Information for referring Veterinary Surgeons

Hawksmoor Hydrotherapy was established in 2000 and was one of the first small animal hydrotherapy centres within the UK.

Hawksmoor have a qualified Veterinary Physiotherapists on site who also holds a Level 3 Certificate and Level 3 Diploma in Hydrotherapy for Small Animals.

Hawksmoor work on Veterinary referral basis only.  We prefer to have the clinical notes as part of your referral in order for us to obtain a complete history and overview of the patient.  If this is not possible an in depth referral letter detailing concurrent conditions that the patient may be suffering from.


All Hydrotherapists at Hawksmoor are qualified to the highest of standards and have achieved the only qualification on the Ofqual’s Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF); “Level 3 Certificate in Hydrotherapy for Small Animals” and also “Level 3 Diploma in Hydrotherapy for Small Animals”.  We have qualified Veterinary Nurses on site daily and within the Hydrotherapy Centre.

This enables referring Veterinary Surgeons to have the confidence to know that patients they refer for hydrotherapy rehabilitation are being assessed and treated by qualified professionals who have a great depth of knowledge of clinical conditions and related surgical procedures.

Prior to the initial consultation our Hydrotherapists  assess each animal on an individual basis. From this evaluation it will then be decided if the hydro pool or aquatic treadmill is the preferred treatment option. It may be a combination of both.

A full health check is performed prior to each session and the animal’s progress discussed with the owner. Muscle mass measurements and gait are assessed and recorded at the first, fifth and tenth session and a comprehensive report is compiled for the referring Veterinary Surgeon on the animals progress after session ten.

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There are many reputable hydrotherapy centres in the UK today, professionally trained and who are able to provide patients with a high standard of care, clinically reasoning their treatment rationales. Hydrotherapy is an exciting and newly evolving industry relative to other complementary therapies. There are many conflicting opinions of what contributes to ‘best’ practice and at Hawksmoor we are firm believers that only one dog should be treated in a hydrotherapy pool at any one time. A physiotherapist would not treat more than one patient in the same room at one time, a veterinary surgeon or nurse would not consult with more than one patient so this raises the question of why should hydrotherapists be any different? There are many centres that perform multiple dog ‘swimming’ and we have grave concerns regarding this as we see patients post operatively following cruciate surgery and spinal surgery and if there is more than one dog in the pool or treadmill area there is an increase potential for the patient to become anxious or frightened. This will cause the sympathetic nervous system to cause the fight, flight, fright or fool around response from the patient, causing adrenaline release in to the body and therefore blocking critical pain pathways. This may potentially be of detriment to the patients condition and therefore the patient has undergone unnecessary stress and an unproductive, unsafe hydrotherapy session. One industry Organisation – The Canine Hydrotherapy Association has now banned multiple dog swimming as part of their rigorous quality standards. Hydrotherapy rehabilitation is about providing safe and effective aquatic exercise in a controlled environment. Many dogs enjoy toys as motivation however if used incorrectly this may compromise the safety of the patient so knowing how to use these motivational tools effectively is crucial. If a dog’s mouth or even worse head goes below the water line this is not hydrotherapy!

Hawksmoor insist on a Veterinary Referral prior to commencement of any treatment of any animals.