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What to expect when your animal has physiotherapy


Firstly, some general points


  1. Costs: First appointment - £60; subsequent appointments - £45.

  2. Online consultations - are also available, including advice and support on home care and exercise programmes and links to video exercises. You are welcome to contact me for more information.

  3. How many times will my animal need to be seen? The frequency of sessions will depend on your pet’s condition. Based on the first consultation, you will be advised about the expected number of appointments and how you can apply home care programmes.

  4. Veterinary Consent - It is a legal requirement for veterinary physiotherapists to gain consent from your vet prior to treating your animal. A referral form can be downloaded here.

  5. Insurance – please check directly with your insurance provider to find out if your cover includes veterinary physiotherapy.


Your first appointment

This will last approximately one hour and will include an assessment as well as treatment. We want to allow your pet time to adjust to a new environment and not rush through treatments. This initial session will include a thorough discussion of your pet's mobility needs and challenges, pain assessment, dietary intake, complete functional and movement evaluation, a therapeutic exercise evaluation (modalities chosen will vary from patient to patient) and a homework plan as well as the expected outcomes of any treatment.


Initial patient evaluation/assessment process

Prior to developing and implementing an appropriate treatment plan, the physiotherapist will first conduct a patient evaluation – specific to the small animal or equine patient. A physiotherapist’s clinical reasoning forms the basis of this evaluation process and is based on experience and a knowledge of anatomy, biomechanics and pathologies, etc. 


The process includes the following


  1. Case History - we will discuss any relevant medical history (vet notes), including how the injury or condition came about, any behaviour changes, the general lifestyle of the animal, current exercise routine, diet and home environment, etc.

  2. Observational Assessment - this is a full bio-mechanical assessment which includes looking at things like how the animal is standing, walking, trotting and turning. When assessing a horse or pony it may also be beneficial to view the horse being lunged or ridden.

  3. Hands-on/Manual Assessment - refined palpation skills will be used to physically examine muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons in order to identify any areas of dysfunction, imbalance, restrictions or pain.

  4. Treatment - after a thorough examination and interpretation of findings, the most appropriate physiotherapy techniques will be selected in order to tailor treatment to your pet’s needs. This may include the use of skilled hands-on therapy such as mobilisation, manipulation, massage and trigger-point release; electrotherapy treatments; myofascial release techniques; stretching and mobility exercise

  5. Home care programmes - are an integral part of veterinary rehabilitation therapy. You will be given demonstrations and detailed advice about exercises and the correct application of stretching techniques to improve the rehabilitation process. This will include advice on how you can adapt your pet’s environment to expedite their comfort and healing, especially relevant for elderly animals or those with long term chronic health issues e.g. osteoarthritis.

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