Aquatic therapy is used in physical rehabilitation of humans.1 Water is used because of buoyancy, drag, inertia, turbulence, hydrostatic pressure, and thermal effects.2 Aquatic therapy allows humans to perform exercises similar to those performed without immersion but at a lower heart rate or lower speed.3,4 It improves functional fitness and well-being.5 Aquatic exercise decreases pain and joint stiffness and increases physical function, quality of life, and muscle strength in humans with osteoarthritis of the hip and knee joints,6 and it has similar benefits for osteopenic patients.7
Aquatic therapy has been used during the rehabilitation and conditioning of companion animals.8–10,a Little is known about the buoyancy and weight distribution between the thoracic and pelvic limbs for dogs at various levels of immersion. Therefore, the purpose of the study reported here was to assess changes in vGRF and vGRF distribution in dogs standing on the ground without immersion and standing in water on a UWTM with immersion to the level of the tarsal, stifle, and hip joints. We hypothesized that increasing the depth of immersion would result in a decrease in vGRF for all limbs and that there would be a proportionally higher vGRF for the thoracic limbs as compared with that for the pelvic limbs.
Vertical ground reaction force
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Health-o-meter HAB180 dial scale, Jarden Corp, Rye, NY.
Aqua Paws underwater treadmill, Ferno Veterinary Systems, Wilmington, Ohio.
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