Barnaby is my loyal, beautiful and best friend. He is a black Labrador-Retriever Cross with Huntaway and Alsatian who came to me from the SPCA when he was approximately three and a half years old. He is now in his 14th year and although agile and keen to walk, I noticed a gradual reluctance for him to accompany me on long walks during the past 18 months.
Our vet suggested weight reduction [and yes Barnaby did peak at 41kg! but he is a large, tall dog] and a range of prescription medication.
Barnaby lost 6 kilos and we continued with medication. However, I was not happy about the medication in terms of the cost and the fact that long term damage to the kidneys can be a serious side effect
Early in 2008 at an annual check-up with our lovely vet, Murray, a suggestion was made to contact Rachel @ Hydropaws.
Since then we have travelled on a regular basis for the past 12+ months to attend our regular appointments. To begin, Barnaby needed to attend twice a week and although he loves travelling and loves his hydropaws exercise, it was quite difficult to fit in with my very fulltime job in Hamilton...the trip takes us about 45 minutes each way. We persevered because:
· Rachel is a highly professional practitioner who discussed Barnaby’s ongoing needs [osteo-arthritis in his left hind area] with me at each session
· Within two months of starting hydrotherapy, Barnaby was off all prescribed medication as we trialled and monitored natural remedies; he was able to walk for up to 20 minutes twice a day without any soreness or stiffness; his weight remained stable on the nutrition plan that was suggested by Rachel. Most importantly I had my HAPPY dog back again!
· Twelve months later, Barnaby does need any medication, apart from two fish oil tablets a day; he is energetic, HAPPY and keen to attend hydrotherapy once a fortnight – this keeps us on track with his regular walks and weight control
· Another bonus is that Barnaby stays at the Hydropaws kennels when I am away on holiday – as an ‘elder statesman’ he does not like to leave home overnight but is very happy with Rachel and the love and care that she gives to her dogs
Thank you Rachel.................you have given Barnaby a quality of life that I never thought possible
Judy Campbell, February 2009
What my clients say
Zac was chasing a cat when he jumped off steps and landed awkwardly, rupturing his cranial cruciate ligament in his right knee. After successful surgery, the little fox terrier was still reluctant to use his repaired leg. Owner Sandy tried putting him in the bath to get him to weight bear but ended up getting very wet without achieving anything! Then Zac's vet suggested they try hydrotherapy, and Zac hasn't looked back.
'The underwater treadmill has made such a huge difference - Zac has basically gone from being a dog using only three legs to one who is walking confidently,' says owner Sandy King. 'Even after the first session there was a dramatic improvement.'