What is Heat Therapy?
Many health benefits result from applying heat to an ailing area on a dog's body. This is mainly due to the fact that heat application results in an increase of blood flow, which brings fresh nutrients and oxygen to the injury. The flowing blood also removes toxins in the damaged body part. The flow increases because heat causes the blood vessels to dilate.
Heat also aids sore muscles as it causes tissue in the body to become more elastic. It can relax muscle spasms and relieve pain. Blood pressure often can be lowered using heat therapy. A veterinarian may use heat application while treating a dog, or may show how it is to be used to the dog's owner for home application. A physiotherapist may also include heat therapy in rehabilitation treatments.
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Heat Therapy Procedure in Dogs
It is always advisable to seek medical attention from a veterinarian whenever your dog becomes injured. Heat wraps or pads that are specialized for use on dogs can be purchased to prepare for the event of an injury. In lieu of these items, a towel soaked in hot, but not boiling, water will suffice.
Whatever the heat source, placement directly on the skin should be avoided to prevent burns. The application should only remain on the body for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. The animal's response to the heat therapy should also be monitored, to ensure that more pain isn't being caused by the treatment.
Efficacy of Heat Therapy in Dogs
Heat therapy is a successful technique for relieving unpleasant symptoms of injury. It generally must be paired with a more specific treatment that addresses the actual problem causing the pain or inflammation. The application of heat has been proven to assist the healing of many issues, and can make physiotherapy more effective. For dogs experiencing a lot of pain, or for senior dogs, an orthopedic bed can be used with heat therapy for extra comfort.
Heat Therapy Recovery in Dogs
The overall recovery period will vary greatly depending on the ailment present. Heat therapy can quicken the length of recovery due to the increase of blood flow caused by the heat. Severe injuries may take a very long time to repair, and lasting damage is possible, if not likely. Other rehabilitation therapies are often started in addition to heat therapy.
Care should be taken to ensure that heat application never exceeds twenty minutes to prevent burns. If an infection exists, a course of antibiotics will likely be prescribed to eradicate all harmful bacteria. Heat therapy combined with supplementation will not cure arthritis in dogs, but it can stop the disease from worsening.
Cost of Heat Therapy in Dogs
Heat therapy can cost over one hundred dollars if specialized equipment is purchased. It can also be performed in a cost-effective manner, using homemade materials like towels and plastic bags. Physiotherapy is often paired with heat application, and can cost up to $75 per session. Different products to administer the heat include heating pads, wraps, and hot water bottles.
Dog Heat Therapy Considerations
Consult with your veterinarian before beginning heat therapy to ensure that the treatment is appropriate and that no immediate attention is required. Heat should not be applied to open wounds or stitches, as it can cause further damage to the area. Overall, heat therapy is a safe and simple method of rehabilitation that can be applied at home and used regularly.
Heat Therapy Prevention in Dogs
Depending on the injury, various measures can be taken to prevent the need for therapies such as heat application. Many traumatic injuries caused by blunt force can be avoided by the use of a leash when on walks. Repetitive injuries may be prevented by discouraging vigorous play or jumping onto high surfaces. Some injuries or ailments can be prevented by general health maintenance such as moderate, regular exercise and a high quality diet. Keeping your dog at a proper weight can decrease the likelihood of many problems developing.