Rescue Puppy Uses Canine Underwater Treadmill for Post-Surgery Rehab
Meet Ozzy, the rescued boxer mix puppy of HydroWorx’s very own Mike McHugh, and one of the very first patients to use the technology of HydroWorx’s K900. When we introduced the K900 underwater treadmill, we were excited to begin offering advanced hydrotherapy technology to animals and the veterinary community.
However, we never imagined one of our own team members would be among the first to rely on the K900’s design for their beloved canine’s recovery journey! Though a tragic incident for little Ozzy, the progress he’s made in just a few weeks is an incredible example of how powerful hydrotherapy can be for rehabilitation.
About Ozzy’s Injury
In October 2022, Ozzy sustained a tibial tuberosity avulsion fracture (TTAF), requiring surgery on both rear legs. In tibial tuberosity avulsion — seen in young canines — a small piece of bone known as the tibial tuberosity is displaced from the shinbone or tibia by the pull of the quadriceps muscle group. This type of injury is common in puppies, as they are in an active growth phase and their bones are not as strong as those of adult dogs. In most cases, orthopedic surgery is essential for tibial tuberosity avulsion recovery in dogs because the quadriceps muscles will continue to pull the bone from its place.
About Ozzy’s Recovery
Roughly two weeks after corrective surgery, Ozzy’s veterinary care team incorporated hydrotherapy, by way of an underwater treadmill, into his recovery program in addition to land-based exercises.
Tibial type of injury can, unfortunately, be quite painful, making hydrotherapy an ideal rehab modality for Ozzy. Through hydrotherapy, Ozzy’s body weight is decreased, relieving pressure on his joints and providing him with stability as he walks.
Underwater Treadmill Exercise Progress
Below, you’ll see how effective canine hydrotherapy was for Ozzy within just a few sessions!
Here are some highlights we noted during Ozzy’s recovery.
- Week one: This was Ozzy’s very first rehab session! He was able to bear weight on his right rear leg better than his left rear leg. His right rear leg had more swelling and a greater decrease of flexion with the hock.
- Week two: Ozzy gained confidence this week. His tail was up by the end of his session! His weight bearing, swelling and ROM all showed improvement.
- Week three: Ozzy is gaining muscle mass in his right rear leg! There is a 2cm difference in muscle mass from right to left. ROM continues to improve, and swelling is down. There is also mild weight bearing on his left hind leg.
Pain and Gait Assessment Progress
In addition to hydrotherapy, Ozzy is also completing land-based exercises, including:
- Static stands
- ROM exercises
- Laser therapy
- Circle walks
- Backward walks
Walking on the underwater treadmill gives Ozzy’s body the much-needed opportunity to increase his range of motion, build strength and reduce potential pain.
Hydrotherapy for Dogs: Getting Them Back to Walking and Wagging
Ozzy is one of countless hydrotherapy success stories. Aquatic therapy can enhance the recovery process for many injuries, conditions and rehabilitation needs. Like humans, dogs can also experience pain relief, improved blood flow and increased range of motion with hydrotherapy. Underwater treadmills can also improve mobility and strength while animals recover from degenerative conditions, nerve problems or spinal cord injuries.
In another canine aquatic therapy case study, Cornell University used hydrotherapy to provide relief for a 13-year-old dog. Nikki, a beloved mixed breed, suffered from paralyzed back limbs resulting from spinal degeneration. With three ruptured discs, she had a very low chance of ever walking again. With hydrotherapy sessions, Nikki has built up the strength to plod along with her trainer. The warm water in the hydrotherapy pool can also increase circulation, promote flexibility and reduce muscle spasms for dogs like Nikki and Ozzy.
Get Started With Hydrotherapy at Your Clinic
At HydroWorx, we know the advantages that aquatic therapy can provide. If you want to help enhance your furry patient’s recovery and overall wellness, find out what makes our HydroWorx K900 the most advanced underwater treadmill for veterinary rehab. Contact us now to learn about our solutions!