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CANINE HYDROTHERAPY

Keeping Man’s Best Friend Safe and Fit Pools and aquatic treadmills are increasingly used in the rehabilitation of animals, and its reassuring to know that as with those used by humans, there are strict standards that are followed in their operation – something that the experts from Lovibond Tintometer found out on a recent visit

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ydrotherapy for humans has long been established as an essential part of the healing process. More recently, it is also becoming increasingly used in the recovery process of a variety of animals including horses, cats and of course man’s best friend, our dogs. Its popularity has grown so much that SPATEX 2017 even included a seminar covering the subject and the annual event has plans to do so again in the future. As with humans, hydrotherapy provides an excellent form of exercise – working all of the muscles without stress or shock to the joints, tendons and bones which can weaken the limb further, particularly after injury or surgery. One minute on an aquatic treadmill equates to a one mile walk on land. Canine hydrotherapy is typically used as an alternative to weight-bearing exercise and medication. It can speed recovery or slow the progression of degenerative conditions. It is also used as a fitness regime prior to an operation or on puppies too young for surgery. Obese dogs can also build fitness and lose weight as a result of exercise in a hydrotherapy pool without putting excessive weight on their joints. Unsurprisingly, our best friends’ hydrotherapy centres are strictly regulated. Institutions such as the Canine Hydrotherapy Association (CHA) which currently has in excess of 120 practices registered across the UK along with the National Association of Registered Canine Hydrotherapists (NARCH) set out stringent guidelines on how their members should run their centres with Accredited Qualification Programs,

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continuous assessment and inspections. Obviously, many of the regulations involve the use of credited aquatic treadmills and qualifications on the handling of animals. However, pool water management and accurate water analysis are also very much a key part of the process. Visiting the Top Dog Hydrotherapy centre near Amesbury, we learnt in detail how much emphasis was put on making sure the hydrotherapy pool water and aquatic treadmill water were clean and safe. The centre is a CHA member and provides sessions for up to ten dogs a day. A board is meticulously kept with the dog’s name, age, breed, sex, time of therapy and symptoms. The temperature of the water is also always recorded and normally kept between 30 – 31°C. Although the dogs are always showered before, and after, each session, the water is always tested a minimum of twice daily, but often it can be more. If the owner suspects any form of contamination, they should not swim. The regular tests are for: • Chlorine (Free and Total) / Bromine Free • Chloramines • Alkalinity • Calcium Hardness • pH • Temperature. In addition, monthly microbiological testing should be carried out. As with public pools, a log book is accurately filled out including the number of dogs and people who have used the facilities, dates and times of backwash and any corrective action taken. The Top Dog log sheet also provides details on the recommended levels of each parameter. Log sheets are stored for inspection by customers and any potential audits. All CHA and NARCH members are required to keep this detail of record to qualify for membership. Once a year as a minimum, an independent and qualified pool water engineer from the CHA also visits to check

the water quality and bacteria tests of their members. Both organisations offer comprehensive guidelines and example log sheets on their websites. There are also extensive training courses on accurate water testing across the country with applicable certification. Naturally dogs are not able to tell us if they feel the water is clean, safe and beneficial to their well-being and neither can humans, as water can appear clean but may contain toxins and irritant chemicals. As with public baths, one of the main reasons for such accurate water testing is to ensure that the level of chemicals used for sanitisation is regulated to minimise any opportunity to have an adverse effect on the dogs, their owners and the hydrotherapists themselves. It’s comforting to know that man’s best friends are in such good, regulated hands.

FOR FURTHER DETAILS: CHA 07976 500454 www.canine-hydrotherapy.org NARCH 07859 129143 www.narch.org.uk Top Dog Hydrotherapy 01264 771824 www.topdoghydrotherapy.com

www.swimmingpoolnews.co.uk 28/09/2017 10:58

SPN (Swimming Pool News) October 2017  

Informing the pool and spa industry since 1959. Covering the UK's wet leisure market, SPN (Swimming Pool News) is the UK's longest running a...