Is water therapy helpful for osteosarcoma?

Question: Hi Cindy-

I am writing to you as you seem to have a wealth of knowledge & experience regarding canine water therapy!

I am considering / researching some water therapy for our Rottweiler who has been diagnosed with osteosarcoma. We have unfortunately been down this road 2 other times with previous Rottweiler’s. It is heartbreaking to say the least. Our dog is 9 and we have chosen not to amputate. He is currently taking supplements, organic diet and a few pain meds and is in good spirits. I am curious to know if you have had any experience with canine osteosarcoma in the water. Specifically I am wondering if it potentially would make him too sore? I know the massage on his spine as well as unaffected limbs would be great since his gait is affected by the limping.

Your thoughts when you have the time would be greatly appreciated.

Again, I appreciate your time & insight in this matter.



Answer (by Cindy Horsfall): Hello Amy,

First may I say that I am so sorry for your news and the pain that you must be feeling.

You are right that the warm water massage would help the compensating muscles in your pup’s body. Swimming itself is the only exercise where the shoulder and hip joints are used full range of motion as there is so much freedom “in space” (i.e. in the warm supportive environment of water).

But more important than the physical benefits of warm water work, you want to focus on emotional safety and nurturing for both you and your canine friend.

When dealing with cancer, pain and loss of some use of his leg (for him), and with dealing with grief and loss (again) for you, this experience needs to be restorative emotionally for you both – that’s the focus.

Water can be a profound healer for the emotional and physical body. (See more about the benefits here.)

Being in warm water and having fun, receiving massage, you being at pool side and feeling safe and pampered… that’s going to do the most good for the two of you.

Be sure to tap into your own heart and soul when you take a tour or receive a session at a facility and make sure that both you and your dog are taken care of. If there is anything that doesn’t feel emotionally safe about your experience you should just politely excuse yourself and leave.

Please let me know if I can be of any more assistance, and good luck to you and your beloved friend.

Warmest Regards,