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Hydrotherapy: The Owners Point of View!

Updated: Jul 27

This weeks blog is written by real dog owners and their real experiences of diagnosis, management and Hydrotherapy, honest points of view with a variety of dogs and a number of different orthopedic conditions. If you are considering Hydrotherapy for your pets or would like to learn more about real-life experiences, then take a read!


Each dog on the blog has a different condition, so you can switch between them to see if someone's experience is similar to yours and your dogs condition :)


Archie - Elbow Dysplasia

1. Who are you and tell me about your dog?

Charlie from Chesterfield. Archie my golden retriever has bilateral elbow dysplasia and we first noticed him limping when he was about 9 months old. Following a referral for surgery to have a fragment of bone removed from both elbows, it was recommended he have hydrotherapy to help build his muscle tone in his shoulders. It was very hard to see him uncomfortable, and was very difficult to keep a young (and otherwise healthy) dog as calm and rested as possible.

2. What factors did you consider when choosing a Hydrotherapy Centre?

The main factors for me were location and facilities available at the hydrotherapy centre such as: Parking availability, Underwater treadmill / hydrotherapy pool,

and being able to view the facilities for myself before committing to a booking.

I first came to Tudor Hydrotherapy Centre during an open evening, and being able to bring Archie with me was a great comfort, as it was lovely to see how comfortable he was around Beth and around the Hydrotherapy treadmill. After him looking so happy there, and Beth giving him lots of attention, I didn’t think twice about getting him booked in for his first session.

3. What were your expectations of Hydrotherapy before you arrived for the first session?

Beth discussed everything that would happen during Archies’ first session during the open evening, and was just as I expected; a lovely friendly atmosphere and extremely clean. My expectations were to try and get Archies’ walking improved so that he wouldn’t be as lame any more, and for Archie to enjoy himself at his first session.

4. What did you know about the benefits of Hydrotherapy before coming to the centre?

Due to my veterinary nurse training, I had a basic knowledge of what hydrotherapy can offer for animals, and since then have learnt it can be used for a multitude of other conditions! I am now a great advocate of hydrotherapy.

5. After your first couple of sessions, what did you learn about Hydrotherapy?

Dependant on the condition that is needing treatment, the water level is tailored to that individual.

6. How has Hydrotherapy helped your dog, or changed their lives in anyway?

Archie now barely has any lameness, and is much better since going to his hydrotherapy sessions with Beth. His muscle tone has vastly improved and this can be seen in his shoulders as well as when you stroke him along his forelegs (he no longer feels like he has skinny front legs!).

7. If someone were considering Hydrotherapy for their dog, what would you tell them/recommend them to do?

I would first recommend them to get in touch with their vet, and see if they thought that hydrotherapy was a suitable option for their animal. If they were asking for recommendations for a hydrotherapist (following veterinary advice), I would recommend getting in touch with Beth via email or facebook, and have a chat with her team. I wouldn’t think of taking Archie elsewhere!


Jack - Cruciate Ligament

1. Who are you and tell me about your dog?

Hi, I am Lisa, and I live in North East England. When our older but very energetic Collie, Jack, sustained a ruptured cruciate ligament, we had some serious conversations with our amazing vet and decided that surgery wasn’t appropriate or necessary if we could manage it conservatively. We opted for a therapeutic solution, incorporating rest, carefully managed exercise and hydrotherapy. This route was challenging (have you ever asked a Collie to rest and limit their activity?!), and at times it felt as though progress was slow, as we had to pause occasionally for Jack to rest. He worked really hard, and so did we, and with the expert input of his incredible vet and fantastic hydrotherapy team, Jack was eventually able to return to long walks off the lead, sniffing out lost footballs in the undergrowth and running to meet up with his friends at the other side of our local reservoir!

2. What factors you consider when choosing a Hydrotherapy Centre?

Due to where we lived at the time, our options for accessing hydrotherapy were limited. Our nearest centre was almost an hour’s drive away. Our vet recommended this centre, and this plus the location were our primary considerations. Now we have experienced the hydrotherapy process once, there are a number of things that I would look out for/suggest when choosing a suitable hydrotherapy facility:

  • Arrange to visit the centre you’d like to use in advance of your initial appointment. A good facility will encourage this. Check how clean it is, and ask questions about the equipment and resources. Don’t be shy, and remember you’re the expert on your own dog.

  • Try to meet the whole team, from front-of-house staff to therapists, and chat with everyone to get a feel for the centre’s approach and whether you’re comfortable with it. Try to observe everybody interacting with clients (four-legged and two-legged). Rapport is essential: a good hydrotherapist will treat you and your dog with equal empathy, respect and patience.

  • If it helps to build your confidence and understanding, ask for a walk-through of how the initial assessment appointment would look before you attend with your dog, so that you can identify any additional support your dog may need in order to fully benefit from hydrotherapy.

3. What were your expectations of Hydrotherapy before you arrived for the first session?

I knew so little about hydrotherapy that I did not really know what to expect. I understood that it could support healing as part of a tailored care programme, and that it could yield good results that could take some time to show. During the process, Jack's healing trajectory was at times erratic, or we had to pause treatment if he was struggling. This was sometimes frustrating, but looking back on our hydrotherapy experience as a whole, it exceeded our expectations and gave Jack his life back in a way that I couldn't have anticipated!

4. What did you know about the benefits of Hydrotherapy before coming to the centre?

I knew very little about hydrotherapy until I had to learn! Now I am a complete convert.

5. After your first couple of sessions, what did you learn about Hydrotherapy?

My first couple of sessions were a real eye-opener for me. I learned all about canine conformation, posture and biology from Jack’s knowledgeable therapists, who were really happy to share what they knew. This sharing of information helped me understand just how important it is to adopt a proactive approach rather than a reactive approach to lifelong canine wellbeing, and how significant a role nutrition and activity play in building the foundations of a healthy dog.

6. How has Hydrotherapy helped your dog, or changed their lives in any way?

Hydrotherapy transformed Jack's life! I was so worried that his cruciate rupture would diminish his quality of life and that he would become elderly and frail. Hydrotherapy helped Jack to maintain his happy, active life and gave him an amazing later-life experience.

7. If someone were considering Hydrotherapy for their dog, what would you tell them/recommend them to do?

I would tell a prospective client not to hesitate, and to go for it! Hydrotherapy gave Jack a new lease of life, and if anything, I wish we had started sooner! If we get another dog, I would definitely consider hydrotherapy as part of routine activity and exercise without it being a reactionary response to a health condition.


Emma - Hip Dysplasia

1. Who are you and tell me about your dog? Hi, My name is Louise, I’m from Sheffield. I have a 4 year old Shih-tzu called Emma who is totally adorable! Unfortunately at just over 12 months old she started having problems with her hips (they would click when she walked) and was diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia. This caused many problems with Emma, she couldn’t walk anymore that a few minutes before sitting down, which is something she did when was in pain. She no longer had the life that a young dog should have. When she walked or the odd time she’d try to run she would do so in a bunny style when both back legs moved together like a bunny does. She was on lots of medication, some of which made her sick because of her sensitive tummy but was the only way to help with the pain. Emma has had her right hip operated on and is awaiting her left hip to be fixed.

2. What factors did you consider when choosing a Hydrotherapy Centre?

Emma was admitted to Paragon referrals one weekend in lots of pain. The vet there advised Hydrotherapy whilst waiting for an operation in London. He chose Tudor Hydrotherapy for me, however I made it clear I would check it out for myself before attending and would find somewhere else if I didn’t think it was suitable. I went home and did a lot of homework on Tudor Hydrotherapy, read some great reviews about it, visited the centre and spoke to the staff. I found it lovely and reasonably priced, and booked Emma in for an initial consultation.

3. What were your expectations of Hydrotherapy before you arrived for the first session?

OK so I’m going to be honest and have been with the staff at Tudor Hydrotherapy from the first time I visited. I always thought Hydrotherapy was a load of rubbish and wouldn’t help my dog in any way. I didn’t see how walking in water would help at all and felt it would be of no benefit her having short sessions a few times a week.

The initial consultation went really well. The staff were lovely and Emma seemed to love the place but it didn’t make me feel any different in believing Hydrotherapy would benefit Emma, so my expectations.... were zero!

4. What did you know about the benefits of Hydrotherapy before coming to the centre?

I didn’t really know a lot to be honest, just that walking in water was supposed to help with a variety of different issues but again is something I didn’t really believe in so I guess I didn’t really bother researching something I was adamant wouldn’t work.

5. After your first couple of sessions, what did you learn about Hydrotherapy?

So our first proper session I was told that Emma would be working a lot of muscles and that she may be tired afterwards. I kind of laughed in my head about this but they were bang on. Emma slept and slept when we got home. I also learnt lots of reasons why Emma behaved the way she did. She sat with her leg pointed outwards and why that happened. I’ve learnt a lot through our journey of Hydrotherapy including physiotherapy techniques to help with Emma’s pain and recovery.

6. How has Hydrotherapy helped your dog, or changed their lives in anyway?

OK, so hands up I’m now a firm believer in Hydrotherapy. It has helped to changed Emma's life for the better! Emma had hydro leading up to her operation along with the physio there. This helped build muscle that she had lost to prepare her for surgery and also help with pain. I was really pleased that Emma had managed to build muscle mass in time for her operation, helping it to be a success. She also continued hydro a few weeks after surgery. At this point Emma didn’t even walk on the operated leg and definitely wouldn’t put it flat on the floor. I was amazed at how quickly Emma overcome with the Hydrotherapy sessions and physio. Although Emma is still waiting for her left hip to be worked on, she is so much better than before. She is like a new dog, one I never actually had before, as she was so young when becoming ill.

7. If someone were considering Hydrotherapy for their dog, what would you tell them/recommend them to do?

Do it! You won’t regret it. It's the best thing I could have done for Emma and so glad I chose Tudor Hydrotherapy. Don’t let yourself worry about silly things like your dog doesn’t like water etc. The staff ease your dog in slowly and allow them to do things in their time. My dog has trained the staff well haha and gains plenty of treats for doing this! Speak to your vet for the referral and get your dog booked in. I’m so glad I did.


George- FCE (Spinal Stroke)


1. Who are you and tell me about your dog?

I’m Helen, we live in Pontefract West Yorkshire. Our 7 year old dog had an FCE several weeks ago. We had never heard if this before his diagnosis but he initially Had total paralysis in his rear end. After some research it was evident we needed to arrange treadmill hydrotherapy.

2. What factors did you consider when choosing a Hydrotherapy Centre?

We needed someone who offered treadmill hydrotherapy to get him walking properly again . I used google and Tudor had excellent reviews.

3. What were your expectations of Hydrotherapy before you arrived for the first session?

I had looked on the website so had a good idea of what this involved. I also had quite a few messages with Beth and it was clear she was knowledgeable and extremely helpful when I was so worried. Since George has been coming Beth has been amazing.

4. What did you know about the benefits of Hydrotherapy before coming to the centre? I only knew the benefits from the information I was given and from researching.

5. After your first couple of sessions, what did you learn about Hydrotherapy?

We learned for George how it would help him with his walking, his balance and how it would strengthen his already diminished muscle.

6. How has Hydrotherapy helped your dog, or changed their lives in anyway? It has helped George enormously we feel. He has gained more strength in his back left leg and is now walking and running almost normally.

7. If someone were considering Hydrotherapy for their dog, what would you tell them/recommend them to do?

I would tell them to research and also go on recommendation. We travel from Pontefract to Sheffield but I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again!


Eddie - Patella Luxation

1. Who are you and tell me about your dog? I’m Katie, I live in Rotherham with Eddie my 2 year old cocker spaniel. From birth he has suffered with missing a toe on his back left leg and his knee dislocating on the same leg. It’s quite difficult to manage sometimes as he’s completely bonkers and trying to keep him calm is hard. As he hops about every 3/4 steps we have been trying to walk him on softer surfaces like grass instead of gravel etc.

2. What factors did you consider when choosing a Hydrotherapy Centre? I wanted to go somewhere local to me as I work full time and have Eddie with me most of the time. I was looking for someone who would be in the water with him and hands on instead of watching from the side.

3. What were your expectations of Hydrotherapy before you arrived for the first session?

It was how I expected it to be as I’ve done some research on different types of therapy/ hydrotherapy. Eddie can be quite shy and nervous when doing anything new but it was really calm and he was comfortable around Beth and the area.

4. What did you know about the benefits of Hydrotherapy before coming to the centre?

It was recommended by my vets to try hydrotherapy or therapy to help with the movement and progress of his knee healing after his op. I knew it would help build up muscle that may have been lost due to his injury and it would help his walking with strides and maybe trying to stop the hop every 3 steps.

5. After your first couple of sessions, what did you learn about Hydrotherapy?

I learnt how different he’s injured leg was compared to his other hind leg. Also how he walked at different speeds/ if he was on a slope or not.

6. How has Hydrotherapy helped your dog, or changed their lives in anyway?

It has helped Eddie massively apart from the fact he’s a water baby and cry’s with excitement when we pull up so he can splash around! He has managed to build some muscle back up, his walking strides are slowing improving too.

7. If someone were considering Hydrotherapy for their dog, what would you tell them/recommend them to do? I would 100% recommend Tudor as everything is modern, clean and of course Eddie is treated like a prince. I’ve taken some leaflets to put in the reception of my work (RSPCA Sheffield) as it’s all positive and helpful to both humans and animals.


Bear- Intervertebral Disc Disease

1. Who are you and tell me about your dog?

My name is Nicola, I live in sheffield, I have a 7yr old Alaskan malamute cross husky called Bear. Bear started having problems with his leg and slowed down in April 2019, after x-rays with my vet he referred him to a specialist vet for cruciate surgery, on arriving at the specialists he wanted to do MRI scan as he wasn't convinced cruciate ligaments were the issue. He was right, the scan revealed Bear in fact had degenerative disc disease, with nerve root compression. After lengthy discussions and a cocktail of medication Bear was showing little signs of improvements, at this point we were distraught, our dog had gone from doing 10 mile pack walks with a husky group to doing short 5 and 10 min walks several times a day and his quality of life was nothing to the life he knew and loved.

2. What factors you consider when choosing a Hydrotherapy Centre?

We went to the specialists again for a review and hydrotherapy was mentioned but he wasn't ready for hydrotherapy at that point, but I started the ball rolling and rang a few in the area. I then rang my insurance to see if I had any cover which I did, I had 10 sessions complimentary but they had strict conditions as to where I could go they had to be members of certain bodies and have relevant paperwork. Skip forward 14 weeks and we were back at the specialist again who suggested we gave hydrotherapy a try and he recommended tudor hydrotherapy who he had done many referrals to previously.

3. What were your expectations of Hydrotherapy before you arrived for the first session?

I wasn't sure what to expect from hydrotherapy and had a doubt in my mind that water would help his condition. I spoke in length on the telephone to Beth at tudor who talked me through the process of the referral, I got a phone call from tudor to go and take Bear along for a chat and to meet Beth for her to do her own assessment, and for Bear to get the feel of the surroundings which for Bear was a big thing. He's a strong willed husky and a stubborn one like most huskies are, but all in all, the experience went very well.

4. After your first couple of sessions, what did you learn about Hydrotherapy?

I soon learned after a few sessions that hydro wasn't going to fix my boy overnight however we did see him starting to have some motivation at home he wasn't just lazing about and was starting to be vocal when we took my other husky out without him.

5. How has Hydrotherapy helped your dog, or changed their lives in anyway?

Over the next 6 months we saw our walks go from 5 mins to 30 mins to an hour, his hydro sessions from twice a week to once a week to one a fortnight to then once every 3 weeks, if Bear was having a blip and we felt he was in need of a session we just rang up and tudor would fit him in where possible. The turning point for us was the day bear joined his husky club again for a pack walk, he's now doing the shorter pack walks of 6 miles, he's done a couple of longer walks too, but rewind 12 months and we were told he probably not be able to do the walks he's used to doing. Bear now has a good quality of life again and has gone from a cocktail of medication to just one tablet a day with his Hydrotherapy once every 3 weeks.

6. If someone were considering Hydrotherapy for their dog, what would you tell them/recommend them to do?

Hydrotherapy is now on Bear's long term care plan because the difference it's made to us all is one we never thought would be possible. I recommend tudor hydrotherapy to anyone, the bond Beth has with Bear is fantastic to see Bear loves going on the treadmill he's always eager to get in and get going.


Scampi - Cruciate Ligament

1. Who are you and tell me about your dog?

My name is Kita, mum to dog Scampi and I live near Sheffield. Scampi had to undergo surgery on his Cruciate ligament back in June 2019 and whilst he seemed to recover from this, after a few months he did tend to limp occasionally. After consultation with our vets they recommended a course of Hydrotherapy to develop his muscle.

2. What factors did you consider when choosing a Hydrotherapy Centre? Our Vet recommended Tudor Hydrotherapy as her own dog had had treatment there and said they had seen real improvement.

3. What were your expectations of Hydrotherapy before you arrived for the first session?

In all honesty I thought that Scampi would go straight in the water for about 20 mins for maybe a couple of sessions and that would be it however after discussion with Beth at the first meeting, I quickly realised this would not be the case.

4. What did you know about the benefits of Hydrotherapy before coming to the centre?

I assumed that it would strengthen his bad leg but not really had any experience in the past.

5. After your first couple of sessions, what did you learn about Hydrotherapy?

After attending a couple of times, I realised that there was no time frame and each dog progressed at different levels. Beth kept me informed what was happening throughout the sessions and how it would benefit Scampi.

6. How has Hydrotherapy helped your dog, or changed their lives in anyway?

Since Hydrotherapy Scampi has been able to go out walking and running without difficulty and is a much happier little dog and in turn has lost some weight due to being able to exercise more which in turn will ease any pressure on his ligaments.

7. If someone were considering Hydrotherapy for their dog, what would you tell them/recommend them to do?

Since Scampi completed his course of Hydrotherapy I have seen friends who have noticed a difference in him and explained that he had had the treatment and recommended it to them not just because of surgery but for weight loss and just general good health.



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Sheffield, South Yorkshire S9 2QJ

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