- Specialise in helping sick or injured animals improve their movement through physiotherapy techniques
- You'll need to be good with animals and have a good level of physical fitness
- Work for a single large practice, as a freelancer, or run your own practice
As a veterinary physiotherapist you'll carry out physiotherapy treatments on animals referred to you by a veterinary surgeon.
- Plan exercise programmes
- Use manual and electro-therapy methods to reduce pain and help with movement
- Apply massage and hydrotherapy techniques
- Give advice on changes to animals' environments
You might specialise in treating pets, working animals, farm, or zoo animals. You'll usually work in private practice, but you might also find work in large veterinary centres, universities or animal sports clinics. You might also offer animal massage or hydrotherapy.
Your hours will depend on your clients and their needs. You might carry out treatments in farm or stable yards, clients' homes, or in veterinary surgeries and hospitals.
You'll need excellent observation and communication skills, the ability to handle animals, organisational and administrative skills, the ability to work in a team and also use your own judgement.
You'll need a degree in veterinary physiotherapy or human physiotherapy that's approved by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. You'll then need to take a postgraduate course in veterinary physiotherapy, or a postgraduate Advanced Certificate in Veterinary Physiotherapy through Canine and Equine Physiotherapy Training.
Or you can start by doing a physiotherapist degree apprenticeship. You will then complete a postgraduate award in veterinary physiotherapy.
You'll normally need to have studied sciences (including biology) at A level or equivalent to gain a place on a veterinary physiotherapy programme.
As an alternative you could train in animal massage or animal hydrotherapy, if you do not have a degree but want to work in a related area.
The Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Animal Therapy (ACPAT) has more information on careers in veterinary physiotherapy.
The Institute of Registered Veterinary and Animal Physiotherapists (IRVAP) and the National Association of Veterinary Physiotherapists (NAVP) have information on careers and training in animal physiotherapy.
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.