In Practice 30:272-277 doi:10.1136/inpract.30.5.272
  • Clinical Practice
  • Companion Animal Practice

Hydrotherapy in practice

  1. Susanne Prankel

    Susanne Prankel graduated from Hanover Veterinary School, Germany, in 1997. She holds a PhD from Cambridge for research on cadmium accumulation in ruminants, which was undertaken as part of an EU-funded project on cadmium and lead in the human food chain. She subsequently spent time working in general practice and teaching veterinary science, and has written an accredited course on canine hydrotherapy. She is currently senior lecturer in biology at the University of Worcester.


HYDROTHERAPY involving therapeutic exercise in the form of swimming or walking in water (in contrast to balneotherapy, which involves simply bathing) is increasingly used in dogs as an effective adjunct to surgical and medical treatments for a range of conditions, such as postoperative rehabilitation for orthopaedic and neurological conditions, as well as behavioural and obesity-related problems. This article discusses the indications, theory and practice of canine hydrotherapy, but most of the principles considered also apply to horses.

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