Veterinary physiotherapy has undergone a period of considerable growth over the last 10 years. Once perceived as an ‘extra’, practitioners now work in a range of settings – veterinary practices, veterinary therapy centres and independent practice – but always with the consent of a veterinary surgeon.
What is Veterinary Physiotherapy?
Veterinary physiotherapists work to reduce pain, improve movement and restore normal muscle control and function in animals that have musculoskeletal conditions or may be recovering from surgery.
In competitive or working animals, physiotherapy may also be integral to the development of the animal athlete, helping to minimise the risk of injury and optimise performance potential.
By analysing and assessing posture, movement and musculoskeletal function, veterinary physiotherapists develop holistic treatment plans that are delivered through a range of different techniques, including massage, mobilisation and electrotherapy, often accompanied by exercise and rehabilitation programmes.
Veterinary Physiotherapists are required to work as part of a team and as such work closely with the veterinary surgeon and other industry para-professionals. Treatment may only be delivered by a competent veterinary physiotherapist with the prior consent of the treating veterinary surgeon.
If you are passionate about the physical wellbeing of animals and enjoy interacting with animal owners, carers, trainers and the veterinary profession, this course could be the first step towards an exciting new career.
Awarding body: the Royal Agricultural University
About the course
The BSc (Hons) Veterinary Physiotherapy is a three-year, full-time course designed to provide graduates with the knowledge and skills required to practice and, by meeting the requirements of professional bodies within the industry, be eligible for independent registration.
BCA’s unique delivery makes this course particularly accessible to those who are already in employment within the wider animal industry. Blended learning combines compulsory attendance at each of the four week-long practical sessions held each year with a portfolio of clinical practice, web-based seminars and tutorials and guided distance learning.
The primary focus is companion animals, mainly dogs, cats and horses, although consideration will be given to a much wider range of species as these can be encountered in practice.
Practical skills in physiotherapy and rehabilitation are acquired in the context of a sound knowledge of musculoskeletal anatomy, biomechanics and exercise physiology in animals. Students are also equipped with the professional and business skills to work as a self-employed veterinary physiotherapist or employed within a wider practice
Incremental training allows students to achieve an award at the end of each year of the course, providing additional earning potential and experience at an early stage, thus enhancing employability on completion of the full BSc (Hons):
• Year1 (Level 4): Animal Massage (Cert HE)
• Year 2 (Level 5): Veterinary Rehabilitation Therapy (FdSc)
• Year 3 (Level 6): Veterinary Physiotherapy (BSc(Hons)
This progressive approach combined with robust academic skills also prepares students for further progression in postgraduate education and/or the field of research.
Graduates will be eligible for membership of the Institute of Registered Veterinary and Animal Physiotherapists (IRVAP). IRVAP is a leading professional association representing animal therapists across a wide range of disciplines including physiotherapy, chiropractic, and osteopathy.
UCAS Course code
Teaching and Assessment
Teaching is delivered through lectures, seminars, individual tutorials, visits to, and speakers from, industry, plus practical sessions and clinical placements. Underpinning this blend of online and offline activities is compulsory attendance at four week-long practical sessions held each year.
A range of assessment methods is deployed, depending on the nature of the module and the skills required by the industry. These include written reports, oral presentations, clinical, practical and written examinations, audits and reflective writing.
Year 1 (Level 4)
• Cellular Anatomy and Physiology (15 credits)
• Musculoskeletal Anatomy 1 (15 credits)
• Animal Husbandry/Management (15 credits)
• Animal Behaviour (15 credits)
• Locomotion (15 credits)
• Muscle Function and Dysfunction (15 credits)
• Massage Therapy (including clinical practice) (20 credits)
• Legalities and Professional Practice (10 credits)
Year 2 (Level 5)
• Musculoskeletal Anatomy 2 (15 credits)
• Biomechanics (15 credits)
• Tissue Damage and Repair (15 credits)
• Exercise Physiology (15 credits)
• Orthopedics and Neurology (15 credits)
• Rehabilitation and Remedial Exercise Prescription (30 credits)
• Clinical Practice (15 credits)
Year 3 (Level 6)
• Dissertation (30 credits)
• Clinical Practice (30 credits)
• Legalities and Professional Practice (5 credits)
• Electro Physical Agents (30 credits)
• Specialist Module (25 credits)
Academic Progression Opportunities
Students who achieve the BSc (Hons) Veterinary Physiotherapy will be eligible to apply for post-graduate programmes.
Course fees and costs
Fees due for payment on enrolment are:
• Course fee: £6,000 per year of study
• Facilities fee: currently £80 per year of study
Successful applicants will be required to purchase appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to include riding hat (PAS015/BSEN1384 standard), sturdy boots and appropriate clothing for yard/handling.
N.B. Confident handling of horses is required but this programme does not assess or require riding skills.
A recommended reading list will be provided to successful applicants; purchase of key texts is required.
Is an interview required?
How do I apply?
Apply online through UCAS with course code 242W.
Is fee remission available?
All applicants must be 18 years or above and should hold Five GCSE at A*- C to include English, Mathematics and Science PLUS 2 x A-levels in relevant subjects or 4 x AS levels in relevant subjects OR L3 Extended Diploma in Animal Management achieved at MMM minimum.
We actively encourage applications from mature students (21+) where accreditation of prior learning is assessed and/or relevant work experience will be considered in place of formal qualifications to determine suitability for the course.
Three Years (full time)