Lee’s Animal Rehabilitation Limited/Woof ‘n’ Water Case Study

Lee’s Animal Rehabilitation is a limited company whose main aim is to provide canine hydrotherapy and physiotherapy sessions along with grooming. However, the company isn’t limited to just this, as Lee Rudge also performs therapy sessions with horses and has been known to give hydrotherapy to cats. The centre is based in Smethwick Birmingham, where he has been practising for 16 years. However, most of his practising years were completed at his previous business, Woof ‘n’ Water which opened in 2000. The reason behind it was to rebrand the business and to allow it to come across as more universal to all animal owners. Some clients may have assumed that the business only deals with canine patients due to using ‘woof’ in the title. Currently, he employs two other people, who also help carry out canine hydrotherapy and grooming.

Having employees was one of the deciding factors in making the company legally limited. Another factor was that there is more personal financial security for this business structure. This means that any debts accrued would not be personally attached to Mr Rudge.

His qualifications include a Post Graduate Certificate in Animal Physiotherapy, which was completed in 2005. However, before this, he gained valuable experience by competing in numerous dog shows. Due to his job role, he is required to get veterinary permission before he treats a client’s animal. All clients are required to ensure that the correct procedures have been carried out beforehand. This involves obtaining signed permission from the veterinary surgeon. To ensure that it is safe to perform hydrotherapy or physiotherapy.

The Veterinary Surgery (Exemptions) Order 2015 is a legislation that is followed by the centre. This is to ensure that no one under the age of 18 is treating an animal and that a qualified person prior to that has examined the animal. This act has been updated from the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 to include treatments such as physiotherapy.

He also has to consider patient confidentiality to conform with the Data Protection Act 1998. As a result of this, He has to ensure he keeps information, for example, patient details for a certain number of years. This also helps to safeguard the business and help if an old client was to return. As the patient’s history is would still be on record making it quicker to find it out because it would only need the missing time updated.

Advertising methods such as leaflets, websites, signage and posters have been the main methods in which have been used to promote the business. Articles have also been published in magazines written by clients about the positive outcome that the centre has had on their animal. However, the website contains the bulk of the information about the centre. For example, case studies, treatments frequently asked questions and referral forms. Along with this, they have created business cards where they are able to record their appointments. Clients are then able to keep all their animal’s therapy appointments in one place. Throughout these adverting techniques, a constant house style of black, white and blues was used. Blue has been shown to have a healing and calming effect in the use of colour therapy, which has been stated by O’Connor (2011). This shows their clients that as a practice they are able to hopefully effectively manage their animal’s condition in a calming manner as shown by Lotz (2016).

Word of mouth is another advertising method used. Also, clients that may have previously lost their animal have been known to book appointments with their new pet. This is due to the fact; the customers were happy with the service they have previously received.

A large bulk of their clientele comes from the surrounding areas of Birmingham and also the outskirts of the city. The commuting distance isn’t too far for clients to travel, especially when many of clients who attend the evening sessions come after they have finished work. Due to the nature of the area, traffic can get extremely busy, (especially in rush hour) as the current premises are situated by the A401 and A457. Clients would need to take this into consideration if they were to commute from further afield. On the other hand, a train station and a bus stop are roughly about a 10-minute walk away. However, this probably wouldn’t be suitable for all patients, as many receive hydrotherapy and physiotherapy treatments for a condition. Resulting in some patients not be able to manage this commuting method.

During the weekdays in the day, a significant percentage of clients are retired, but there are still non-retired clients. Many of these book appointments on their days off to ensure they have plenty of time for the appointment.

Payments will depend on a client’s situation and this will vary greatly, as to whether they choose to go through insurance or pay the centre directly. As it is hugely dependent on the insurance company and what their policy offers. For example, some offer several sessions free per year, whereas others won’t payout for any sessions at all.

At the centre, they sell pet related products from other companies, such as dog food and tags. Purina, one of the foods they sell has a display stand for clients to get more information on pet nutrition while they wait. Customers are able to order these products and are then notified when they become available for collection.

Due to the facilities available, many of the clients’ animals are dogs. This is mainly because the centre receives more canine referrals. He does receive equine clients; however, he has to commute to these as they wouldn’t able to come to the centre. As a result of this, he can’t perform hydrotherapy on these patients but instead focuses on physiotherapy. Occasionally, he has treated cats, but as expected these cases aren’t very common. One of the main reasons is because many people associate cats with not liking water. However, this isn’t always the case. In his experience, cat hydrotherapy in a swimming pool can either be beneficial or not. The cat, could either be fairly relaxed or get too stressed out, causing the stress to outweigh the benefits. Some breeds of cats, on the other hand, have been shown to regularly enjoy swimming, such as the Turkish Van cat, as informed by Turkish Van Cats (n.d.).

This business has been enabled me to gain valuable insight into the running a hydrotherapy centre, what it may involve and what considerations that need to be made.


Lotz, R. (2016) Color Associations as Advertising Strategies: An Analysis of Consumer Attitudes Toward the Healthfulness of Energy Bar Packaging. Honours. Portland State University.

O’Connor, Z. (2011) ‘Colour psychology and colour therapy: Caveat emptor’. [online] Color Research & Application, 36(3) pp.229-234. [Accessed on 14 March 2017] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/col.20597/full.

The Data Protection Act, 1998 Available at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/29/contents (Accessed on: 14 April 2017)

The Veterinary Surgeons Act, 1966 C.36. Available at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1966/36 (Accessed on: 14 March 2017)

The Veterinary Surgery (Exemptions) Order, 2015. Available at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2015/772/contents (Accessed: 14 March 2017) (Accessed on: 14 March 2017)

Turkish Van Cats. (n.d.) Petmd. [Online] [Accessed on 15 March 2017] http://www.petmd.com/cat/breeds/c_ct_turkish_van.


Puppy Farming

Puppy farms were created for the purpose of producing a high yield of puppies for the highest profits. Consequently, it has caused and is causing many welfare issues for both bitch and puppies. This was made illegal in the UK under the Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act, which was adapted from the Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 (The Kennel Club, n.d). Hence the reason why organisations, such as the Kennel Club and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) are educating owners into purchasing dogs from reputable breeders. Documentaries on the issue have also been published to educate owners. For example, BBC Three (2016) published an example called “The Cost of Cute: The Dark Side of the Puppy Trade”.

Puppy farm breeders aim for high profits, but this then results in standards of husbandry to decrease. Lowered standards such as bedding not being changed regularly, allows them to produce a litter of puppies at much smaller margins than those of registered breeders. An increased amount of litters per year is also used to increase profits, resulting in puppies spending less than the recommended eight weeks with their mother. By law, bitches must only produce six litters throughout their lifetime to protect the health of the dam. However, due to the effect of pregnancy, the kennel club will only register puppies from a bitch that has had four or fewer litters to discourage puppy farming (The Kennel Club, n.d).

Basic standards of veterinary care are often missing; any biological side effects caused by pregnancy or birth to dam or puppies are often undetected. Basic husbandry is often low causing many minor conditions to worsen. The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) discovered 340 dogs in chronic conditions where their teeth, skin, and eyes all needed urgent attention due to the problems caused by the conditions (see plate one). These dogs had been living in their own urine, which had caused infections within their paws and extremely matted coats (ISPCA, 2015).


Plate one: one of the 340 dogs being treated (Source: ISPCA, 2015).

Generally, if there are any signs of the brood bitches not producing adequate litter sizes, or pregnancy rates, the farm finds ways of disposing of them. This could be through the act of abandonment or euthanasia. However, the general physiological health status of the dog is usually ignored According to Dailrer (2016). Under kennel club rules, dogs are tested “for hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia and inherited eye conditions” and also DNA testing to ensure the dam and sire don’t pass on any genetic conditions. Hence the reason the Kennel Club PAW survey of 2014 found that internet brought puppies were four times more likely to experience parvovirus (The Kennel Club, n.d).

The Blue Cross (2016) states that owners should be vigilant of the signs of parvovirus, as the virus attacks the intestinal cells of the dog, which stops nutrient absorption. This results in: “foul-smelling diarrhoea with blood in it, vomiting, loss of appetite, collapse, depression, fever and sudden death”. Vaccines are available, but there is no known cure as of yet. However, there are other possible signs that a dog has come from a puppy farm.

Emotionally these puppies lack social skills due to being locked in a cage with very little human and canine interaction other than their dam and siblings. This has been shown to cause higher amounts a fearfulness and aggression as confirmed by Howell, et al. (2015).

However, Pup Aid (n.d) is a campaign to try and prevent the use of puppy farms by establishing events to raise awareness such as “Where’s Mum”. The outlook for puppy farm dogs has improved with the use of a more conclusive act. Once consumers are educated in inhumane breeding practices and how they operate, the demand should reduce. This welfare issue once addressed will prevent many more dogs being affected.


BBC Three (2016) The Cost of Cute: The Dark Side of the Puppy Trade. [Accessed on 19 December 2016] http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04ksl5w.

Dailrer, M. (2016) How Much is That Doggie in the Window: The True Cost of Puppy Mills. Honours. Ball State University. Honours. Ball State University.

Howell, T., King, T. and Bennett, P. (2015) ‘Puppy parties and beyond: the role of early age socialization practices on adult dog behavior’. Veterinary Medicine: Research and Reports, 2015(6) pp.143-153.

ISPCA rescues 340 dogs and 11 horses from Carlow Puppy Farm following Closure Order. (2015) The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. [Online] [Accessed on 8 October 2016] http://www.ispca.ie/rescue_cases/detail/ispca_rescues_340_dogs_and_11_horses_from_carlow_puppy_farm_following_closu.

Parvovirus in dogs. (2016) Blue Cross. [Online] [Accessed on 19 December 2016] https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-advice/parvovirus-dogs.

Puppy Farming. (n.d.) Pup Aid. [Online] [Accessed on 8 October 2016] http://www.pupaid.org/puppy-farming/.

Puppy Farming: Campaigning to End this Cruel Practice. (n.d.) The Kennel Club. [Online] [Accessed on 7 October 2016] http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/our-resources/kennel-club-campaigns/puppy-farming/.