In Regina, Saskatchewan it’s getting a little easier for some canines to recover from knee surgery. Veterinarian Tara Hudye, from the Lakewood Animal Hospital has just installed a water treadmill in her clinic to facilitate post surgery physiotherapy for dogs, similar to what humans would do in the same situation.
The aqua treadmill is just what it sounds like, a treadmill in a water tank. The dog steps in, it fills with water, and they begin to walk. The water creates buoyancy taking pressure off of healing joints, and it also creates resistance, giving the dog exercise. It makes it a great tool for burning off some of the pent up energy a recovering dog has stored up.
Some people might balk at the price of the device, which is about $70,000, but Hudye says “It’s not just a dog,” Hudye said. “It’s their pet and it’s their family member.” Heather Faulkner used the machine to help her dog after surgery for a ligament tear. “If your child was hurt or something, you do what you can for them,” Faulkner said. “You don’t let them suffer. If they’re in pain and you can help them it’s up to us to do that.”
The machine can also be used to help overweight dogs lose weight safely without putting too much pressure on their joints because it is low impact. Also, for dogs who love the water, it’s a lot of fun to go for an walk in the winter months. The machine was only installed 2 weeks ago and already more than a dozen dogs have used it. Eventually Hudye may try it with cats, but for now it’s just for the dogs.