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. Please click here for Qualification Guide
The units of this qualification, spread over 3 parts, 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 course 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 focussed 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.
Following completion of this qualification, learners are able to join membership organisations such as the Register of Animal Musculoskeletal Practitioners (RAMP) for which we have Accredited Education Provider Status, meaning upon successful completion, there would be no further evidence or training required to register with RAMP as a Veterinary Physiotherapist.
Advanced Pool and Treadmill Techniques
This unit focuses on conducting hydrotherapy sessions using advanced pool and treadmill techniques.
Business Management in Small Animal Hydrotherapy
Learners will develop knowledge of how to establish a hydrotherapy company. They will explore the importance of branding and marketing and learn how to manage hydrotherapy business accounts.
This unit looks at the role of nutrients for canines and how they support bodily functions. Learners will study the structure and function of the canine digestive system and understand what nutritional benefits the canine diet provides.
Conditions and Surgical Procedures in Small Animals
Learners will explore common orthopaedic and neurological conditions that may benefit from hydrotherapy treatment. Learners will investigate how to manage small animals with these conditions.
Feline Behaviour, Nutrition and Handling
This unit examines common feline behaviour and how to to handle felines correctly and safely in a hydrotherapy setting.
Higher Anatomy and Physiology
Learners will explore in detail the muscles and joints, and their role within the skeletal system. Learners will become familiar with the anatomical terminology used in referrals.
Introduction to Canine Laser Therapy
This unit looks at canine laser therapy and the different types of class IV laser equipment. Learners will explore the different types of wavelengths and their importance in laser therapy. They will also learn about the types of conditions in small animals that will benefit from laser therapy and understand the health and safety responsibilities of a laser therapist.
Introduction to Small Animal Physiotherapy
This unit covers the structure and function of the canine musculoskeletal system. Learners will look at common orthopaedic conditions that are suitable for physiotherapy and discover the professional duties of a physiotherapist and the range of equipment required.
Land Based Exercise for Small Animals
Learners will study the importance of clinical reasoning of land based manual exercise. Learners will also investigate the risk and contraindications of basic land-based therapy and the reasons for integration and transfer of land to water based therapy.
Pool and Treadmill Operations and Water Management
Learners will develop the knowledge to maintain hydrotherapy pools and treadmills effectively, along with understanding the potential risk and hazards of inadequate maintenance.
Practical Skills in Small Animal Hydrotherapy
Learners will study a range of practical skills required in small animal hydrotherapy. Learners will have the opportunity to design and evaluate plans and programmes for hydrotherapy and treadmill treatment plans.
Professional Practice in a Hydrotherapy Centre
This unit looks at what ‘duty of care’ means in relation to running a hydrotherapy centre. Learners will study the implications health and disease have in a hydrotherapy centre and the importance of accurate record keeping.
Small Animal Massage Therapy
This unit explores what small animal massage entails and the impact on the anatomical structures of small animals. Learners will have the opportunity to examine the different types of small animal massage technique and understand the benefits for certain conditions experienced by small animals.
Stress and Small Animal Hydrotherapy
This unit covers how to recognise signs of stress during small animal hydrotherapy. Learners will understand how to reduce stress during hydrotherapy and understand the safe handling techniques to be used on small animals.
Advanced Gait Assessment
This unit looks at conducting gait analysis and recognising normal and abnormal gait patterns. Learners will be able to attribute these findings to a patient problem using clinical reasoning. The learner should also be able to recognise abnormalities in gait which may form as a result of compensations.
Advanced Massage Techniques
This unit gives learners an opportunity to develop their palpation skills, and be able to apply these skills to manual techniques. They will be able to use palpation skills to assess a patient before application of massage, and evaluate the response to massage techniques, including passive range of motion. Learners will also develop their knowledge of stretching techniques and joint mobilisations.
Advanced Canine Nutrition
This unit focuses on how to analyse the composition and calorific content of commercial and home cooked diets. Learners will study the prevalence and effects of obesity, and know what methods are available for weight reduction and how to assist owners with this. Learners will also look at the nutritional requirements of a hospitalised patient and how diet and health can affect performance of the canine athlete.
Analysis of Sporting Activities
This unit looks at the common sports which dogs participate in within the UK. Learners will investigate the importance of conditioning and learn which injuries affect dogs participating in various sports. Learners will also look at the principles behind rehabilitating sporting dogs.
Application of Electrophysical Agents
The aim of this unit is for learner to be able to clinically reason which patients would benefit from the following electrophysical agents: thermal therapies, therapeutic ultrasound, electrical stimulation and pulsed magnetic therapies. They will be able to demonstrate the safe application of these therapies, and know what contraindications there are for each one, and precautions to take when considering application.
Business Management for Small Animal Rehabilitation Practitioners
Learners will have the opportunity to develop their business skills by developing their knowledge about web platforms and social media. They will understand VAT and the VAT registration process. They will understand how to develop the business using strategizing, how to increase business profits and understand methods for expansion. They will develop a knowledge of how to cope when running a business in the face of adversity.
Customer Service for Small Animal Rehabilitation Practitioners
Learners will be able to use the skills they have learned to deliver excellent customer service during application of their physiotherapy service. This includes developing the right environment for the patient and owner, excellent use of communication skills, maintaining professionalism and dealing with complaints.
Hydrotherapy and Physiotherapy Programmes for the Canine Athlete
This unit focuses on how to assess a canine athlete, how to create treatment goals based on these assessment findings and then clinically reason treatment techniques which should be selected to form a treatment plan on the basis of these findings. The learner will be able to evaluate the sporting dog’s response to treatment, prepare them to return to function, and know how best to prevent re-injury in these patients.
Injury and Tissue Repair
This unit looks at the effects of damage to the musculoskeletal system caused by injury at a cellular, tissue and gross level. The learner will study the tissue response to injury by the process of inflammation, regeneration and repair and how physiotherapy techniques can be applied to specific conditions to facilitate recovery.
Lifelong Learning Skills and Understanding
This unit explores the importance of lifelong learning and the benefits it can provide to the individual and also to the animal rehabilitation industry. Learners will develop methods of adopting lifelong learning and they will also develop their understanding skills to better succeed in their career and to improve animal welfare.
Mechanical Locomotion and Kinesiology
This unit looks at the principles of biomechanics and how this relates this to the functions of the MSK. Learners will study the biomechanics of locomotion, described by kinetics and kinematics and look at the application of kinesiology in methods of rehabilitation and in conditioning.
Learners will understand how a Multidisciplinary Teamwork (MDT) approach can benefit professionals and clients in veterinary care and sport medicine. Learners will develop an understanding of the MDT approach and how this approach has changed human health care. An understanding of the different roles in veterinary care and sport medicine will also be developed.
Practical Application of Strength and Conditioning Exercises
This unit investigates the benefits of strength and conditioning exercises and their use. Learners will look at which specific exercises can be used for strength and conditioning, their benefits and application. Learners will understand at what level to start an exercise program, and know how to develop the patient based on their response. They will understand the contraindications for strength and conditioning and the precautions they need to be aware of when undertaking these exercises.
Principles of Electrophysical Agents
This unit studies the physical principles behind, patients benefit of, and indications for the following electrical therapies: thermal therapies, therapeutic ultrasound, electrical stimulation including NMES and TENS, pulsed magnetic field therapy and shockwave therapy.
Principles of Strength Training and Cardiovascular Conditioning
This unit looks at how the musculoskeletal system responds to strength and conditioning, at a cellular and a gross level. Learners will consider how the different types of strength and conditioning training can have different effects on the tissues. They will know how other body systems responds to strength and conditioning including the respiratory system, cardiovascular system and haematological and biochemical systems.
Rehabilitation of the Geriatric Patient
This unit explores how the aging process affects the cells, organs, musculoskeletal system and other body systems. Learners will investigate the ways in which diet and exercise can affect the aging process. The learner will understand which neurological and orthopaedic conditions commonly affect the geriatric patient, and how to assess, clinically reason treatment techniques for and adapt an exercise programme in order to suit the geriatric patient.
Learners will explore choices of methodology based on research questions. Learners will also understand what methods are most suitable for different research questions and how to apply such methods in practice.
Small Animal Welfare
Learners will learn about how to assess the welfare needs of small animals particularly dogs, cats and rabbits. Learners will be able to monitor the health needs and care for dogs, cats and rabbits. Furthermore, learners will understand the impact of stress and animal behaviour on animal welfare.
Tissue Response to Exercise and Training
Learners will study the changes in specific tissues following a period of immobilisation following injury and then remobilisation during rehabilitation. Learners will look at the effects on tissue of specific conditions and their rehabilitation, along with examining tissue response to both strength and endurance training.
Advanced Anatomy and Physiology
This unit covers the anatomical structures contained within the cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, and urinary systems, including the functions and physiology of each of the systems. The impact of physiotherapy on the body is also examined in this unit.
Advanced Canine and Feline Behaviour
Learners will study the behavioural implications which may arise as a result of pain and understand how a patient’s behaviour may change in response to fear. The unit also looks at how to deal with aggressive canine and feline patients and how to use behavioural modification and training techniques to make the session a positive experience for the patient.
Advanced Neuro Physiotherapy
In this unit, learners will gain a greater understanding of the anatomy of the central and peripheral nervous systems. The unit looks at spinal reflexes and the information they give about a patient’s neurological function. Learners will study how to perform a full neurological exam on a small animal patient.
Learners will 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.
This unit looks at clinical reasoning in the rehabilitation setting and how clinical reasoning errors occur.
Hydrotherapy and Physiotherapy Programmes for Rehabilitation of the Injured Patient
Learners will have the opportunity to explore the common injuries which patients are referred for rehabilitation for and learn how to create treatment goals for patient rehabilitation. The unit looks at how to develop a hydrotherapy/ physiotherapy treatment plan for rehabilitation patient and how to evaluate the response to a treatment plan for rehabilitation.
This unit covers the anatomical structure of the cell and the function of the components which make up the cell. Learners will examine the causes of cellular damage and how different types of injury affect the cell in different ways.
Physiotherapy Exercise Prescription
Learners will study how to ensure the home environment is suitable for the patient. The unit will look at how the stage of healing affects the exercises prescribed and how to develop an exercise prescription for a specific patient.
This unit focusses on the different physiotherapy techniques which can be used for rehabilitation. Learners will look at what techniques and equipment can be used to enhance patient strength, range and balance during a physiotherapy session.
Principles and Practise of Rehabilitation
This unit looks at the principles and goals of rehabilitation. Learners will study how differences in morphology can impact on the rehabilitation of small animal patients. Learners will also have the opportunity to consider the different rehabilitation settings in which therapies can take place.
Professional Practice Including Communication and Conduct
Learners will develop an understanding of professional practice and how to promote good practice in the veterinary hydrotherapy and veterinary physiotherapy setting. Learners will study how to effectively use communication and codes of conduct relating to the industry.
Professional Practice for Veterinary Physiotherapists
Learners will examine the ethics and legislation surrounding professional rehabilitation practice. The unit will also look at professional membership for physiotherapists.
Through conducting a supervised project, learners will develop an understanding of how to formulate, conduct, analyse and present a project.
Professional Skills for Veterinary Physiotherapists
This unit focusses on how to implement competent, compassionate and safe animal handling, including what health and safety precautions must be undertaken to deliver a safe physiotherapy service. Learners will understand the professional behaviour requirements for a veterinary physiotherapist and how to keep professional records as a physiotherapist and the importance of doing so.
Rehabilitation of the Juvenile Patient
This unit covers the development of the skeleton, and the skeletal differences which may exist amongst juvenile patients, taking into account the exercise considerations for skeletally immature animals. Learners will look at the common conditions juvenile patients are referred for rehabilitation for and understand the ways to adapt the rehabilitation session for the juvenile patient.
Small Animal Ethics and Legislation
Learners will explore ethics relating to small animals with a focus on dogs, cats, and rabbits. Learners will explore different ethical viewpoints, sentience and be able to relate these topics to small animal legislation.
Treatment Case Study
Learner will construct a 2500–3000-word case study about a particular patient and their treatment session.
Learners will have the opportunity to understand the physiological mechanisms surrounding pain and the complexity of managing chronic pain. Learners will also look at how patient behaviour may be affected by pain and the pharmaceuticals commonly prescribed by veterinary surgeons to treat pain.
A Career in Veterinary Physiotherapy
Veterinary physiotherapists work alongside other veterinary staff to provide treatment for animals presenting with a range of conditions. Some physiotherapists focus on the equine sports industry, specifically racing and other sporting disciplines. Others choose to work independently, setting up their own businesses to work with horses, dogs and other small animals.
A veterinary referral for physiotherapy can help animals to recover from a range of conditions such as:
- back pain
- sporting injuries
- post surgery recovery
- improving biomechanics and athletic ability
The use of physiotherapy within the veterinary sphere is increasing. Animals can undergo a variety of treatments such as:
- manual techniques
- exercise therapy
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.
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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