Underwater treadmills, or hydro-treadmills, help patients improve muscle strength after limb, neck, or back surgery or injury and improve range of motion in compromised joints. The machines are also being used more frequently to encourage weight loss and athletic conditioning in pets.
Coffman helps keep a patient's back legs in place as it walks on an underwater treadmill.
If your practice is considering starting an underwater treadmill therapy program, it's crucial that a team member be trained appropriately. Training from certain courses or an experienced veterinarian teaches precautions, as well as techniques that benefit patients, such as where the therapist should stand and place hands and which assistive devices to use when. Two certification programs offer animal rehabilitation courses at various locations across the country and both accept credentialed veterinary technicians: Canine Rehabilitation Institute and Northeast Seminars (through The University of Tennessee).