Online Course
Animal Physiotherapy Foundation Programme
Enhance your animal patients' outcomes with an evidence-based approach to assessment and management

36-38 hours





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Animal Physiotherapy Interest Group of the South African Society of Physiotherapy

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Animal physiotherapy is a well-established branch of physiotherapy, with active professional associations in this field of practice existing since 1985. The physiotherapist can play an important role in promoting animal health and 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 patients in terms of 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.


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.


This course is made up of videos, reading, forum posts and a final quiz. The course content is split into the following sections:

  1. Introduction to Animal Physiotherapy
  2. Ethology for Physiotherapists - Patient Communication and Safety
  3. Assessment of the Small Animal Patient
  4. Assessment of the Equine Patient
  5. Comparative Animal Physiotherapy Modalities
  6. Managing Disorders of the Canine Front Limb
  7. Managing Disorders of the Canine Hind Limb
  8. Managing Disorders of the Canine Spine
  9. Anatomy and Common Injuries of the Equine Forelimb
  10. Physiotherapy Assessment and Treatment of the Equine Forelimb
  11. Managing Disorders of the Equine Hind Limb
  12. Assessment and Management of the Equine Spine
  13. Applied Animal Physiotherapy Ethics

Target audience

This course is aimed at Physiotherapy and Physical Therapy clinicians, students and assistants. Other interested professionals such as athletic trainers, occupational therapists, nurses or medical doctors interested in this subject are also invited to participate.


Availability - this course is online and can be completed on your own schedule.

Hours of Learning - No deadlines are applied to this course and it can be started and completed in your own time according to your personal schedule. We expect the required elements to take around 36-38 hours depending on your schedule and learning style. Additionally, there are many optional resources provided and if you choose to review these the course could take longer to complete.

Types of Activities - Watching videos, reading, a final quiz and participating in an international discussion forum.

Certificates - At the end of the course, when you have completed all of the required elements, you will be able to download a certificate of completion and 36 Plus points will be added to your personalised learning dashboard.

Requirements to complete this course

In order to complete this programme of courses and receive a course completion certificate plus CEUs/CCUs/CPD points you will need to:

  1. Respect the Plus Community Culture.
  2. Log all the required learning activities as complete (represented by the orange icons!).
  3. Actively and appropriately participate in the course discussions.
  4. Complete each of the required courses
  5. Submit a written assignment that meets and passes the assessment criteria.
  6. Complete a course evaluation form.


For special needs or accommodations please contact us with details of how we can meet your needs.

Featured reviews
I am so excited to put this new scope into my practice. It is a fascinating field! There are some aspects that I will be able to translate into my human practice as it has revived some "forgotten knowledge" that comes with working in one field for too long!
Lauren Porter
South Africa