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Helen Cartlidge
The Veterinary Nurse, Vol. 6, Iss. 10, 22 Dec 2015, pp 600 - 606

There are many potential factors that can play a role in the initial development of
osteoarthritis, however, irrespective of cause, the progression of osteoarthritis is
similar in all cases. Pathological changes within the joint are often self-perpetuating;
degeneration of articular cartilage initiates an inflammatory response which
results in further degeneration of the cartilage. Pain and discomfort and subsequent
reduced activity follows, leading to reduced aerobic ability and further changes
within the musculoskeletal tissues. With no cure available, treatment often centres
on management strategies to ease discomfort and progression of clinical signs.
Hydrotherapy could be beneficial for osteoarthritic patients as it allows exercise to
be conducted in a reduced weight bearing environment. This allows aerobic ability,
muscle strength and range of motion to be improved/maintained while reducing the
impact on painful joints. Available evidence suggests that treatment with hydrotherapy
is beneficial in the management of osteoarthritis, however, further evidence
is required in the comparison of aquatic and land-based therapy.

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