The following topics will provide vets and other animal professionals with information relating to Canine Hydrotherapy. The information will assist in all aspects of Canine Hydrotherapy but if you feel there is something missing then please do let NARCH know.
Registered Canine Hydrotherapists (RCHs) are required to obtain either a letter of referral, or a signed form giving permission to treat with hydrotherapy, from the animal's veterinary surgeon. No dog will receive hydrotherapy treatment without this.
Clients may contact hydrotherapy centres direct but in every case, even for a 'fitness' swim, they will be informed that their vet will be contacted for background information and to obtain permission for hydrotherapy treatment.
In cases where there are first opinion and referral vet(s) and/or physiotherapists involved in the animal's care, all parties will be contacted for clinical histories and reports. This is to ensure that the hydrotherapist has a complete picture of the animal's condition, behaviour, clinical history and any cautions or contraindications for hydrotherapy.
It will often be the veterinary physiotherapist who has referred for hydrotherapy and they will normally provide a summary report and plan for the hydrotherapist, listing cautions and the aims of treatment.
A Registered Canine Hydrotherapist (RCH) has fulfilled the NARCH Training requirements for registration and must keep up to date by completing a further 25 hours of Continued Professional Development training each year.
RCHs are required to abide by the guidelines and rules set out in the NARCH Guide to Professional Conduct (PDF) and must hold public liability and professional indemnity insurance.
An RCH will maintain client and professional confidentiality.
RCHs are listed on the NARCH website; it is possible to check their registration is valid and see their level of training and areas of competence or expertise.
NARCH has the highest training requirements for registration in the UK.
If a hydrotherapy centre is listed on this website you can be assured that all hydrotherapy treatment will be carried out or supervised (in the case of a trainee) by an RCH.
It is important that you inform the hydrotherapist of any medical condition that may affect hydrotherapy treatment. Some medical conditions contraindicate hydrotherapy and others mean that hydrotherapy treatment should only be carried out with caution. However there may be some situations where the benefits of hydrotherapy can outweigh possible concerns.
The lists below are not exhaustive but are a useful guide.
If surgery is planned, pre-operative hydrotherapy can provide a number of benefits.
It is important to understand the basic principles and effects of immersion and movement in water. This gives a greater insight into how hydrotherapy treatment can be so effective for patients. The following is an extract from a 2002 document written by Christelle van Wyk, BSc Physiotherapy, PGDip Veterinary Physiotherapy and edited by Angela Griffiths CCRP, RCH.Hydrotherapy Principles