Main Navigation

Small Animal Referral Hospital Hydrotherapy



Hydrotherapy is a holistic patient centred approach to rehabilitation, which utilises the healing properties of warm water, therapeutic movement shaping and handling of a skilled hydrotherapist to improve fitness, mobility, pain and weight loss in small animals.

How does hydrotherapy work?

How does hydrotherapy work

Hydrotherapy is a water- based rehabilitation treatment which takes place in a specially designed pool or underwater treadmill. At Langford vets, we carry out our hydrotherapy treatment sessions in an underwater treadmill, as this tends to suit the needs of our clientele best. There are several positive effects on the body when exercising in warm water. These are for example:

  • Buoyancy which reduces the amount of weight bearing or loading through your pet’s joints, allowing them to move more freely and with less pain. The amount of buoyancy depends on how much water is used and your pet’s body type.
  • Resistance, when walking through the water will aid improvement in muscle strength, fitness, and provide sensory feedback as well as providing support to weaker pets. The level of resistance will be altered to the individual's needs as they progress with treatment.
  • Hydrostatic pressure provides a level of compression to the body and legs in the water. The amount of pressure will depend on the depth of water but this can be helpful to reduce swelling, improve circulation and sensory feedback and reduce pain perception. 
  • Temperature: the water is kept between 28-32 degrees. Exercising in warm water is helpful to warm muscles, synovial fluid around joints, reduce muscle tone, manage pain and improve blood circulation.

What are the benefits?

What are the benefits of hydrotherapy?

There are many benefits to hydrotherapy including:

  • Aids pain relief
  • Improves balance, coordination and movement
  • Improves stiffness, range of movement and reduces muscle spasm
  • Aids muscle strengthening
  • Improves proprioception and gait patterning
  • Improves quality of life, behaviour and fitness
  • Can aid with weight management



How is my pet referred for hydrotherapy?

How is my pet referred for hydrotherapy?

Your pet's primary care vet will need to complete the referral form on the website. Once we receive the referral we will contact you to arrange the initial physiotherapy assessment. It is our policy that all patients must be seen by a physiotherapist prior to starting hydrotherapy as this allows us to provide an bespoke rehabilitation program specific to meet the needs of your pet. After the physiotherapy assessment we will book the first hydrotherapy appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I bring to a hydrotherapy appointment?
What should I do before a hydrotherapy appointment?
What does my dog need after a hydrotherapy appointment?
What should I expect at my first appointment?
Is hydrotherapy covered under my insurance?
Should I give my pet its pain medication?
How long will the session last?
opens in new window