The College of Animal Physiotherapy


Giraffe with Hot Air Balloon

As with any job there are some politics surrounding animal/veterinary physiotherapy.  Who can and can't practice, what you need to do before training, which association is better.....  Unfortunately, there is some misleading information on the web and it can all be very confusing.  In fact, the truth is quite simple, so here we aim to clear up the confusion:

Q) What is the difference between animal physiotherapy and veterinary physiotherapy?

A) Purely the title.  Animal physiotherapy and veterinary physiotherapy is essentially the same profession.  Recently people have started to use the title "veterinary physiotherapist" but "animal physiotherapist" is the original title and we choose to stick with it for a number of reasons.  The main reason is that we consider the title "veterinary" to be the domain of the vets and vet nurses highly qualified to carry out veterinary medicine.  That being said a graduate of our college has as much right to use the title veterinary physiotherapist as a graduate of any other programme.

Q) Do you have to be a human physiotherapist before training as an animal physiotherapist?

A) No.  There is not, nor has there ever been, any legal requirement to be a human physiotherapist in order to work as an animal physiotherapist.  In the same way that vets do not have to be doctors and vet nurses do not have to be medical nurses, animal physiotherapists do not have to be human physiotherapists.  Human physiotherapy is not a prerequisite to our course, however we are happy to train human physiotherapists if their animal background is strong enough.

Q) I have seen the title "chartered animal/veterinary physiotherapist" who are they?

A) Chartered veterinary physiotherapist?  There is no such thing.  Although this title has been employed by some practitioners there is actually no such title as "chartered animal physiotherapist" or "chartered veterinary physiotherapist".  The Charter is purely related to the human physiotherapy field and has no bearing on animal physiotherapy

Q) Are some animal/veterinary physiotherapists officially registered or regulated by the RCVS?

A) No. There is no official register for animal/veterinary physiotherapists, nor is there any intention by the RCVS to create one.  Chartered physiotherapists are registered but once again this is in their capacity as a human physiotherapist and not as an animal physiotherapist.  If you see an animal physiotherapist use the term "registered" or "regulated" this would be with their own association and not with or by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. There is also no official recognition given by the RCVS to any animal physiotherapy course or association even though in the past there have been some misleading statements made such as "RCVS approved".

Q) Is physiotherapist a protected title?

A) Yes, in the human field.  No, in the animal sector. "Prefixes such as ‘animal’, ‘equine’, ‘veterinary’ or ‘industrial’ show there is no intention to deceive because the prefix clearly indicates that the person concerned does not treat human beings" ( So, it is true that anyone can use the title "animal physiotherapist or veterinary physiotherapist" regardless of their training.  However, all animal physiotherapy is carried out under veterinary referral and it would be unusual for a vet to refer to an unqualified animal physiotherapist. In the rare case that a veterinary surgeon has asked to see the quality of the training undertaken by a graduate from The College of Animal Physiotherapy, it has always been accepted and lead to a referral.

Q) And what about the hot air?

A) Unfortunately, others sometimes employ the tactic of "hot air" to attempt to put themselves above their rivals.  There have been misleading statements relating to the membership to certain associations setting you in a more assured position for employment and recognition. As explained above these statements are unfounded and quite frankly a little underhand! At the College of Animal Physiotherapy we do not employ such tactics.  The facts are the facts and we stick to them.  Every statement we make can be backed up by the relevant authorities or paperwork.

We hope this answers any questions you may have. If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact us.

Life as an Animal Physiotherapist

Life as an Animal Physiotherapist involves working under Veterinary referral to provide treatment and rehabilitation for animals. Animal Physiotherapy is an exciting and rewarding career. The most essential requirement is that you have a natural affinity with animals. find out more

Why Train with Us?

We are the original route of training for animal physiotherapy. In the past couple of years, some new courses have come to the market. So why should you choose to train with us? find out more

We currently have over 200 students worldwide.

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