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Level 6 Diploma in Veterinary Physiotherapy with Hydrotherapy

Ofqual Code .
Qualification Level 6
Award type Diploma
Equivalent to University Degree
Guided Learning Hours 1879
Enrolment will be valid for You have 3 years to complete your course.
Credits 458
Entry Criteria Learners must be at least 18 years of age to enrol. Learners must also have a Level 3 Diploma in Hydrotherapy (including treadmill unit – with either ABC/SEG), and prior experience within the industry. Learners must be able to access veterinary physiotherapy clinics to complete 800 hours of clinical practice.
Assessment Method You will be assessed via a combination of video and photo submissions, case studies, your supervisor will also need to provide witness testimonies.
Practical (mandatory) Learners need to attend 25 days of practical training and assessment (at one of our centres), PLUS complete 800 hours of clinical experience with a Physiotherapist that they need to find themselves. Once payment thresholds are met and the knowledge for the related subjects has been achieved the placement is booked on a 1:1 basis.
Certification Learners can expect their certification within 6 months of completing the course, following the (EQA) External Quality Assurance of assessment. All course fees, inclusive of all payment plans including our Premium Credit Limited option, must be settled before certification can be ordered.
Post Completion .

This course meets the Canine Hydrotherapy Association (CHA) membership requirements.

The Level 6 Diploma in Veterinary Physiotherapy with Hydrotherapy qualification will provide learners with a higher-level knowledge of small animal hydrotherapy and allow them to qualify as a veterinary physiotherapist, gaining the skills, knowledge and practical training required to treat animals both in and out of the water. The course content combines a sound knowledge base of anatomy and exercise physiology in animals along with occupational competence in providing excellent rehabilitation and physiotherapy care for a range of animals and conditions.

The units of this qualification have been carefully curated with the guidance of industry professionals to ensure that learners receive a rich knowledge base to equip them for a rewarding career in this industry. Learners will explore topics such as advanced neuro physiotherapy, understanding pain, physiotherapy techniques, professional skill, exercise prescription and rehabilitation. Learners will benefit from the higher-level hydrotherapy content which compliments the comprehensive physiotherapy content. Clinical reasoning and case reporting are also examined within this qualification and learners will gain valuable experience by completing 800 clinical practice hours.

This qualification is an excellent choice for students wishing to qualify as a Veterinary Physiotherapist. On successful completion of this qualification, learners can seek employment as veterinary physiotherapists and hydrotherapists, working to treat animals both in and out of the water. Alternatively, learners can seek employment in a specialist role within a wider practice setting. This qualification also ensures that learners are equipped with the professional skills needed to work as a self-employed Veterinary Physiotherapist.

The practical training will be conducted in small numbers split over the clinical spaces with a mix of live clients and practitioner animals to allow focused personal development. There will be time for reflective learning as well as larger group workshops. Learners will be actively hands-on in all aspects of running a busy practice and teaching approaches will be adapted to reflect learning styles. A range of practical dates are available. Learners attending the Canine Fitness Centre may be able to benefit from additional benefits and opportunities beyond the structured learning including business mentoring and opportunities with an experienced senior business executive, discounted access to an exercise prescription and client record app, and further clinical and behavioural experience with our partners.

Unit 1

Unit 1: Application of Advanced Hydrotherapy and Treadmill Techniques

Discover small animal hydrotherapy using advanced pool and treadmill techniques

Unit 2

Unit 2: Hydrotherapy Business Management and Branding

Develop knowledge on how to establish a hydrotherapy company

Learn how to manage a hydrotherapy business

Explore branding and marketing

Unit 3

Unit 3: Comprehensive Canine Nutrition

Discover the role of nutrients for canines and how they support bodily functions

Study the structure and function of the canine digestive system

Learn about the benefits of canine nutritional and diet

Unit 4

Unit 4: Common Medical Conditions that Benefit from Hydrotherapy

Explore orthopaedic and neurological conditions that may benefit from hydrotherapy treatment

Investigate how to manage small animals with these conditions

Unit 5

Unit 5: Feline Behaviour and Welfare in Hydrotherapy

Understand feline behaviour and handling in a hydrotherapy setting

Unit 6

Unit 6: Musculoskeletal System Anatomy and Terminology

Explore in detail the muscles and joints and their role within the skeletal system

Learn the anatomical terminology used in referrals

Unit 7

Unit 7: Comprehensive Canine Laser Therapy

Study canine laser therapy and the different types of class IV laser equipment

Explore the different types of wavelengths and their importance in laser therapy

Unit 8

Unit 8: Canine Musculoskeletal System and Physiotherapy Practice

Discover the structure and function of the canine musculoskeletal system

Study common orthopaedic conditions that are suitable for physiotherapy and the equipment required

Unit 9

Unit 9: Fundamentals of Land-Based Manual Therapy

Learn the importance of clinical reasoning of land-based manual exercise

Understand the risk and contraindications of land-based therapy

Study the reasons for integration and transfer of land to water-based therapy

Unit 10

Unit 10: Effective Maintenance and Water Management in Hydrotherapy Facilities

Develop the knowledge to maintain hydrotherapy pools and treadmills effectively

Understanding the potential risk and hazards of inadequate maintenance

Unit 11

Unit 11: Practical Skills and Programme Design in Small Animal Hydrotherapy

Study range of practical skills required in small animal hydrotherapy

Design and evaluate programmes for hydrotherapy and treadmill treatment plans

Unit 12

Unit 12: Management and Duty of Care in Hydrotherapy Centres

Learn the duty of care with running a hydrotherapy centre

Study the implications of health and disease and record-keeping in a hydrotherapy centre

Unit 13

Unit 13: Comprehensive Small Animal Massage

Explore small animal massage e and the impact on the anatomical structures of small animals

Examine the different types of small animal massage techniques

Understand the benefits for conditions experienced by small animals

Unit 14

Unit 14: Canine Body Language and Stress Management in Small Animal Hydrotherapy

Understand how to recognise and reduce stress during hydrotherapy

Learn the safe handling techniques to use on small animals

Unit 15

Unit 15: Gait Analysis and Clinical Reasoning

Study conducting gait analysis and recognising normal and abnormal gait patterns

Learn how to attribute these findings to a patient problem using clinical reasoning

Learn how to recognise abnormalities in gait which may form because of compensations

Unit 16

Unit 16: Palpation, Massage, Stretching, and Joint Mobilisation Techniques

Develop palpation skills and apply these skills to manual techniques

Learn skills to assess a patient before application, evaluate the response and the passive range of motion

Learn stretching techniques and joint mobilisations

Unit 17

Unit 17: Canine Nutrition and Health Optimisation

Analyse the content of commercial and home-cooked diets

Study the effects of obesity, weight reduction and how to assist owners

Study the nutritional requirements of a hospitalised patient

Learn how diet and health can affect the performance of the canine athlete

Unit 18

Unit 18: Canine Sports and Conditioning

Learn the common UK sports that dogs participate in

Discover canine conditioning and learn which injuries affect dogs participating in various sports

Understand the principles behind rehabilitating sporting dogs

Unit 19

Unit 19: Clinical Reasoning and Safe Application of Electrophysical Agents

Learn how to clinically reason which patients would benefit from electrophysical agents

Demonstrate the safe application of these therapies and know the contraindications and precautions

Unit 20

Unit 20: Business Development and Resilience

Develop business skills with web platforms and social media

Learn the VAT and the VAT registration process

Learn how to increase business profits and methods of expansion

Develop a knowledge of how to cope when running a business in the face of adversity

Unit 21

Unit 21: Customer Service Excellence in Physiotherapy

Develop excellent customer service skills during a physiotherapy service

Learn how to develop the right environment for patient and owner

Learn how to maintain professionalism and handling with complaints

Unit 22

Unit 22: Canine Athlete Assessment and Treatment Planning

Learn how to assess a canine athlete, create treatment goals based and then clinically reason treatment techniques

Evaluate an athlete canine's response to treatment, prepare them to return to function, and how to prevent re-injury

Unit 23

Unit 23: Effects of Injury and Physiotherapy Intervention to Aid Tissue Repair

Study the effects of damage to the musculoskeletal system

Study tissue response to injury, inflammation, regeneration, and repair

Unit 24

Unit 24: Lifelong Learning and Professional Growth in Animal Rehabilitation

Understand how lifelong learning can provide benefits to the animal rehabilitation industry

Develop methods of adopting lifelong learning and how to better succeed in a career and improve animal welfare

Unit 25

Unit 25: Biomechanical Principles in Rehabilitation and Conditioning

Study the principles of biomechanics and how this relates this to the functions of the MSK

Study the biomechanics of locomotion, described by kinetics and kinematics and application

Learn kinesiology in methods of rehabilitation and conditioning

Unit 26

Unit 26: Multidisciplinary Teamwork in Veterinary Care and Sport Medicine

Understand how a Multidisciplinary Teamwork (MDT) approach can benefit professionals and clients in vet and sport medicine

Understand the different roles in veterinary care and sport medicine

Unit 27

Unit 27: Strength and Conditioning in Animal Rehabilitation

Understand the use and the benefits of strength and conditioning exercises

Learn what level to start and develop an exercise program based on the patient’s response

Understand the contraindications for strength and conditioning exercises

Unit 28

Unit 28: Physical Principles and Patient Benefits of Electrical Therapies in Rehabilitation

Explore the physical principles behind electrical therapies

Learn about thermal therapies, therapeutic ultrasound, electrical stimulation including NMES and TENS, pulsed magnetic field therapy and shockwave therapy

Unit 29

Unit 29: Musculoskeletal and Systemic Responses to Strength Training and Conditioning

Study how the musculoskeletal system responds to strength and conditioning, at the cellular and a gross level

Discover different types of strength and conditioning training can have different effects on body tissues

Learn about the respiratory system, cardiovascular system, and haematological and biochemical systems

Unit 30

Unit 30: The Aging Process and Geriatric Patient Care

Explore how the ageing process affects the cells, organs, and musculoskeletal system

Investigate how diet and exercise can affect the ageing process

Understand which neurological and orthopaedic conditions commonly affect the geriatric patient

Learn how to assess, clinically reason treatment techniques for and how to adapt an exercise programme

Unit 31

Unit 31: Practical Application of Research Methodology

Explore methodology based on research questions

Understand what methods to use for different research questions and how to apply such methods in practice

Unit 32

Unit 32: Assessing and Monitoring Welfare in Small Animals

Learn how to assess the welfare needs of small animals particularly, dogs, cats, and rabbit

Discover how to monitor the health needs and care for dogs, cats, and rabbits

Understand the impact of stress and animal behaviour on animal welfare

Unit 33

Unit 33: Tissue Changes and Rehabilitation Effects

Study the changes in specific tissues following a period of immobilisation following injury

Understand how to remobilisation during rehabilitation

Discover the effects on tissue of specific conditions and their rehabilitation

Learn how to examine tissue response to both strength and endurance training

Unit 34

Unit 34: Cellular Anatomy, Injury, and Responses

Study the anatomical structures contained within the cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, and urinary systems.

Learn the impact of physiotherapy on the body

Unit 35

Unit 35: Understanding and Managing Patient Behaviour in Physiotherapy Sessions

Study the behavioural implications which may arise because of pain

Understand how a patient’s behaviour may change in response to fear

Learn how to deal with aggressive canine and feline patients

Discover how to use behavioural modification and training techniques to make the session a positive experience for the patient

Unit 36

Unit 36: Neurological Assessment and Management in Small Animal Physiotherapy

Gain a greater understanding of the anatomy of the central and peripheral nervous systems

Study spinal reflexes and the information they give about a patient’s neurological function

Learn how to perform a neurological exam on an animal patient

Unit 37

Unit 37: Clinical Practice in Veterinary Hydrotherapy and Physiotherapy

Undertake a minimum of 800 clinical practice hours across the duration of their training

This training will be supervised and will allow learners to observe and apply aspects of learning and practical skills required for the veterinary physiotherapy profession

Unit 38

Unit 38: Clinical Reasoning in Rehabilitation

Study the clinical reasoning in the rehabilitation setting and how clinical reasoning errors occur

Unit 39

Unit 39: Treatment Plans for the Rehabilitation of Common Musculoskeletal Injuries

Explore the common injuries which patients are referred for rehabilitation

Learn how to create treatment goals for patient rehabilitation.

Develop a hydrotherapy/ physiotherapy treatment plan for rehabilitation

Learn how to evaluate the response to a treatment plan for rehabilitation

Unit 40

Unit 40: Cellular Anatomy, Injury, and Responses

Discover the anatomical structure of the cell and the function of the components which make up the cell

Understand the causes of cellular damage and how different types of injury affect the cell in different ways

Unit 41

Unit 41: Individualised Exercise Prescription in Rehabilitation

Learn how to ensure the home environment is suitable for the patient

Learn how the stage of the healing affects the exercises prescribed

Learn how to develop an exercise prescription for a specific patient

Unit 42

Unit 42: Physiotherapy Techniques and Equipment

Discover the physiotherapy techniques that can be used for rehabilitation

Study the techniques and equipment that can be used to enhance patient strength, range, and balance

Unit 43

Unit 43: Principles of Rehabilitation in Canine and Feline Patients

Learn the principles and goals of rehabilitation

Study how differences in morphology can impact the rehabilitation of small animal patients

Explore the different rehabilitation settings in which therapies can take place

Unit 44

Unit 44: Professional Practice in Veterinary Hydrotherapy and Physiotherapy

Learn how to promote good practice in the veterinary hydrotherapy and veterinary physiotherapy setting

Study how to effectively use communication and codes of conduct relating to the industry

Unit 45

Unit 45: Ethics and Legislation in Professional Physiotherapy Practice

Examine the ethics and legislation surrounding professional rehabilitation practice

Learn about the professional membership for Physiotherapists

Unit 46

Unit 46: Research Project

Conduct a supervised project, and develop an understanding of how to formulate, conduct, analyse and present a project

Unit 47

Unit 47: Competent and Compassionate Animal Care in Veterinary Physiotherapy

Learn how to implement competent, compassionate, and safe animal handling

Study the health and safety precautions to deliver a safe service in physiotherapy

Understand the professional behaviour requirements for a Veterinary Physiotherapist

Learn how to keep professional records as a Physiotherapist and the importance of doing so

Unit 48

Unit 48: Developmental Considerations for the Juvenile Patient

Study the development of the skeleton and the skeletal differences which may exist amongst juvenile patients

Study conditions young patients are referred for rehabilitation for and understand the ways to adapt to their needs

Unit 49

Unit 49: Legislation and Ethics in Small Animal Care

Explore the ethics relating to small animals with a focus on dogs, cats, and rabbits

Explore different ethical viewpoints in small animal legislation

Unit 50

Unit 50: Advanced Case Study

Construct a 2500–3000-word case study about a particular patient and their treatment session

Unit 51

Unit 51: Pain Management in Veterinary Physiotherapy

Understand the physiological mechanisms surrounding pain and the complexity of managing chronic pain

Study how patient behaviour may be affected by pain

Learn the pharmaceuticals commonly prescribed by veterinary surgeons to treat pain


Hydrotherapy is a form of low impact therapeutic exercise that takes place in water, sometimes using an underwater treadmill. It is normally recommended as a treatment for chronic conditions, preparation and recovery from surgery, and for general fitness.

Water is an optimal environment for rehabilitation and the easing of pain. Water buoyancy supports movement and also ensures protection for joints and muscles. Animal patients who receive physical rehabilitation in water have shown a faster return to their normal function.

*You will have access to the course for 3 years.

Combining physical rehabilitation with hydrotherapy is well regarded and can be an invaluable addition to a veterinary practice. Working with a trained professional can ensure that aches and pains decrease and mobility is improved.

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