Animal Physiotherapy Courses | Available on Physioplus

Physioplus has teamed up with the Animal Health Group of South Africa to provide you with the most comprehensive programme of courses for animal physiotherapists anywhere online. 

This programme provides you with knowledge of the similarities and differences between human and non-human physiotherapy patients through an exploration of the behaviour, anatomy, biomechanics, pathology and aetiology of common conditions seen in animal practice.

It builds on the existing training of qualified physiotherapists and provides the theoretical underpinning of animal physiotherapy practice. It should be undertaken in conjunction with a practical training programme in order to adequately prepare you for a career in animal physiotherapy.

The Tutors

The Animal Physiotherapy Group of South Africa has been the leading provider of animal physiotherapy services in South Africa since its inception in 1986. As a founding member of the International Association of Physical Therapists in Animal Therapy, the APGSA continues to play an active role in the implementation of translational physiotherapy across species. The APGSA prides itself on high standards of evidence-based physiotherapy practice in the field of animal healthcare, and advocates for the physical rehabilitation of animals in a One Health context.

As physiotherapists with a foundation in human medicine, APGSA members understand that domesticated animals and humans function within a shared context, and successful management of animal pain and dysfunction requires an approach that addresses the bioethological function of each human-animal dyad. The APGSA provides continuing education and support to its members through training, workshops and conferences.



The Programme

Animal Physiotherapy Foundation Programme
Animal physiotherapy is a well-established branch of physiotherapy, with active professional associations since 1985. The physio is essential in promoting animal health & wellness. However, the ability to be both safe and effective as an animal physiotherapist depends on a deep understanding of the differences between human and non-human anatomy, biomechanics, assessment and treatment approaches. The treatment of animals brings with it unique challenges, and the safety of the physiotherapist, the patient and the animal’s handler is paramount. This foundation course will equip the qualified physiotherapist with the theoretical basis to translate their knowledge and skills to an animal patient population.

Enhance Your Animal Patient Outcomes

The 13 Courses Broken Down

The 13 courses cover a wide range of topics and animals and can be broken down into three areas:

  1. Introductory & Core Skills
  2. Canine Physiotherapy
  3. Equine Physiotherapy

You can find out more about each course below.

Four Introductory and Core Skills Courses

Introduction to Animal Physiotherapy
Animal physiotherapy is an area of physiotherapy practice that is gaining momentum. It aims to optimise the performance and function of animals, and to prevent injuries. The first example of a physiotherapist treating animals was in 1939 and, since then, animal physiotherapy has continued to evolve. It is now recognised as an official subgroup of the World Confederation of Physical Therapy. This course discusses the development of animal physiotherapy as a profession, and explores research that validates the use of conventional physiotherapy methods to address pain and dysfunction in animals.

Delve into the World of Veterinary PT

Ethology for Physiotherapists – Patient Communication and Safety
When working with animals, it is essential to understand their basic behaviours. If you are able to interpret signs of anxiety, fear, pain or discomfort, you will be better able to ensure your personal safety, as well as the safety of animals in your care and other bystanders. The purpose of this course is to introduce you to the science of equine and canine behaviour, communication and learning strategies, as well as safety considerations, to enhance your animal practice.

Understand the Science of Animal Behaviour

Comparative Animal Physiotherapy Modalities
A number of electrotherapeutic modalities and manual techniques used on human patients are clinically proven to be effective on animals as well. This course introduces the use of these treatments in an animal setting. It includes specific tricks to ensure you can apply these techniques effectively and precautions that must be considered when working with animals.

Hone Your Electrotherapy & Manual Therapy Skills

Applied Animal Physiotherapy Ethics
In animal practice, there is a three-way relationship between the veterinary practitioner, the animal owner and the patient. Veterinary professionals are required to provide appropriate care to their patients, but they also have legal, moral and ethical obligations to their clients. Issues may arise which cause conflict between the animal physiotherapist and client, particularly when there are breakdowns in communication. Explores some of the major causes of conflict between healthcare workers and clients, as well as suggesting ways to strengthen these relationships.

The Law & Ehics That Govern Vetinary Heathcare

Four Canine Courses

Assessment of the Small Animal Patient
The purpose of any physiotherapy assessment is to gain relevant information about a patient in order to determine the most appropriate intervention. Many domains need to be evaluated, from gait to functional tasks, range of motion, strength, and motor control. The assessment of the canine patient is no different – the animal physiotherapist must conduct a thorough assessment to identify all primary and secondary impairments that are affecting a dog’s quality of life. However, they must also consider the impact of the owner’s beliefs and expectations on the physiotherapy intervention. This course explores in detail the orthopaedic and neurological assessment of the canine patient.

Dog Assessments!

Managing Disorders of The Canine Front Limb
Canine patients are prone to several structural and functional pathologies of the front limb, including both developmental and acquired conditions. These dysfunctions can have a significant impact on a dog’s ability to lead a pain-free life. This course discusses the relevant anatomy and pathophysiology of front limb problems that are regularly encountered in canine practice, before exploring their diagnosis and management.

Enhance Your Canine Clients Outcomes

Managing Disorders of the Canine Hind Limb
Hind limb lameness is more common in canine patients than forelimb lameness. There are many different causes of lameness, from acute injuries to chronic, degenerative conditions. While dogs of all ages, breeds and sizes can develop hind limb lameness, the prevalence of specific conditions varies across species. This course explores the aetiology of a number of different hind limb conditions, including pelvic fracture, hip dysplasia and cranial cruciate ligament disease, before discussing their overall management.

Use EBP to Treat Hind Limb Lameness

Managing Disorders of the Canine Spine
Spinal pain is a common presenting complaint in canine patients. There are over 40 different diseases that affect the spine in dogs, a number of which cause similar symptoms. Accurate diagnosis can, therefore, be challenging. This course will explore some of the more common spinal conditions that you may encounter in small animal practice, discussing epidemiology, pathophysiology and diagnosis. Management strategies for each of these conditions will also be discussed.

Use EBP to Manage the Canine Spine

Five Equine Courses

Assessment of the Equine Patient
Animal physiotherapists are now a recognised part of the wider team that assesses and treats equine athletes and their riders. Physiotherapists do not need to identify a pathoanatomical diagnosis to develop management plans for their equine patients. They do, however, need to be able to conduct a thorough assessment, so that they can identify any dysfunctions or impairments that may be contributing to a horse’s specific problem.

Get Better Results with Your Horse Patients

Anatomy and Common Injuries of the Equine Forelimb
The equine forelimb is designed to ensure that horses can run fast. The forelimb carries approximately 55 to 60 percent of the horse’s weight and supports a large part of the rider’s weight as well. Forelimb injuries and lameness can, therefore, be a significant issue for equine athletes and their owners. This course, the first of two courses on the equine forelimb, will introduce key anatomical features of the front limb and then discuss some common injuries that can cause issues in horses.

An In-depth Understanding of Forefoot Lameness

Physiotherapy Assessment and Treatment of the Equine Forelimb
While physiotherapists do not often play a significant role in the management of forelimb injuries in horses, equine therapists must still have a detailed understanding of the front limb. This will enable them to determine if referral to the veterinarian is necessary and to identify any compensatory dysfunctions that may respond to physiotherapy input. This course, the second of two courses on the equine forelimb, will introduce the fundamentals of the physiotherapy assessment and management of horses who have front limb dysfunction.

An In-depth Understanding of Forefoot Lameness

Managing Disorders of the Equine Hind Limb
Hind limb lameness can have a significant impact on the performance and quality of life of equine patients. Equine therapists must have an in-depth understanding of the anatomy and common dysfunctions of the hind limb in order to enhance their patients’ long-term outcomes. This course will, therefore, discuss relevant anatomy and pathology, before introducing treatment techniques that can be used to manage dysfunction of the hind limb in equine patients.

An In-depth Understanding of Pelvic Limb Dysfunction

Assessment and Management of the Equine Spine
Back pain and dysfunction can lead to poor performance and cause alterations in a horse’s spinal kinematics. It can, however, be difficult to diagnose the exact cause of dysfunction in horses as subjective information can be limited, limb and spine issues can be interrelated and other external factors, such as the rider and saddle fit, can have a significant impact on a horse’s movement. All of these factors must be considered in the assessment of horses who present with back pain in order to develop the optimal management plan.

Confidently Assess & Treat Horses with Back Pain