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High performance animals deserve highest quality care

The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) is aware of many instances where practitioners claiming to perform physiotherapy on animals have no such qualification or skill. As a result, it is calling for vets to refer to qualified allied health professionals to ensure the most appropriate and skilled treatment for all animals, whether they be high performance competitors or much loved family pets.

National chair of the APA Animal Physiotherapy Group, Mrs Lynne Harrison, says non-qualified allied health professionals claiming to be physiotherapists can be confusing for consumers and potentially dangerous. She says the most reliable way to ensure a practitioner is a qualified physiotherapist is to check the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) register.

“AHPRA registered physiotherapists have completed a four year Bachelor of Science degree in Physiotherapy. Those working in animal physiotherapy have undertaken additional post-graduate training and hold Masters or post-graduate diplomas in animal or veterinary physiotherapy or have completed the APA’s level pathway in Animal Physiotherapy. All physiotherapists, whether they work solely with humans or also with animals, are bound by the APA’s code of conduct and must meet the stringent regulatory requirements of AHPRA.”

“Our members are frustrated and concerned when they hear about other animal practitioners claiming to be physiotherapists who have no such degree or indeed any formal, recognised training. Animal owners assume they are qualified and safe because they use the term ‘physiotherapist’ in their business or word-of-mouth advertising. It’s a dangerous scenario and one that we often have to fix when results go awry.”

Specialist small animal surgeon Dr Richard Mitchell BSc BVSc CertSAS DECVS agrees, saying the lack of formal qualifications and skill can give a false sense of assurance to owners. He says, “Qualified physiotherapists who work with animals have specific training and knowledge in anatomy, physiology, biomechanics and pathology. They haven’t just ‘got a feel’ for animals or simply grown up around them, they are actual experts in their field of practice. I wouldn’t recommend any of my clients take their animals to anyone who isn’t a qualified physiotherapist.  We see the benefit of physiotherapy in recovery from human injuries and it’s recommended in almost every situation, so why wouldn’t the same apply to our animal patients.”

Published by the APA to read more open the attached link

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