Why Hydrotherapy Can Give Westie Owners Extra Years With Their Bestie

Unfortunately, West Highland White Terriers are a breed that are prone to ligament and joint issues. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common cause of chronic pain in dogs. It affects 80% of dogs over the age of eight years old, and up to 35% of dogs of all ages. It is considered a welfare concern in companion animals such as dogs, especially if left untreated, and is the most common cause for early euthanasia. 

Early intervention and preventative treatment can make all the difference, which is where hydrotherapy comes in.

Exercising in the water is much harder than on land due to the resistance of the water. But at the same time, it takes all the pressure off the joints, due to the buoyancy. 

This unique combination enables patients to move more freely whilst building muscle in the affected limbs. It is this extra muscle that will help to stabilise joints and make your Westie feel more comfortable. To top it off they will absolutely love the experience and will love you even more for taking them. It gives you the opportunity to spend time with a professional that can answer all your questions and put your mind at ease. 

These conditions and treatments are hot press at the moment. More and more research is being carried out on pain management and rehabilitation. Most Veterinary practices have a team that specialise in it now. All hydrotherapy treatment is carried out under Veterinary referral with the hydrotherapy centres working closely with these teams to ensure your best friend gets the best possible outcome. Most insurance companies will cover some or all of the cost of hydrotherapy.  

As an owner of a dog with joint issues there is a plethora or information and aids available these days. The Canine Arthritis Management Team dedicate their time to doing just this. Everything you could possibly need to know can be found at 

Signs your dog may be in pain 

  • reluctance to jump on furniture/do stairs/jump in car
  • changes in the way they move 
  • unsettled
  • resisting fuss and attention/being groomed
  • slowing up on walks
  • changes in coat pattern
  • spending more time sleeping
  • not wanting to be around children and other dogs

If you notice any of the above, it is worth getting them checked over by your Vet. Starting treatment early can sometimes avoid the need for long term medication and/or surgery.

Angela Halls is a Senior Hydrotherapist

and Partner at Aqua Dogs Canine Hydrotherapy Centre.

For more information visit:

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