Underwater Treadmill & Warm Water Resistance Pool

Underwater Treadmill

Following an initial consultation with Dr. Ilana, it may be determined that use of the underwater treadmill is an appropriate treatment for your pet as part of his/her custom treatment plan. Below we describe how the therapy works and the many benefits it can offer your pet.

The Benefits of the Underwater Treadmill

Underwater treadmills are perhaps one of the best ways to help your pet do what they were born to do: walk, run, play, swim…explore their world freely and without physical limitation or pain. The treadmill leverages your dog’s natural gait – the way they walk – to improve their range of motion, while the natural resistance of the water also builds strength and flexibility. The major benefit to the aquatic environment is increased buoyancy which means a decrease in weight on your dog’s skeleton and joints. With buoyancy, it becomes easier to move, pain is eased, and the circulation will improve. In addition, the temperature of the water feels good and, even if they experienced reluctance initially, our patients become willing to move through the treatment once they see it as a fun experience!

Underwater treadmills are safe and effective for a broad spectrum of patients but do not offer a ‘one size fits all’ solution. Dr. Ilana is careful to craft an individual treatment plan specifically tailored to your pet’s needs, and measures success by analyzing the improvement in muscle strength, joint function, body composition, gait, stamina, range of motion, and ease of movement.

Hydrotherapy in conjunction with veterinary treatment can significantly improve your dog’s rate of healing following surgery or traumatic injury. After surgery, the careful use of hydrotherapy can help with rehabilitation and increase your dog’s chance of a successful return to full fitness. In fact, many neurologic cases are able to bear weight on their limbs and walk on a underwater treadmill before they will start to use their legs to stand and walk on land. Hydrotherapy helps greatly with strengthening and retraining a dog who has been partially paralyzed to walk again.

What's more, hydrotherapy is an extremely effective method of rehabilitation for dogs small and large. Studies have shown that, with hydrotherapy, dogs recovering from surgery or injury heal up to 50 or 60 percent faster than with other therapeutic methods. How? Well .... The buoyancy provided by water lessens the weight-bearing load on an dog’s limbs. This helps reduce pain and lets the dog start therapy earlier. Water applies pressure on a dog’s limbs, which helps decrease inflammation and improve circulation. By changing the water level, resistance and buoyancy can be changed to target individual muscle groups and injuries. Water temperature can be changed as well to help the animal relax and further alleviate pain. Muscle conditioning in water is not only an effective way of building up cardiovascular strength and endurance, but dogs often find it fun!


Dr. Ilana has found that there are core conditions which benefit significantly from hydrotherapy using an underwater treadmill. These include the following:

  • Age-related physical deterioration/Loss of co-ordination
  • Arthritis
  • Gait disruption
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Loss of range of motion
  • Muscle stiffness/Atrophy
  • Pain control
  • Post-operative rehabilitation
  • Prevention of injury
  • Spinal injury/Paralysis/Nerve damage
  • Weight control

"Dr Ilana is so professional and compassionate and totally understands sensitive dogs. She knows how to make a first time underwater treadmill experience great for a little dog like mine!" ~ AWAP Client Maureen


Warm Water Resistance Pool

Following an initial consultation with Dr. Ilana, it may be determined that use of the Warm Water Resistance Pool is an appropriate treatment for your pet as part of his/her custom treatment plan. Below we describe what it is and list the many benefits that hydrotherapy can offer your pet.

The Benefits of the Warm Water Resistance Pool

In their natural environment, many dogs love to swim. Diving into the waves at the beach or doggie-paddling in the pond, they experience a physical freedom that is not available on land. Plus it’s fun! The Warm Water Resistance Pool mimics this experience while also leveraging the naturally therapeutic properties of water – buoyancy and resistance – to improve your dog’s cardiovascular conditioning, and to assist in physical rehabilitation.

In a controlled and non-threatening environment, hydrotherapy is an important tool in treating a wide variety of conditions because it works in two ways simultaneously. Firstly, the increased buoyancy relieves pressure on the dog’s skeleton and joints; and secondly, the water pressure on their limbs decreases inflammation, eases pain, and improves circulation. This significant reduction in pain and relief to the weight-bearing joints, means that a treatment plan can frequently be drawn up sooner and therapy can begin more quickly.

Dr. Ilana has found that there are several main categories of patient who benefit from the Warm Water Resistance Pool:

  • those in post-operative care for major surgeries such as hip replacement or anterior cruciate ligament repair
  • those facing surgery, such as femoral head ostectomy or tibial plateau leveling osteotomy
  • patients with chronic conditions such as arthritis, hip dysplasia, or luxating patella
  • patients with weight/physical training issues
  • canine athletes and working dogs, such as service dogs, search and rescue dogs, and K9 police dogs, for cross training and conditioning

Hydrotherapy has been show to offer direct benefits to many of your dog’s major systems:

  • Skeletal and Muscular Systems: Water can decrease inflammation, increase circulation and increase range of motion as the buoyancy enhances stretches and movement and decreases pain and spasms. When treatment is conducted in water, the patient experiences resistance that is 15 – 20 times that of moving in air, allowing muscles to be worked without the stress of weight bearing.
  • Nervous System: Water is a calming and soothing environment which decreases your dog’s stress. In addition, water can stimulate the sensations of joint position and help to re-establish sensation channels.
  • Circulatory System: Warm water can cause blood vessels to open up to increase circulation and aid in detoxification. These dilated blood vessels deliver increased nutrients and oxygen, and are more efficient in carrying away waste materials.
  • Lymphatic System: Treatment in warm water can stimulate better lymph drainage, decrease inflammation, and help to improve the immune system.
  • Digestive System: Water can increase smooth muscle activity (digestion) which provides nutrients to cells, as well as increasing a lethargic dog’s appetite.
  • Integumentary System: For the skin, hydrotherapy helps to increase circulation which can enhance skin and coat condition, and can help stimulate all the touch receptors.

Hydrotherapy Does Wonders for Dogs http://baywoof.com/featured-article/hydro-therapy-does-wonders-for-dogs/

Check out this article about hydrotherapy from The Bark: http://thebark.com/content/hydrotherapy-dog-walk-water?page=show

To see more A Well Adjusted Pet videos, subscribe to Dr Ilana's YouTube channel.

Interested to see a patient enjoying their swim in a Warm Water Resistance Pool? Click on this video to watch!



If you'd like to make an appointment with Dr. Ilana   contact us today!