Today's veterinary medicine is increasingly closer to world trends and is also expanding. In recent years the necessity of physical therapy in veterinary practice is increasing in order to provide the top quality medical care. Physical therapy is the missing link that has been lacking in the recovery process of animals in which common treatments like surgery and medicine treatments were highlighted.             We apply physical therapy to animals after surgery that concerns  injuries of the locomotor system, improves wound healing, reduces pain, improves circulation, and it is also used for fitness training  and weight reduction.

One of the hydrotherapy aspects is using the physical properties of water. The body weighs less in water than on land, which reduces pain in joints and allows easier starting. Water pressure reduces swelling and edema formation. Water resistance helps stretch the muscles and helps in cardiovascular training. Water buoyancy is one of the important properties of water that is used in hydrotherapy, and it allows you to perform exercises with animals which are not able to exercise without the water benefits like buoyancy and water pressure.

Hydrotherapy has a wide range of applications in veterinary medicine. It is used after surgery of fractures, knee ligaments rupture, surgical treatment of hip dysplasia. Rehabilitation of neurological patients is performed after spine surgery. It is also used for arthritis, and spondyloza. In animals that have heart problems, lung patients, open wounds and skin infections as well as digestive disorders conducting therapy is contraindicated. Hydrostatic pressure pressurizes the chest that can cause problems with breathing and the water temperature warms the body and affects the cardiovascular system.

The most effective hydrotherapy treatment is to use a pool with a treadmill in it. It is very effective in carrying out therapeutic therapy. It is a transparent pool, which is filled to a certain level with water. Water is heated to the required temperature (recommended is 25 to 35 degrees). Too hot water is not desirable due to possible heart failure, and the cold is not effective for therapeutic exercising. Water geochemistry is controlled and disinfected with animal safe chemicals. On the bottom of the pool there is treadmill belt with adjustable speed and operating time. The animal usually enters through the door, or if unable the animal is lifted  with a crane into the pool. The pool is designed in such a way that prevents anxiety and possibility of injuring. Some pools have a belt that runs in both directions so you can adjust the exercise accordingly.

The pool is possible to perform three main groups of exercises. Exercises carried out standing in the water, exercising by moving through the water and swimming in small dog breeds. When neurological patients therapy starts with standing in the water with a help of a vest for easier exercising in order to enhance muscle strength because a lot of them cannot stand on their own. When they begin to stand firmly we start with exercises in standing position, for an example, bike exercise and weight transfer. First treatment only serves to make the animals familiar with the appliance and the environment. With treats and toys the dog is slowly introduced with the exercising area and the pool itself. The dog is given time to relax and gets familiarized with the pool. Just moving through the water is quite exhausting and starts with short intervals (3x2min.) The intensity of exercising is slowly increased (10 % per week). If the animal starts to show signs of fatigue the intensity is decreased.  Usually exercising is carried out 2-3x per week. Belt speed is adjusted to allow easy but not uncomfortable walking. Before, after and during treatment animal’s breathing and pulse is monitored, and mucous membrane colour. After leaving the animal is dried with a drier and towels.

Each patient has a personal training plan because there is no universal protocol from which all patients would benefit. We need to set what are our goals are and the necessary time to achieve them.