As the weather turns colder and your clients walk their dogs less frequently, there is an exercise alternative. Many veterinary hospitals with rehabilitation programs have the ability to offer weight management programs as well.
More and more hospitals across the country, especially under the current economic conditions, are looking for ways to introduce additional services that could benefit their clients. If your facility is fortunate enough to have a rehabilitation program with land or underwater treadmills for use post-operatively, why not use that same equipment to help your patients get into shape?
Trained staff members can create weight management programs for patients that can lead to longer, healthier lives. These programs can also help with pain management and may eliminate the need for some types of orthopedic surgeries. Considering programs that promote the overall wellbeing of companion animals demonstrates your concern and will have a lasting impact on your relationship with your clients.
Rehabilitation spaces can take on many different shapes. If your veterinary practice is just starting, there may only be enough room for a “dry” therapy room. Utilizing a large exam room, or ideally adding a room that is at minimum 15’ x 15’, provides enough space to conduct range of motion exercises and have a land treadmill. Treadmills specifically for dogs can be found at jogadog.com.
If you want to add an underwater treadmill to your facility, a room that is at least 18’ x 14’ will be needed. Some tips on “wet” therapy areas: while they can be beneficial to your practice, they are more costly from a construction standpoint and in terms of staff utilization, especially if you include a pool. Good space planning is the key to an efficient layout. The location of power and plumbing should be carefully planned and you will need to have a basic understanding of the specific equipment requirements. It is also handy to have a staff shower and stackable washer and dryer nearby.
Whether it is through the use of a land treadmill, underwater treadmill or swimming pool, adding a weight management program to your practice can be a great way to help your patients and increase revenue.
Photo Courtesy of VCA Alameda East Veterinary Hospital.