"adding years to their life
& life to their years"


Zena, our 6 year old Mini Poodle was running after a ball in the garden when she stopped suddenly and couldn't move. After seeing the vet it was discovered that she had a prolapsed a disc in her spine and needed surgery. After an extensive operation and several weeks of hospitalisation later we had a little grey poodle that was unable to walk, and two absolutely distraught parents determined to do whatever she needed to get her moving. Her vet said she had a very good chance of walking again if we could get the right rehabilitation.

On the first occasion that Jo at Aquapaws met Zena, it was obvious that our little broken girl liked and trusted her. During the first session in the underwater treadmill, completely fitted out with life jacket, toys and Jo in the water with her, she had her fist muscle movement in her back legs since her operation. The difference in the attitude of our dog was miraculous. She lost her depression in that first session.

Jo is professional, she assesses, develops a course of action, has all sorts of equipment she feels will assist in her therapy and gives one hundred percent attention to each animal as she is working with them. There is no exercising one animal while she works on another at Aquapaws. Its one animal at a time with every movement either videotaped for later analysis or recorded by chart and the whole program re assessed before each therapy session. Owners are always informed in a manner that is understandable and with great care and concern. Our vet was also most impressed to receive a full record of everything that had been done to her.

Zena is a happy little dog who goes back to Aquapaws for the odd check up and who adores Jo. To find someone of the integrity, expertise and dedication of Jo to help their animals is a blessing and we would highly recommend her to anyone.

Karan and Philip Champion de Crespigny

Dear Jo,

We wanted to thank you for the personalized care and treatment shown to our dog Elspan Crown Derby - 'Derby" our 14 month show dog. Having noticed a change in his movement and energy in the show ring we sort your advice. Your ability to identify his problems and develop an individualized rehabilitation plan was nothing short of amazing. Since treatment, Derby's stamina, his presence in the show ring, his muscle tone and gait have all improved. All this is a matter of weeks.

After only two sessions with you, Derby won Best in Breed and he moved around the ring with improved strength and drive. Comments from those ring side have also been encouraging, in particular the improvement noticed has been in strength of his top-line whilst on the move and the reach and drive of his movement.

I would encourage other conformation show dog owners to utilize your services. Too often we wait for small injuries to heal themselves, but as we have found, these injuries often worsen over time and without appropriate intervention. A good show dog can quickly lose form and correctness of movement. Through your caring rehabilitation service you have given us back the show dog we once had and we believe he will soon now gain the remaining points he needs to become the Champion we know he is.

Ken and Janette Biggs.

Alison & Archee
Dear Jo

Archee and I would like to thank you very much for making him into the happy go lucky puppy that he is today. Without your knowledge, wisdom and professional care he would not be able to enjoy life as much as he does. He is pain free, limp free and very happy. Thank you so much for all you have done we are unable to put our thanks into enough words.

Love Al and Archee

Dear Jo,

It is with great delight that I write to let you know of Maddie's wonderful weekend. My darling dog has trained in agility and jumping for two years and has never made the time to get a passing grade. Whilst she is accurate and loves it, she has just never been fast enough. Her daughter has grown out from under mums shadow, and in 8 months of training has several passes. Well after 6 weeks of training and conditioning with you for fitness, she received two passes at the weekend and even a first and second place! We are so thrilled and proud of her. Here come the titles!

Regards Megan

Dear Jo,

Just have to write and update you on Maddie's conditioning progress. In the last three weeks she has gained 3 titles, in jumping, agility and endurance. My girl who used to be too slow in now an aggressive competitor passing more rings than not! Thanks for the fitness and muscle work.

Regards Megan

Regina & Karrie
Many thanks Jo for helping Carrie after surgery on her knee. She can now run around free of pain and play ball with her brother Bosley, just like she used to do.

Regina, Carrie & Bos

Dear Jo,

Thank you just isn't enough. I want you to know how grateful we are for all your love and care towards Ally after her surgery to correct a torn cruciate ligament. You gave Ally the best treatment money could buy and it all came with lots of love and affection. (She was so excited coming to see you). Your professional wisdom and knowledge was very comforting to me when I looked to you for advice. (So many times.) To look at her now is hard to believe that she is the same dog that came to you after her surgery. Without you Ally would still be living a reduced quality of life limping, but now after 8 weeks treatment she can run and play with our other dogs and I don't think she has been this happy in over a year.
"Ally" 4 year old Golden Retriever
Cruciate Disease
Post Operative Rehabilitation
Tibia Plateau Leveling Osteotomy
(TPLO) Surgery
Having the best surgeon in the world means nothing if it's not followed up with the best professional rehabilitation afterwards, and that's what we did, we came to you.

Love Rikki & Ally

Going to Aquapaws is like a fun excursion for our dogs, as well as ourselves.
Our boy, Nikki, has had many challenges in his three years, and Jo and her team at Aquapaws are a fundamental part of Nik's routine, keeping him happy, active and healthy. 

Sometimes it feels that Nikki has practically worked through a veterinary text book in his life so far! To start, he suffered from panosteitis, some dental problems, and then bilateral elbow dysplasia (FCP). After elbow surgery in January 2006, Nikki developed chronic renal failure, followed some months later by a cruciate injury. More recently, he has had additional complications related to his kidney condition, most notably blood in his urine and high blood pressure.

Nikki's renal problems severely limit his ongoing treatment options, for instance, surgery for his cruciate injury was not viable, as we were not confident that he would retain sufficient kidney function to survive. His kidneys also mean that pain relief for Nikki's continuing knee and elbow issues is difficult - to use many of the common drug therapies would be putting his kidneys at unacceptable risk. The veterinary opinion seems to be that it is likely that Nikki only just has enough kidney function left to continue.

Even for all his trials, Nikki is a cheerful, energetic and affectionate boy, who has been lucky enough to be cared for by a wide variety of veterinarians and other healthcare professionals, many of whom have been marvellous.
Our most recent addition to Nikki's treatment team has been Aquapaws. We have been visiting almost every week since February 2007. Before Aquapaws opened, Nikki was fortunate to be under the care of Dr Megan Semple, Aquapaws' veterinary acupuncturist, who introduced us to Jo and her treatment facility.
In addition to all the other wonderful options Aquapaws offers, we cannot speak highly enough of their acupuncturist. Megan has been providing regular acupuncture for Nikki since April 2006 and was also a key part of his treatment team at the onset of his renal problems, offering a remarkable level of care in her other role in emergency veterinary medicine. Even with all the other outstanding care Nikki has had, we are sure Nikki would not still be with us, if not for Megan's acupuncture therapies. The treatments have supplied consistent and extraordinary pain relief, have managed Nikki's high blood pressure so well he no longer needs medication and appears to give significant healing benefits for his knee, elbows and other conditions.

Underwater treadmill sessions at Aquapaws are the perfect addition to our routine, keeping Nikki strong to reduce the risk of further joint flare-ups and helping him recover when he does experience discomfort. We had used other treadmill facilities before Aquapaws opened, but the level of attention, care and focus we experience at Aquapaws is in a whole different league.

Given Nikki's medical history and the accompanying restrictions he faces in treatment options and everyday life, we are extremely protective of Nikki and cautious when trying something new. Our start to treatment at Aquapaws gave us the utmost confidence and reassured us that our visits to Aquapaws would bring only positive things.
While Nikki generally loves people, he can be wary when encountering a new treatment or care-provider. Even from our first meeting, Jo has provided a calming influence on both animals and their people. She took the introduction to Nikki very easily and they quickly built a good friendship. For our first couple of sessions, we were privileged to also have Megan in attendance. Nikki considers Megan one of his most favourite people ever, so her presence made him more comfortable and gave us extra reassurance because of her veterinary expertise and detailed knowledge of Nikki's history.

In the early days of Nikki's treatment at Aquapaws, he proved quite a challenging patient, becoming bored and restless in the treadmill. Jo went above and beyond, trying to keep Nikki interested and looking on at our crazy antics with kind amusement as we tried to keep him entertained. Nikki has now settled into a beautiful routine with his treatments, with clown-like extravaganzas a thing of the past.
Nikki is constantly supervised throughout each treadmill session, with Jo completely focused on Nikki and how he is moving, making adjustments to his treatment immediately if needed. Jo's monitoring is further enhanced by the technology she uses. Not only do we feel that the treadmill design reduces the risk of injury, with a door that swings open and a treadmill that operates in either direction, the video monitoring makes it easy for both Jo and even us to watch Nikki's movement. Being inexperienced in judging dogs' gaits, Peter and I find that the video monitoring makes it ever so much easier to assess Nikki's movement ourselves, which adds significantly to our level of confidence in Nikki's treatment. Jo also gives Nikki a thorough check over after he exits the treadmill, noting anything to be considered for the next treatment, as well as a lovely towel dry!

Going to Aquapaws is always a friendly, welcoming and comforting experience. Jo and her team are extremely supportive and always make time to discuss Nikki's progress. Jo is completely obliging and is willing to accept as much input into Nikki's treatment routine as we choose to offer. Whether we raise many suggestions or none at all, Jo always ensures that we are happy with and aware of her treatment plans before proceeding.
Notable in a service industry, Jo is also very considerate of her patient's time. In all the dozens of visits we have made to Aquapaws, we have only had to wait for our session once, for a very short time, when Jo was providing important and urgent treatment to another patient. Jo has consistently been wonderful in fitting Nikki's treatment times to suit our routine.

We are also especially fortunate that Jo provides a valuable service to our other dog, Nikki's littermate sister, Kelli. We were all concerned, perhaps the team at Aquapaws most of all, that Kelli would feel left out, with Nikki's weekly treatments. While Kelli has no physical problems, she is unfortunately very scared of strangers and reacts aggressively. Conversely, she is a perfect angel with those she trusts, tolerating anything and being incredibly sweet. At first, Jo very kindly offered us basic instruction in operating the treadmill ourselves, with the aim of giving Kelli a chance to do some gentle conditioning work. Kelli loved the environment at Aquapaws, but we weren't experienced enough to get our nervous little girl used to the treadmill, so Jo suggested we could instead make use of one of her paddocks for general doggie fun and exploring. Now Kelli as well as Nikki looks forward to weekly visits to Aquapaws. Kelli is becoming more used to people coming and going at a safe distance, associates her muzzle with even more positive things (as extra security during the trip from the car to the enclosed paddock, we pop her muzzle on - it reassures me that we will not have a negative event, even if someone were to come up unexpectedly) and has a most wonderful time exploring in a place she feels very safe in, and where we feel certain that we can have fun without providing any risk to Kelli or anyone else. Kelli gets the biggest, happiest, grins on her face when we're exploring at Aquapaws.

We are confident that Nikki's continuing visits to Aquapaws provide significant benefit and will help maximise the duration of his good health and quality of life. We feel that Nikki has had far fewer episodes of discomfort since commencing treatment at Aquapaws and that the care there has always been outstanding.
We would eagerly recommend Aquapaws to anyone. In addition to the wonderful work the team has done with Nikki, each time we visit we see and hear of further great successes, ranging from intensive in-patient treatments to conditioning work for performance dogs and more. Each patient seems to be treated with the same high level of expertise, care, devotion and focus.

Susan, Peter, Nikki and Kelli Bain
Thank you to everyone who sent me emails, and the phone calls I received regarding this article in the Herald Sun, from past clients I have helped with their paralyzed dogs. It is always so great to hear that they are still doing so well. I feel so blessed to have met such wonderful people!

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