Veterinary physiotherapist

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Animal physiotherapist

Veterinary physiotherapists work with injured animals, or animals with movement problems, to help reduce pain and improve their health.

Salary Range: £18,500 to £65,000

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You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • specialist courses run by private training organisations
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You’ll need one of the following qualifications:

  • a degree in veterinary physiotherapy
  • a degree in human physiotherapy, approved by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, and a postgraduate course in veterinary physiotherapy
  • a postgraduate Advanced Certificate in Veterinary Physiotherapy through Canine and Equine Physiotherapy Training

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
  • 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including biology for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
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You can start by doing a physiotherapist degree apprenticeship. You will then complete a postgraduate award in veterinary physiotherapy.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, preferably including biology, for a degree apprenticeship
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Other routes

You could train in animal massage or animal hydrotherapy, if you do not have a degree but want to work in a related area.

You can get more details about training from the:

  • Equine Massage Association
  • National Association of Registered Canine Hydrotherapists
  • Canine Massage Therapy Centre

More information

Professional and industry bodies

You can join the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Animal Therapy for professional development and training opportunities.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a veterinary physiotherapist from:

  • The Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Animal Therapy
  • National Association of Veterinary Physiotherapists
  • The Institute of Registered Veterinary and Animal Physiotherapists
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Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • sensitivity and understanding
  • to enjoy working with other people
  • customer service skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • analytical thinking skills
  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • knowledge of psychology
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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Day-to-day tasks

On a day-to-day basis you’ll be:

  • planning exercise programmes
  • using manual and electro-therapy methods to reduce pain and help with movement
  • applying massage and hydrotherapy techniques
  • giving advice on changes to animals’ environments

Working environment

You could work at a veterinary practice or at a university.

Your working environment may be physically demanding.

You may need to wear a uniform.

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With experience, you could become a senior physiotherapist, or a specialist physiotherapist for breathing conditions or problems affecting the nervous system.

You could also set up your own animal physiotherapy practice or move into research.