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25/05/2011 Vets call for greater regulation

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Vets are raising concerns that the increasingly popular treatment involving hydrotherapy for dogs is not being property regulated.

British Veterinary Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine Association (BVRSMA) president, Lowri Davies, argued that some hydrotherapy centres in the UK were employing staff with no nationally recognised qualifications. She said “Functional hydrotherapy when used appropriately within a comprehensive rehabilitation programme can be an invaluable aid in restoring function.”

But went on to state “However, at best it can be of little additional benefit to that animal’s recovery and a worst it can permanently hamper an individual’s progress.” Miss Davie said that those administering the treatment should be a team exercise with an orthopaedic surgeon, a vet trained in rehabilitation and a chartered veterinary physiotherapist for the treatment to be safe and effective. She went on to point out “Such a team should be able to discuss their animal’s condition in an informed manner, understand and explain radiographic and scan findings, outline the options for management and react quickly if a change is required to this management plan.”

The Canine Hydrotherapy Association (CHA) said a professional qualification does exist. The spokesman went on to point out “Our aims are to provide self-regulation and set benchmark standards in treatment, care, operation and training within the canine hydrotherapy/water based rehabilitation industry,”

However she also said “The CHA is often contacted by the public with stories of problems encountered from non-CHA members, and we find it most frustrating that we have no regulatory control over these centres that are of course not audited for expertise, knowledge or intent.

It is now up to referring professionals to ensure they refer only to CHA-regulated centres run by individuals qualified and assessed in small animal hydrotherapy.”

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