Animal osteopathy is an exciting and rewarding adjunct to osteopathic practice. It is ideal for those wishing to work with animals and offers a wealth of opportunity. At the ESO we are dedicated to providing courses that reflect our osteopathic principles, whilst also delivering a robust academic curriculum.
What is Animal Osteopathy?
Animal osteopathy is a branch of manual therapy based on the same practice and principles as human osteopathy, evaluating the whole picture, rather then fixating on the site of pain or dysfunction. Where animals are concerned, this means working closely with third parties, such as owners, vets, trainers and behaviourists. And in the equine field, the farrier (or barefoot trimmer), dentist and saddler.
A unique aspect of working with animals is the need to excel in non-verbal communications and an ability to assess external factors implicated in a case presentation. Those able to master these skills and have an enquiring clinical mind, often have the best outcomes and success rates. Clinically, animal osteopaths use the same range of techniques as human osteopaths, simply modifying where necessary.
What conditions do animal osteopaths treat?
Animal Osteopaths treat a range of conditions and also support rehabilitation programmes. Those who work in small animal practice alongside veterinarians will often get involved in post-operative care, whereas those who make home visits tend to see minor injuries and age-related conditions, such as arthritis and disc-related pathology. Some canine osteopaths get involved in activity groups such as flyball, obedience and working trails, where treatment is often used to improve function and performance.
Working with horses means becoming an integral part of the equine team, especially for those working with competition animals. It is also vital for the overall wellbeing of the animal that all involved work hand in hand. As a result, it’s common to work on an equine case alongside a vet, saddler or farrier to ensure the best outcome for the patient. As with dogs, osteopaths tend to treat muscular-skeletal conditions, but with horses, pre and post event treatments are commonplace around the time of competitions.