Rabbit takes to hydrotherapy 'like duck to water'

Heidi the rabbit wears a lifejacket during the sessions

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A rabbit from Dorset has had hydrotherapy for arthritis, a treatment more commonly given to dogs and horses.

Heidi, a four-year-old continental giant rabbit, has had sessions in a heated pool while wearing a lifejacket.

Hydrotherapy pool owner Linda Prove admitted she was sceptical when a vet referred the rabbit, but the treatment was "working incredibly well".

Heidi's owner Amanda Williams, from Christchurch, said her pet took to it like a "duck to water".

Heidi, who weighs about 7kg, had been diagnosed with arthritis in her hips and knees and spondylosis in her neck.

Ms Prove, owner of the pool in Milford-on-Sea, Hampshire, said: "We've had lots of success with dogs - it's good for the joints as it gets them moving and means they don't stiffen up."

While rabbits can swim in the wild, Heidi wears a buoyancy jacket during the sessions and is carefully dried afterwards to prevent hypothermia.

Ms Williams said: "None of us thought she would tolerate even one minute in water.

"She is certainly a lot more lively and is obviously benefiting from this treatment."

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