How Do I Become an Animal Physiotherapist?

Patti Kate

To become an animal physiotherapist, you should get some hands-on experience if possible. Being around pets and caring for them may be a good start, but you'll need formal training. You will see firsthand how physical therapy is performed on animals by working at a veterinary clinic. Ultimately, you will need to obtain a master's degree in animal physical therapy and rehabilitation.

Animal physiotherapists usually have a master's degree in animal physical therapy and rehabilitation.
Animal physiotherapists usually have a master's degree in animal physical therapy and rehabilitation.

Before you can become an animal physiotherapist, you should choose a college that offers specialized courses in physical rehabilitation therapy. Although the classes may specifically oriented for human health care, some courses may offer special training for animal physiotherapy as well. Before enrolling, speak with faculty and students to learn more about the courses.

Some animal physiotherapists treat livestock.
Some animal physiotherapists treat livestock.

It might help you to get an internship with your local animal shelter or sanctuary. Zoos may also offer internships for college students who are interested in becoming an animal physiotherapist. Although an apprenticeship may pay very little, the experience should help you in your effort to become an animal physiotherapist.

An animal physiotherapist may work in a veterinarian's office and eventually branch out in an independent practice.
An animal physiotherapist may work in a veterinarian's office and eventually branch out in an independent practice.

Depending upon where you reside, you'll most likely need to participate in a program and pass an examination to receive your license to become an animal physiotherapist. Some programs or courses could involve a two- or three-year commitment, so you will need patience and determination. Regulations and requirements may vary according to location, so you might want to check with local authorities for more details.

You also need to determine which species and breeds of animals you'd like to treat. You might want to treat all domestic animals and pets, or perhaps you'd like to specialize in one area. Some common specialties are dog physiotherapy and cat physiotherapy.

Physical therapy for animals is not limited to treatment of dogs and cats. To choose your specialty, consider your area of expertise. Perhaps you've raised birds for many years. This could make you an excellent candidate for becoming an animal physiotherapist who specializes in avian rehabilitation.

After you receive your degree and your license to treat animals, you will need to create a suitable resume. This should list all of your credentials and any pertinent information. Once your resume is perfected, apply to local animal clinics or organizations.

A veterinary physical therapist may work independently or within a veterinary hospital or practice. You might have to take a job with an established clinic before eventually branching out on your own. The experience you will receive working with other animal specialists can be invaluable.

Animal physiotherapists might have the opportunity to work with exotic animals at a zoo.
Animal physiotherapists might have the opportunity to work with exotic animals at a zoo.

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