Training of Veterinary Physiotherapists

Animals deserve the same high quality professional treatment that people do.  Surely that is not a controversial statement?  So who can answer the question “why are undergraduate veterinary physiotherapy students not receiving the same clinical education that undergraduate human physiotherapy students are receiving?”  Please feel free to post your views on this blog.  

Human physio students receive 1000 hours (approx 39 weeks) of in-clinic tuition and experience under supervision.  So how come some colleges are only going to deliver approximately 30 hours of in-clinic tuition (for all species) to those who are going to treat animals?  And, the very maximum they deliver is 30 days.  By my calculation that is 930 hours and 34 weeks short of becoming a competent veterinary physiotherapist.  Would you trust someone to treat your animal who has had so little clinical tuition?

This week, I made a stand and contacted the Veterinary Times (the veterinary industry newspaper) and they have been kind enough to support me.   Physio article



  1. I also think that is a big problem. I am a professional rider and at the moment trying to find out the best way to become a equine physiotherapist. It is not easy! There are different programmes but do they really qualify you? Can you work everywhere with that degree? Will the vets accept you? Is the education worth the money you have to put in? How do you get the important experience?

    • Gail Williams says:

      All very good points, and at the moment there are no clear answers Laura. I will give you the same advice as I give all potential students. Wait……..wait until the regulation talks have decided what qualifications you need to become a vet physio. Only then can you join a course with confidence.

  2. Georgina says:

    Can you also address the apparent 2-tier superiority attitude of chartered vet physics. I’ve been to med school, doesn’t make me a vet.

  3. Hi Georgina. You will be pleased to know that ACPAT are no longer continuing their position of “only human physios can become vet physios”. We are requested to report to ACPAT any of their members who continue to give out this false information.

    • Georgina says:

      I am already aware of that, as evident by for example the NAVP and Harper Adams collaboration. However the overriding opinion, largely due to chartered vet physios peddling the myth, is that unless you’re a chartered, so therefore human physio first and foremost, you are less able to perform your vet physio duties. Perhaps if the title was protected, in the same way that chartered is, it would help. Currently any Thomas, Richard and Harold can call themselves a vet or animal physio.

      • Gail Williams says:

        Actually “Chartered” is not a protected title, it is one that
        is applied to those who are a member of the CSP. The protected title is “physiotherapist” but the Health Professions Council have decided that it ceases to become protected when the word “veterinary” is put in front of it because it is evident that the practitioner treats animals

  4. I studied as a human physio but have chosen to do a course that in non- ACPAT as it looks better and i come out with a level 7 qualification at the end of it. I also agree with the comment already made re vets and doctors. Also Gail, are you not shooting yourself in the foot with this? As where did you gain your veterinary physiotherapy qualification? Did you do your 39 weeks of clinical training?

    • Hi Megan. Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately when I trained there were no University courses for Veterinary Physiotherapy, so I had lots of contact with the amazing Jo Hodges, who taught me most of her clinical skills, and then I was able to take those skills and hone them when I spent 3 years as part of the clinical team at the Equine Sports Medicine Centre at Bristol Vet School. Before I went into private practice, therefore, I had over 5 years of clinical experience. My foot is unshot :)

  5. Very interested in the comments. I am an equine Physio and a charted human Physio too. I thankfully choose not to do the ACPAT course as I feel that other courses also offer very good training. I have had allot of issues with ACPAT physio’s with statements to myself saying that I am not qualified ect, despite being fully insured and trained. I think it is sad that equine physio’s, especially the ACPAT ones feel the need to be so viscous and not working together to expand and grow as a community. It would be great if everyone could work together! There are many different ways of becoming trained and everyone offers something different- I think it is also a shame that ACPAT do not offer their courses to non ACPAT equine physio’s.. I am going to join ASSVAP this year as it offers a nice community and lots of CPD opportunities. I often see that they still say that you should only use ACPAT physio’s in articles in magazines, and on their websites which I feels demoralises the rest of us!! Sorry for the rant but just wanted to share my feelings

    • Hi Alice. Thanks for your comments on this contentious issue. At ASSVAP we make no distinction regarding which route you have decided to train by. We are simply interested in the welfare of the animal and delivering a professional service to the owner and vet. As long as you have made the effort to become highly skilled, ASSVAP will support you and give you training to make you even better. As the ASSVAP Head of Education and Training I am always looking for CPD opportunities to deliver to our members and I am passionate about free online CPD. I look forward to helping you advance your career. Gail

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