I have a black Labrador bitch, who has become quite ‘notorious’ at Meadow Farm for her style and sheer excitement with her swim sessions!
Her name is ‘Bramble’ and she was gifted to me by friends who are reputable breeders, but suspected that at 10 months old she potentially had a problem with hip dysplasia. Being disabled myself, they felt that it would be the perfect match, as she would need to be carefully exercised, with no ‘pavement pounding’ and well looked after.
At almost 18 months old Bramble had an episode where she dislocated her hip whilst I was out and on return it was obvious that she was in dreadful pain. The vet was called and after examination and x-rays I was told that she had chronic osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia: It was also evident that she had been born with the problem. At that time (1999) they performed surgery, a Bi-lateral pectonneal re-section (two pieces of muscle removed by a small opening in the thigh…..often not successful and therefore rarely performed now).
After the surgery I was concerned about her exercise regime and felt a little unsure what to do. I realised that she needed some kind of exercise to maintain her overall fitness and well-being, otherwise the usual equation of “under exercised Labrador + food/bad diet = fat unhealthy Labrador!” would apply. My carer at the time told me about Meadow Farm and the rest, as they say, is history.
Bramble was signed up for her first session back in 2001 and we have never looked back. I keep her on the Royal Canin veterinary diet, designed especially for Labrador retrievers, which maintains a good weight, healthy coat and healthy dog. She also swims every week, as I do not get the opportunity to exercise her otherwise (particularly in bad weather), due to my own disability.
She recently had her 6 monthly health check and apart from quite a lot of ‘greying’ under the chin and tummy! The vet said that he would never have guessed that she was 10 ½ years old!! She does look amazing and I know that it has been due to the ongoing hydrotherapy sessions combined with some light exercise and a good diet.
Rachel Watkins (Proprietor), gives the most incredible advice and only ever has the dog’s interest as her priority.
Bramble is now on a ‘joint supplement’ which helps to lubricate the joints and prevent lameness, which one could expect in a dog of her years. Rachel continuously monitors Bramble for anything that may need attention, which makes me feel safe with her knowledge and understanding of Bramble’s needs.
I am absolutely convinced that due to the hydrotherapy, it has prevented any kind of veterinary intervention or treatment with drugs (which is what I was told back in 1999 could be the case). Consequently, I would advocate hydrotherapy to anyone that has a dog with any similar kind of problems. Speak to your vet, but seriously consider the alternative as an option.
Since I began taking Bramble, Meadow Farm now offers a wide range of alternative and complementary therapies,
Bramble also enjoys her regular ‘Grooming’ sessions performed by her best friend Roger Watkins (Proprietor) and therefore, with the swimming sessions, grooming and the fact that they stock a wide range of veterinary prepared bags of food and dietary supplements for all breeds, with sound advice from Rachel and Roger, I can get everything I need from the same place, which for me personally, makes life so much easier and convenient!
I couldn’t be more satisfied with the service I receive at Meadow Farm, but more importantly, Bramble really knows that it is her time and she certainly adores and makes the most of every minute of her session.
Thank you Meadow Farm!
From Michael Clare, Confirmed advocate for Canine Hydrotherapy
Meadow farm 2008
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