You will be asked general questions about your dog's health, recent conditions, injuries, surgery and what has brought you to contact the clinic.
Each dog is different and even the same condition may require a different approach and ongoing treatment, depending on the dog. Before your dog swims, the hydrotherapist will need a signed referral form from your vet. This is to ensure your vet is happy for your dog to swim. Your vet can give valuable information about your pet, helping the hydrotherapist provide the best possible treatment. You can download a vet form here.
Once the hydrotherapist has received the completed vet referral form, an initial appointment can be arranged. More detailed questions about your pet's medical history may be taken over the phone prior to your appointment.
Due to COVID-19 social distancing regulations, people are being asked to stay outside the building during their dog's hydrotherapy sessions. More detail on how sessions will work during the pandemic can be found here.
During your dog's hydrotherapy session the hydrotherapist will be by their side throughout. They will be fitted with a bouyancy jacket or harness and the hydrotherapist gets into the pool with the dog for the session. Only one dog is allowed in the pool at any time.
This is a new and unusual environment for your dog. Even if they are used to water, the pool is very different to a river or the sea. It is normal for dogs to be initially apprehensive, so until the nerves turn to curiosity and excitement, be assured that your dog will be introduced to the water very gradually and gently, with encouragement and praise. Some dogs take two or three sessions to become relaxed in the pool and enjoy their session. Some dogs take to it straight away, jumping in and retrieving toys.
Depending on the dog's condition, the first session may only consist of a few short swims, with long rest periods between. This is so we do not over exercise a vulnerable area, and so we can assess the dog, get them used to the water and the pool environment.
Second and subsequent sessions will last approximately 30 minutes. Weekly or fortnighly sessions may be required initially, and you would expect to see an improvement after 6 weeks. Some patients may respond quicker or others may take longer. Once an improvement in your pet's condition has been established, sessions can often be scaled back to fortnightly, or even less frequently as a maintenance programme.
After your dog's hydrotherapy session, they will be showered and receive a quick rub down with a towel. When they are returned to you, make sure they are as dry as possible. Bring your own towel and a warm dog coat or blanket to wrap your pet in for the journey home, especially in inclement weather, so the benefits gained from hydotherapy are retained.
Although sessions can be booked individually, we offer discounts for blocks of sessions booked up front. You should check with your pet insurer as they will often cover some (if not all) of the cost of hydrotherapy, which is now recognised as a beneficial course of treatment in your dog's recovery. If you are hoping to use your pet insurance, please note that WWCH will need you to pay for sessions directly, and then you should recoup the costs subsequently from your insurance company.
Payments will be taken over the phone at the time of making the appointment. A receipt can be emailed to you.
Hydrotherapy sessions are designed to be fun for your pet, motivated by play, toys and praise. We will take cues from your dog, and allow them to progress at their own pace. We want your pet to enjoy their hydrotherapy sessions, and to look forward to coming again.