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Animal Physiotherapy Foundation Programme

Online Course: Animal Physiotherapy Foundation Programme

Enhance your animal patients' outcomes with an evidence-based approach to assessment and management

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Course instructor:

Animal Physiotherapy Group of South Africa

Animal Physiotherapy Interest Group of the South African Society of Physiotherapy

30-32 hours

Summarising the latest research & evidence

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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.

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