Our founder Jacqueline Newholm has decided to expand the offering at Big Brown Dog Therapy to now include Hydrotherapy. We caught up with Jacqui on week one of her new course to find out more. Here is what she had to say.
What is hydrotherapy?
Hydrotherapy is an alternative therapy to help strengthen muscles, improve cardiovascular fitness, relieve swelling, pain and stiffness in dogs. Water naturally creates resistance on the body without impacting on muscles or causing stress on the joints, so this is a perfect way to increase the healing following surgery or traumatic injury in dogs.
Why did you decide to learn about Hydrotherapy?
I wanted to expand the offering for Big Brown Dog, canine massage and hydrotherapy treatments compliment each other perfectly.
Where are you studying?
I am studying at the South Coast Hydrotherapy Centre in Verwood, Dorset. It is run by the Springbok Veterinary surgery.
What do you have to do to become qualified?
I have to complete 4 modules, each consisting of 4 days of practical hands on workshops and lectures; write a number of theory essays which have to be sent away to be assessed externally and I have to do a practical test on the last day. I completed my first hands on module at the beginning of November, I have another 3 modules to complete in January. I shall be exhausted in February! The modules are a mix of lectures combined with some hands on sessions with dogs in the pool.
What kind of things are you studying?
I am studying a range of different topics as part of my course. On the first day we spent a lot of time talking about canine anatomy and physiology (all about how the body and body systems work) – luckily I studied this when I qualified as a canine massage therapist 4yrs ago so it was great to have a refresh. It was definitely good to have this background rather than starting from scratch. As well as the anatomy we look at the effects that doing exercise in water has on a dogs body. I also carried a risk analysis on the centre as part of the coursework.
It has been a very different and unique experience; I had no idea I would get quite so wet – I was in a wet suit all day. Massage is quite gentle treatment, whereas hydrotherapy is a very different discipline, working in a very different environment. The dogs can only be mobile in the water for a certain period of time, after which you have to give them time to rest as the therapy is extremely physically demanding. The dogs have flotation aids and are not able to stand in the water so I had to support them throughout the whole session. The smaller dogs were slightly more difficult to treat – because they are lighter, their back legs drop further into the water and so you have to help support them to enable the front legs to remain under the water so that they can swim effectively, otherwise the treatment does not work well.
When will you qualify?
I hope to qualify at the end of January, beginning of February and should then be able to start treating dogs.
I am loving increasing my knowledge about dogs and I am looking forward to treating some of my current clients soon, please do contact us to find out more.
Thanks very much for you time Jacqui, good luck with the rest of your training!