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Companion Animal Practice
Physiotherapy in small animal practice
  1. Brian Sharp

    Brian Sharp qualified as a physiotherapist in 1992, and worked for 14 years in human health care. In 2004 he graduated from the Royal Veterinary College with an MSc in veterinary physiotherapy and established a small animal physiotherapy practice in Middlesex. He currently has an advisory and clinical role at the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals, and also runs a physiotherapy clinic for a local veterinary practice. He is a member of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Animal Therapy.

Abstract

THE benefits of physiotherapy and rehabilitation for small animals have been increasingly recognised over recent years, and although some practices have adopted and integrated physiotherapy, there is great variation in the quality and quantity of the physiotherapy on offer. Physiotherapy is often perceived as an alternative therapy, whereas it is in fact complementary to conventional veterinary treatment and best used in collaboration with it. The non-specialist vet and nurse can easily provide simple physiotherapy techniques in-house, and having qualified veterinary physiotherapists on-site, or available via referral, provides an additional valuable resource for the practice. The provision of physiotherapy can also promote a very positive, caring image to clients, as well as improving outcomes for animals following injury or surgery. This article explores the benefits of integrating physiotherapy and rehabilitation into small animal practice, and describes the various techniques and skills that the qualified physiotherapist can bring to the veterinary team. It examines the concerns of the reluctant practitioner to introduce physiotherapy practices, and offers suggestions for effective integration and collaborative working.

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