Welcome to our second blog from Duchy Canine Hydrotherapy!
After introducing ourselves in our last blog, our focus for the next few blogs will be upon the main elements for our portfolio of pooch equipment here at our purpose-built site.
We are now into our second year of trading here at Duchy Canine Hydrotherapy, based on our organic working farm near Liskeard in South East Cornwall.
Our first year was an exciting one and it also had its challenges … the Covid-19 pandemic for one!
However, we are focusing on the future for the benefit of our four-legged friends (and not forgetting their human guardians, of course!).
Here at DCH, we are lucky to have such excellent facilities including a hydrotherapy pool.
This 5-metre by 3-metre pool includes a ramp and hoist access for dogs who need a bit more help and support. The pool is large enough for dogs of all shapes and sizes and the water is kept at a constant 30° C, which is a perfect therapeutic temperature.
Our pool also has the added advantage of underwater jets and submerged cameras for additional therapy usage and observation.
As with any chlorinated pool, our staff closely monitor the water quality and the chlorine and PH levels are tested three time a day.
First of all, we thought it best to give more detail about the pool itself … it is totally different to a swimming pool!
Our pool is designed and manufactured by specialists who create hydrotherapy pools of the highest quality. As with all such equipment, they are required to meet a British Standard in this case BS EN 12573. While there are a mind-boggling array of BS EN numbers out there, each one is crucial for their own sector and BS EN 12573 offers reassurance as to the quality of fabrication, welding and steel reinforcement, ensuring they all meet safety standards.
Our pool is a relatively large one and it includes an internal ramp which is submerged for ease of access for arthritic or postoperative pets. We also have an external ramp which is designed to hold a human weight in addition to that of the dog.
As well as having ease of access, our pool has two other additional features: underwater jets and submerged cameras. It sounds a bit like a scene from James Bond with all this technical wizardry, yet we thought we might as well go for the whole hog (or hound!) and have the full works.
The jets allow for gentle yet targeted streams of water that can help various parts of a dog’s anatomy: elbows, chest muscles, limbs and shoulders, for example.
And unless humans have developed the skill of breathing underwater, the submerged cameras record the hydrotherapy session of the dog in question.
We can observe each session, see what is beneficial, anything that requires improvement and all while keeping dry!
Of course, the DCH team do get wet … a lot!
Although the hydrotherapy pool is not for general leisure we do provide puppy swim lessons and some fun sessions too. The dogs that need treatment wear a specially created, hygienic safety harness and a staff member (usually Steph) is in the pool with the dog at all times. DCH has a range of harness sizes suitable for small, medium to large dogs. We want our pooches to enjoy their pool time, and we want the dog to get the most they can from each session.
Dogs can swim in the pool and they are encouraged to do so if they have been assessed and it’s safe to do so. Did you know that it is thought a ten-minute swim can match a ten-mile walk in terms of exercise intensity? If we equate it to human swimming, most of us feel ravenous after a swim (and probably eat a slab of delicious cake as a result!). This is because we use just about every muscle in the human body while taking to the waters. The main benefit is that water offers buoyancy support which walking or running do not. Water also offers natural resistance which is a key element to good exercise and building up stamina.
Now we can tackle the many ailments which can benefit from a dip in the pool. It is very important to stress though that a dog will need veterinary consent and will also need an assessment here at DCH before any hydrotherapy plan is put together.
Once your dog has been given consent and assessed, the ailments we can help alleviate include:
Arthritis management; hip and elbow dysplasia; muscle wastage; mobility issues; soft tissue injuries; Chronic Degenerative Radiculomyelopathy; Degenerative Myelopathy; invertebral Disc Disease; Cranial Cruciate Ligament disorders; spinal injuries and paralysis; post and pre-operative muscle regeneration and maintenance; obesity and weight control and other conditions.
While some of these terms sound very scary, your vet should have spotted these ailments and know that DCH can help.
The benefit of using ‘the pool’ include increased joint movement; improved circulation; cardiovascular fitness; increased tissue healing; pain relief and muscle strengthening.
And if you’ve ever wondered how hydrotherapy began, it was the Ancient Greeks who understood the benefits of warm water massage. Hippocrates himself documents his early use of hydrotherapy (he termed it hydropathy). Other nations that recognised the benefits of H2O include the Ancient Chinese civilisation, the Roman and the Ancient Egyptians. There is certainly a heritage to this popular type of therapy.
So, with history to ‘back us up’ and with a long list of doggie ailments that can benefit from the skills of Steph and the team here at Duchy Canine Hydrotherapy, we hope you can see how dedicated we are to our business and to helping the various hounds and humans out there.
Until next time …