’ of the joint including the cartilage and bone. It often occurs secondary to other conditions. Symptoms of OA may include stiff or rigid posturing and /or walking, reluctance to exercise, swollen joints or it can be nothing more than clicking sound coming from the affected joint or joints. The treatment options depends on the severity of the symptoms and how they affect the dog’s quality of life.
Many animals with chronic arthritis have loss of muscle mass and increased weakness in the affected areas. Ollie, was showing stiffness, sudden pain and he was over his recommended body weight. Ollie had been put onto a weight loss diet by the veterinary surgeon but hydrotherapy was advised in order to provide non-weight bearing exercise, so reducing the pressure felt on his joints and to reduce the possibility of injury to his joints due to the excess weight he was carrying.
The hydrotherapy is good for osteoarthritis because it helps to;
• Reduce pain and inflammation
• Increase joint range of movement
• Warmth of the water increases blood supply to the soft tissues which helps to reduce spasm, stiffness and reluctance to move
• The buoyancy of the water provides support to the body which in turn reduces the load on the affected joints whilst exercising the necessary muscles.
Ollie undertakes straight swims, zig zags, circles in the water and swim jets to promote muscle use and his condition is being carefully maintained and controlled with the use of ongoing hydrotherapy and medications.